The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is offering
federal funds that would expand the highly criticized practice of
creating motorcycle-only checkpoints by law enforcement agencies.
begun in New York State, the process involves setting-up checkpoints
where only motorcycles are pulled over. Law enforcement officers then
check for U.S. DOT-compliant helmets, legal exhaust systems, and
compliance with licensing, registration and inspection regulations. The
NHTSA program would also collect information on
high-motorcycle-crash-incident areas and citations would be issued for
any violations discovered.
The American Motorcyclist
Association (AMA) has questioned the potential discriminatory and legal
nature of this program and submitted a list of questions for
clarification to the New York State Police. To date, New York
authorities have not responded. The AMA has also sent a letter to
Administrator Strickland urging him to suspend the grant program until
questions have been addressed.
law enforcement officials in New York defend the program as a safety
measure to decrease motorcycle crashes, injuries and fatalities, there
is no proof of its effectiveness. The practice has drawn the ire of
motorcyclists both locally and nationally.
NHTSA is now
seeking up to five other law enforcement agencies to participate in
this practice and is offering $350,000 in federal funding.
AMA believes public funding would better serve motorcyclists by
applying it to the national motorcycle crash causation study that is
currently underway. The primary source of motorcycle safety is in
motorcycle crash prevention and NHTSA should focus on decreasing the
likelihood of crashes in the first place. This is a sentiment supported
by Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner (R-WI) and many of his colleagues in Congress through recently introduced H. Res. 1498.
urges all riders to contact Administrator Strickland and request the
grant offer be suspended until these questions have been addressed.
Follow the “Take Action” option to send a pre-written e-mail directly
to Administrator Strickland demanding no federal dollars be used to
expand programs that discriminate against motorcyclists.
For more information about this legislation or to take action, visit the AMA’s website at www.amadirectlink.com.