More states end motorcycle-only checkpoints

More states end motorcycle-only checkpoints

Posted by Ben Baker on Jul 18th 2016

Biker-only checkpoints have drawn the ire of riders around the nation. When they started is hard to say exactly, but national attention started in New York in 2007. Georgia was next, with checkpoints only for bikers in 2011 as they rolled through the Peach State on the way to Bike Week in Daytona Beach, FL.

Motorcycle-only checkpoints have popped up around the nation. They usually happen along major roads leading to major bike events. Northern Virginia had one for Rolling Thunder Memorial Day 2011 and in Utah in 2010 around the FIM Superbike World Championship.

Georgia used money from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to pay for the checkpoints. Loud complaints from the biker community and Georgia ABATE got that stopped.

Maryland now has a law prohibiting this practice. HB 0917 passed both chambers of the legislature and was signed by the governor. The General Assembly’s website offers this synopsis, “Prohibiting a police officer at a motor vehicle checkpoint from targeting only motorcycles for inspection or evaluation; creating a specified exception to the prohibition for a police officer at a motor vehicle checkpoint established as part of a police search or investigation; providing for the construction of a provision of law governing obedience to a lawful order or direction of a police officer; etc.”

The law does carve out a narrow provision allowing bikes to be searched or investigated “as appropriate.”

According to the American Motorcyclist Association, some states have now outlawed the discriminatory checkpoints either through law or court decisions. California, Louisiana, Missouri, North Carolina, Virginia. Illinois and New Hampshire join Georgia in not using federal dollars for these checkpoints.

A bill in Congress to end federal funding for motorcycle-only checkpoints stalled in Congress in 2014.

Former US Senator Wayne Allard lobbied on behalf of the Checkpoint Funding Act. In, a Washington political website, he wrote, “However, we do not believe that motorcycle-only checkpoints are an efficient use of limited safety funds. For fiscal 2014, the NHTSA was appropriated only $235 million to implement Title 26 § 402 safety programs that cover 3.9 million miles of road. That money could be spent more effectively on campaigns to educate other motorists about interacting with motorcyclists on our roadways.”