California and Illinois Laws Fight Motorcycle-Only Checkpoints
Lawmakers in California and Illinois have enacted new legislation working against police checkpoints that only target motorcycles. The two states join New Hampshire, North Carolina and Virginia in adopting new laws against the practice many motorcyclists call discriminatory.
The controversial practice is described by some law enforcement agencies as a safety measure but motorcyclists say they are being unfairly targeted and stopped so law enforcement agents can check for safety violations.
On July 13, California Governor Edmund “Jerry” Brown signed AB1047 which prohibits state and local law enforcement agencies from conducting checkpoints that only stop motorcyclists. The bill actually originally only sought to restrict the use of federal grant money to fund motorcycle-only checkpoints but lawmakers amended the bill in May to have it outlaw the practice altogether. The bill was approved by the Assembly by a 77-0 vote on July 2.
Lawmakers in Illinois didn’t go as far as their counterparts in California but does prohibit the use of federal grants to fund roadside checkpoints for motorcycles. The Illinois Senate approved HB0930 by a 56-0 vote on May 22 and Governor Pat Quinn approved the bill July 6.
“Officials say they set up these motorcycle-only checkpoints to pull over motorcyclists to check for safety violations,” says Wayne Allard, AMA vice president for government relations. “But if officials are really concerned about motorcyclists’ safety, then they need to stop discriminating against motorcyclists with these checkpoints and start supporting programs that prevent motorcycle crashes, such as rider safety training and driver awareness programs.”