Want to take a stand for the rights of motorcyclists? Here is your chance to stop the practice of motorcycle-only checkpoints. 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, some states, like California, have been able to preemptively ban the practice through their legislative branches; however, other states like New York have continue using motorcycle-only checkpoints, with the US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit recently affirming motorcycle-only checkpoints as lawful in New York.
Over two years ago, the American Motorcyclist Association (AMA) urged NHTSA Administrator David Strickland to cease the NHTSA’s funding of motorcycle-only checkpoints. After denying the request, the NHTSA has continued to provide federal funds to state and local police programs for the specific use of these checkpoints (the NHTSA’s response is here).
While the issue will be delayed for years in the courts, there is something that we as motorcyclists can do now in order to enact change. You may have already heard of The White House’s “We the People” website, a site where citizens can petition the federal government for specific actions, and if enough people sign a petition, President Obama and his staff have to take the matter under consideration. Click here to sign the petition.
Implementing the petition has two barriers. The first barrier is a 150 signature requirement to have the petition listed on the “We the People” website within 30 days of its creation (today). The second barrier is 25,000 signatures (within 30 days), which once reached means the petition goes before the Obama administration and will elicit a response from the federal government.
A bit more complicated than a Facebook “like” button, you have to setup an account with The White House’s petition site in order to sign a petition, which takes a minute or two and requires you to confirm your email address. All said and done though, the process takes less time than a stop in a motorcycle-only checkpoint. Zinger.
The petition to the Obama Administration reads as follows:
We petition the Obama Administration to cease the funding of motorcycle-only checkpoints through the NHTSA and other federal agencies.
State and local governments have begun to implement motorcycle-only checkpoints that unfairly target motorcyclists for inspection by law enforcement officers.
Many of these motorcycle-only checkpoints are funded by grants given by the federal government, through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
This petition calls for the cessation of the NHTSA’s direct and indirect funding of the motorcycle-only checkpoints through its grants and other measures, and asks that the laws for vehicle conformity and passenger safety be applied equally to motorcycles and automobiles alike.