NHTSA Funds Motorcycle Only Checkpoints

PICKERINGTON, Ohio -- A federal traffic safety agency is offering law enforcement agencies hundreds of thousands of dollars to set up checkpoints that target only motorcyclists, and the American Motorcyclist Association (AMA) wants to know why.

The AMA has asked the agency, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), to suspend the grant program until questions raised by the motorcycling community are addressed.

"How do motorcycle-only checkpoints increase the safety of motorcyclists?" Ed Moreland, AMA senior vice president for government relations, wrote in a letter to NHTSA Administrator David Strickland on Aug. 9. "Where do the selected states draw their authority to conduct" motorcycle-only safety checks?

"Will 'probable cause' be required to stop a motorcycle under the terms of this grant program?" Moreland asked. "If so, what will constitute probable cause?"

Under its Motorcycle Law Enforcement Demonstration grant program, the NHTSA will award up to $350,000 in total to be divided among as many as five law enforcement agencies to set up traffic checkpoints that target motorcyclists.

The demonstration program is modeled after a controversial program in New York where the state police set up a series of checkpoints that targeted only motorcyclists, raising the ire of the AMA and motorcycling community. In 2008, for example, New York State Police announced plans to set up 15 checkpoints near motorcycling events that summer.

The AMA questioned the potential discriminatory and legal nature of the program and sent a list of questions for clarification to the New York State Police. To date, New York authorities have not responded.

Moreland said that if the NHTSA is truly interested in motorcyclist safety, it should fund proven programs that help prevent crashes -- rather than checkpoints that single out motorcyclists.

"The primary source of motorcycle safety is in motorcycle crash prevention, and NHTSA should focus on decreasing the likelihood of crashes from occurring in the first place," Moreland said.

The AMA urges all riders to contact Strickland and ask that the discriminatory Motorcycle Law Enforcement Demonstration grant program be suspended until questions raised by the motorcycling community are addressed.

The easiest way to do that is to go to the AMA website at AmericanMotorcyclist.com > Rights > Issues & Legislation

Web Staff


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  9. i passed the Ga wieght station on I-95 today and it was closed to trucks but all motorcycles had to enter. there were 4 troopers watching for motorcycles that didnt comply and atleast 30 in the wieght station checking bikes and the operators. this is just wrong.

  10. These stops are not about saftey issues. When you're pulled over police gang task force and DMV along with other federeal agents will be on hand. This is pure harassment and last I heard profiling is against the law. The safety aspect is an excuse to collect a lot of over time and issue a shitload of unwanted tickets. Stupidity is leaking out of new york state

  11. some states have inspection laws so the bikes have been checked for safety, states that have no inspection laws what safety checks can they do.

  12. The Obama/Hitler Police style begins. Remember the brownshirts is coming to a town near you. Spreadem and weep.

  13. Ohio needs a Sputnic. It will be hard to find a man like him. Just remeber, there is power in numbers.

    Bill “Sputnik” Strain, probably the best known biker’s rights advocate in the United States, died June 23rd, 2010.

    Everybody knew Sputnik. He was a beefy, gnarled, old Cherokee with tattoos framing his Mohawk haircut. He wore a thick goatee without a mustache and he was so well respected by people across the political spectrum that he could get away with wearing a knife on his right hip at the Texas State Capital. Sputnik rode a Suzuki because, he said, he didn’t think Harleys were tough enough.

    Sputnik Strain might have been the last hurrah of the 1960s “Biker’s Right Movement” which, before it became quaint, was sort of the Tea Party with patches and bowie knives.

    Biker Rights
    The movement started after a gadfly named Ralph Nader published Unsafe At Any Speed in 1965. The next year Congress passed the National Highway Safety Act which was intended to keep Detroit from selling dangerous cars. (This was in that ancient time when most cars were still made in America by American companies headquartered in Detroit.)

    A slew of reforms ensued. Bumper heights were standardized. Crumple zones and safety cages were incorporated into car designs. Gas tanks were redesigned so that they did not blow up. Dash boards were padded. Steering wheels were built to collapse under impact and seat belts became standard equipment. This same 1966 law also contained a little noticed provision to withhold federal highway funds from states that refused to enact mandatory motorcycle helmet laws. The fight started there.

    Sputnik joined up in 1992 after he heard a United States Senator, Dave Durenberger, say “Bikers are the last hope of America to remain a Free Country. You are the only ones who care enough about your individual liberty to stand up and fight for it. I’m here to tell you tonight that you better get off your ass and you better start fighting, because you are losing it every day.” The Senator’s words changed Sputnik’s life. He spent the last 18 years of his life fighting for what he considered to be “individual liberty.”

    He Marked His Spot
    He founded the Texas Motorcycle Rights Association on July 4, 1992 and it soon became the largest Caucus in the Texas Democrat Party. Sputnik talked Texas out of mandatory helmet law for adults, got Handicap License Plates for motorcycles and changed the law to allow bikers to carry concealed weapons. He was largely responsible for new rider training in Texas and his best known accomplishment may have been the establishment “Legislative Biker Day” when thousands of bikers, many wearing patches, descend on Austin on the fourth Monday each January and tell the politicians how they are doing.

