A letter to the House-Senate Surface Transportation Reauthorization Conference Committee signed by 31 members of Congress urges the committee to block federal funding from going to motorcycles-only checkpoints (MOCs). Reps. Jim Sensenbrenner (R-Wis) and Tom Petri (R-Wis) wrote the letter, which has bipartisan support from their colleagues and many members of the motorcycle community.
The American Motorcycle Association (AMA) began monitoring MOCs since the first one appeared in New York in 2007 and called on Congress members to take action against them. Riders voiced concern when MOCs appeared outside of popular motorcycle events, such as Daytona Bike Week in Georgia and Rolling Thunder in Virginia. Many motorcyclists believe that it is discriminatory to have a separate checkpoint dedicated solely to motorcycles, an issue the letter addresses.
“The very existence of this program essentially profiles a group of citizens – the motorcycling community – for operating a legal mode of transportation,” wrote Sensenbrenner and Petri. “The [Department of Transportation] should focus on programs to instruct motorcyclists on the importance of proper licensing, rider education and motorcycle awareness campaigns.”
Three states – including New Hampshire, Virginia and North Carolina – have passed laws that outlaw motorcycle-only checkpoints. Four others – Illinois, Missouri, California and New Jersey – are considering similar legislation.
Law enforcement officials use MOCs to check licenses, helmet use (if the state has a motorcycle helmet law) and equipment standards such as illegal exhaust systems.
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