Twenty-four hours after starting a petition to the White House about ending the federal government’s funding of discriminatory motorcycle-only checkpoints, I am pleased to announce that the first hurdle of signatures has been reached, and the petition now sits on the front-page of the “We the People” website for the Obama Administration.
If in 30 days the petition can reach 25,000 signatures, it will be put before The President of the United States of America for a formal response. There is a long road ahead, but there is a chance here for us as motorcyclists to have some influence on the laws that affect us. To help explain the situation with motorcycle-only checkpoints, the process of petitioning the federal government, and some responses to nay-sayers, I’ve put the following FAQ together. And in case you haven’t already, click here to sign the petition.
What does reaching this first threshold mean exactly?
Well, for starters it means the petition is now public and searchable on the “We the People” website (the only motorcycle petition, I might add). With 250+ signatures already in the first day, things are off to a good start, but we are still a long way off to reaching the 25,000 mark.
Why is the next 25,000 signature threshold so important?
At 25,000 signature, the petition is put in front of President Barack Obama, where he has to officially respond to the petition, which could include directing the NHTSA from funding motorcycle-only checkpoints.
So what is this motorcycle-only checkpoint business all about?
First implemented by the State of New York, inspection checkpoints that apply only to motorcycles have become a more common practice across the United States, and are an act of discrimination that is primarily due to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA) funding of the practice through special grants.
Implemented under the guise of operating for the public’s safety, states like New York have been able to target motorcyclists at checkpoints for vehicle and passenger inspection, even when the motorcyclists have broken no apparent laws, with no similar checkpoints being setup for automobile drivers.
An alarming trend in the unfair application of the law, the majority of current motorcycle-only checkpoints are funded by the federal government, through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). This petition aims to remove that funding, making it more difficult for state and local authorities to operate checkpoints that single-out motorcyclists from the general automotive population.
I live in a state where they don’t have motorcycle-only checkpoints, why should I sign this?
While there are a large number of motorcyclists in the Untied States, overall our passion is one shared by only a small portion of the population. This makes it easy for laws, and those who enforce those laws, to target motorcyclists unfairly. We as a motorcycling community need to come together, regardless of how this one issue affects you, in order to ensure that the basic rights of motorcyclists are always assured.
These checkpoints really affect only motorcyclists who are breaking the law, and I’m ok with that.
Maybe the fines collected only affect the motorcyclists who are breaking the law, but the discrimination affects all motorcyclists equally. Remember, with enough scrutiny just about any vehicle can found to have something wrong with it that is punishable with a fine or fix-it ticket. Besides, having motorcycle-only checkpoints is not the proper solution to enforcing laws that the majority of the biking population adheres to, and we need to implore the government to use more reasonable measures of law enforcement.
This won’t change anything, so I’m not going to bother.
Actually, putting the issue in front of The President of the United States might do something, and if nothing else, it shows that the motorcycle-riding community is an active participant in what occurs in Washington D.C. and in the local legislatures of the 50 states. After all, the only sure-fire way of nothing changing is to do nothing at all.
Uggh, I have to register to sign this petition, why didn’t you use some other petition site?
While there a bevy of other sites to create online petitions, The White House’s “We the People” website is the only one that sends a message directly to the president, and if there are enough signatures, the president has to formally respond to the petition.
I don’t want the government to have my email address.
Do you wear your tinfoil hat underneath your motorcycle helmet too?
I signed it! High five!
Booyah! Now, share it with your moto-friends. The only way to reach 25,000 people in a month’s time is to get the word out. To get you started, here’s a quick and dirty Twitter share button for you below to click on, and and don’t forget to sign the petition!