    Sputnik calculated that had ridden about 1.6 million miles in a motorcycle saddle and he was a friend of this page. He died alone of a heart attack, working as the sun came up, in the offices of the Texas MRA. He died doing what he lived to do. Bill Sputnik Strain was 70-years-old.

    Requiescat In Pace

  14. I wonder if all these people commenting on how much crap this is, are actually legal to operate a motorcycle? or fequently drive drunk?

    This has nothing to do with the constitution, since riding a motorcycle is a privileged, not a right, just like driving a car. If you are a law abiding citizen as you all claim to be, you should have no problem in proving that fact. I’ve been through many check points, and in no way was any of my ‘rights’ violated. They just asked to see my licence to make sure it was valid (and endorsed for motorcycle while I was on one), made sure car/bike was legal (tags/inspection) and I was on my merry way. they do not ask to search your vehicle, they do not ask you to open your trunk, that is, unless they have reasonable suspecion to do so (ie, roll down your window and a cloud of pot smoke rolls out, or you forgot you had that open beer in your cup holder).

  15. Im all for the types of checkpoints they do here in Ga.; DUI, Ins and such those help everyone and everyone is stopped. Singling out one group is completely unconstituional and discriminitory! Thats why we ended slavery, thats what everyone from the Romans to Nazis and even our government are doing and it needs to stop!

  16. I’ll go to jail before they start checking my ass for doing nothing wrong. Wa cops are already doing this out on patrol pulling bikes over without probable cause everyday. They start using check points and they. Just made one honest law abiding citizen a criminal. This country is becoming a joke. Canada is really pretty =) And has some great scenery to ride through. And there health care actualy covers it’s citizens.

  17. I remember my mother telling me about checkpoints during the Nazi occupation of France. Seems that we have not learned from our past…

  18. I would like to know the justification and goals.

    First blush looks like this is “targeted” enforcement.. perhaps even profiling.

    Bottom line it is government is slowly tightening the noose. Wake up America!

  19. Are the police looking for towelheads not wearing helmets and packing their saddlebags with IED’s?

  20. This has been happening to motorcyclist for a long time, we are a minority and easy to pick on. Just sounding off here is not enough, you need to get your voices heard, call, email or write your elected officials and if you are not a member of a motorcyclist rights organization you are part of the problem.

  21. MADD tried to force checkpoints on us in Texas. What’s sad is, our Constitutional Right against unreasonable search was preserved only because some civil libertarian types feared the checkpoints might be used to catch illegal aliens.

    Remember on whose watch this NHTSA pay-off happened, come November.

  22. Contact you local COC and get involved with (CONFEDERATION OF CLUBS in Ohio)
    And do something about this stupidity. Remember, there is power in numbers.
    Together you can and will win.

    “Now this is the Law of the Jungle as old and as true as the sky;

    And the wolf that shall keep it may prosper, but the wolf that does break it must die.

    As the creeper that girdles the tree-trunk the law runneth forward and back –

    For the strength of the pack is the wolf, and the strength of the wolf is the pack.”

  24. Correct me if I’m wrong, but didn’t we revolt against England for this exact kind of crap?

  25. What happened to the U.S. being a free country? Our rights are being violated every day. Time to move. Maybe Canada! @ least the health care & med.’s are better!

  26. Asking why they’re only targeting motorcyclist is not the question people should be asking. It’s checkpoints in the first place that is the problem. Targeting anyone without probable cause is purely a violation of a motorist’s rights. First off, when a state receives a federal grant to carry out measures like checkpoints, this is for the greater purpose of getting average citizens to accept being searched for any reason, at any time without due process. Federal grants of this nature-that we as taxpayers pay for-go to our further enslavement under a police state. They will tout this as “for your safety, for your own good”, yet the federal government or the state police that financial benefit don’t care about our safety nor our rights.

  27. Tried following the links to contact my reps and it kept taking me to a discussion of off road stuff. Dropped the thought. Will do my own thing. Motorcyclists can’t seem to get together any better than congress.

  28. Why not target cell phone addicts, drunk drivers, teen drivers, and the other classes of murderers who run over bike riders every day? Safety is being lied about for making bike riders go through checkpoints? This is simply a ploy to put the jackboot of crooks on the necks of the average citizen enjoying a bike ride. Nothing more nothing less….Safety…yea right.

  29. ummmm isnt this profiling? the same thing the federal goverment said Arizonas law cannot do. And I also agree with teresa

  30. This really pisses me off. Our government is really out of control and doesn’t know the Constitution from a sheet of toilet paper. If people don’t stand up (esp the motorcyclists) they will incrementally keep this up til its everyone. Sickening!

  31. Exactly WHAT are they supposed to be checking for? There are already laws and checkpoints designed to stop drunk or under the influence “drivers” no matter their vehicle of choice … why stop bikers only? Gonna check my helmet? Mine is DOT approved but I removed the ugly sticker (to replace it with an even “uglier” sticker … hehehe) so how are they gonna be able to tell the difference (not sure that I could even tell the difference). Gonna make me take a breathilizer test? OK, but shouldn’t you check the cager in front of me for that too? Why not spend all that money they are wasting on motorcycle stops and put it towards motorcycle awareness FOR CAGERS! Since every “near miss” I have ever had was because of a bad CAR or TRUCK driver’s mistake … not mine!

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