PODCAST-Get ready for this episode as we dive right into the very heated topic of “motorcycle only checkpoints” (MOC's). We break it down for the law abiding biker community and whether or not this really affects you as a motorcycle rider. Should this be something of great or little concern and is it going to take place in you area? There is a lot of incorrect information on this issue and we get to the bottom of things here on the Law Abiding Biker Podcast. We bring it to you from a balanced perspective with nothing to gain or lose on the matter, unlike many others reporting on it. This is quite a discussion and you just need to listen in to get the whole scoop.
The American Motorcycle Association has been at the forefront of the battle against motorcycle only checkpoints. Although they make some good arguments, they also say some things that I don't necessarily agree with. They say things like:
“We hope to see laws enacted to end the discriminatory and harmful law enforcement practice of targeting motorcyclists for stops that do nothing to improve the safety of our roads.”
I dissent and believe the AMA is uneducated by blaming motorcycle only checkpoints on “law enforcement”. If the American Motorcycle Association did proper homework they would understand that these sorts of programs are developed well outside law enforcement agencies power and are trickled down to them. In fact, I think it would be fair to say that an overwhelming majority of law enforcement officers that ride motorcycles off duty are totally against motorcycle only checkpoints. Don't get me wrong, I support the AMA, but at times they speak before they completely understand certain matters and make statements like this.
We agree that motorcycle only checkpoints do nothing to improve the safety of our roads, however just don't jump to conclusions and blame it on law enforcement. Properly blame it on the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), who comes up with some of these ridiculous traffic safety programs and then gives out money to have it carried out by many that don't even believe in it. The NHTSA does have many good traffic safety programs that are very successful, but I believe they need to terminate motorcycle only checkpoints and put our tax money to better use.
Lurch and I host this episode and each have 19 years as law enforcement officers in Washington State. We both agree that in those 19 years is is very hard to remember even one motorcycle vs. car collision in which the driver of the car was injured, regardless of who was at fault. We have observed and investigated thousands of collisions to include minor all the way to fatality. The fact of the matter is that motorcyclists are really only causing injury to themselves if a collision is their fault. It is clearly not likely that the driver in a car will be injured from a motorcyclist in our actual field experiences. And it is fair to say that a high percentage of motorcycle collisions on freeways and limited access highways are the fault of the motorcyclist. However, in a city and county environment with side streets, traffic, and obstructions it is fair to say that most motorcycle vs. car collisions are the fault of the motorist. That is just reality of what we see, but I'm sure NHTSA is not too interested in what we have to say.
So, why spend so much money to do motorcycle only checkpoints when clearly motorcyclist are the ones injured or killed in almost every collision? Rarely does a driver of a car or larger vehicle ever get injured from a motorcyclist. Again, we think that tax money should go to educating drivers of cars and to motorcycle safety courses. NHTSA should keep doing DUI, aggressive driving, and distracted driving patrols, which are highly successful. Don't limit themselves and waste money on motorcycle only checkpoints.
For the most part I agree with the American Motorcycle Associations stance and that motorcycle only checkpoints should not occur. However, the AMA has put a lot of hype on the issue to get more members. They are constantly running FaceBook and other social media ads referencing “stop motorcycle only checkpoints” and “sign up now”. Again, I am totally against motorcycle only checkpoints & they are discriminatory, but don't use it to scare people and run a ton of paid FaceBook ads to try to get more members.
Here is an article directly from the AMA about what has been spent, however you must keep it in perspective to the extremely large budget and what NHTSA funds. Again, I don't believe a penny of our tax money should be spent on this program, but please don't make it look worse than it is.
The fact of the matter and in the scheme of the overall NHTSA budget, very little money has actually went into conducting motorcycle only checkpoints since 2007. And I do believe that is because the AMA has been right in their face about the matter, which is awesome. Hopefully the NHTSA will see the writing on the wall and stop motorcycle only checkpoints for good.
In fact, Alaska, Idaho, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Oregon, Rhode Island, Texas, Washington, Wisconsin and Wyoming — have prohibited checkpoints by statute and/or judicial action. Four states have since outlawed the practice, which are California, Missouri, North Carolina, Virginia. Illinois and New Hampshire have prohibited the use of federal dollars for MOC's.
The point is to make sure you know your facts about motorcycle only checkpoints and look at things from an unbiased position. Then you can form an educated position and make an informed decision. We strongly encourage you to oppose motorcycle only checkpoints and you can help doing so by signing the AMA's petition against them.
*American Motorcyclist Association began tracking motorcycle-only checkpoints when they first appeared in New York in 2007
*In March 2011, using funds provided by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the state of Georgia conducted roadside motorcycle-only checkpoints as thousands of motorcyclists rode through the state on their way to Daytona Beach, Fla., for Bike Week
*Another motorcycle-only checkpoint was conducted in northern Virginia during one of the nation's most visible motorcycle rallies — Rolling Thunder — over the 2011 Memorial Day weekend.
*Motorcycle-only checkpoints were also conducted in 2010 in Utah following a U.S. round of the FIM Superbike World Championship.
*AMA Introduced H.R. 1861, the Stop Motorcycle Checkpoint Funding Act.
*May 8, 2013-The AMA issued an alert to urge support for H.R. 1861, the Stop Motorcycle Checkpoint Funding Act.
Keep the rubber side down and the shiny side up?