A bill that would ban funding of motorcycle-only checkpoints is gaining momentum with 50 members of the U.S. House of Representatives signing on as sponsors..
H.R. 904, introduced by Wisconsin Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner, would bar the U.S. transportation secretary from providing funding to any state, county, town, township, Indian tribe, municipality or other local government for use in checkpoints that single out motorcycles. The bill is now in the hands of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure and its Subcommittee on Highways and Transit.
Authorities have been using checkpoints to stop motorcyclists, ostensibly to promote motorcycle safety. Critics argue however they are discriminatory and an inefficient way to addressing the issue of safety.
Motorcycle-only checkpoints have often been set up around major motorcycle events such as Daytona Bike Week, the Rolling Thunder rally and a World Superbike Championship round at Miller Motorsports Park.
Three states have since outlawed motorcycle-only checkpoints: Virginia, North Carolina and New Hampshire. Similar legislation has been introduced in Illinois, California, Missouri and New Jersey.
Earlier this month, Sensenbrenner and fellow Wisconsin Representative Tom Petri and 29 members of Congress sent a letter to the leaders of the House-Senate Surface Transportation Reauthorization Conference Committee arguing against checkpoints.
The letter reads in part:
“MOCs [motorcycle-only checkpoints] are a controversial and unproven method of addressing motorcyclist safety and have not been an efficient use of limited federal dollars. The very existence of this program essentially profiles a group of citizens – the motorcycling community – for operating a legal mode of transportation.”
“The DOT should focus on programs to instruct motorcyclists on the importance of proper licensing, rider education, and motorcycle awareness campaigns.”
The full text of the letter is available here.
Representatives sponsoring H.R. 904:
[Source: AMA, Library of Congress]