Riders asked to oppose Georgia motorcycle-only checkpoints
February 23, 2011
The American Motorcyclist Association (AMA) is urging riders nationwide to contact Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal to urge him to stop the Georgia State Patrol from conducting any motorcycle-only traffic checkpoints.
Tens of thousands of motorcyclists from around the nation could be subject to Georgia motorcycle-only checkpoints if those checkpoints are in place before, during and after Daytona (Fla.) Bike Week, which runs March 4-13.
Ed Moreland, AMA senior vice president for government affairs, suggests that riders contact the governor through the AMA website at http://www.americanmotorcyclist.com/rights/issueslegislation and ask that any motorcycle-only checkpoints be suspended until key questions are answered. Those questions, which have been posed by the AMA to Deal and other officials, include: How do motorcycle-only checkpoints increase the safety of motorcyclists? Where do states draw their authority to conduct motorcycle-only checkpoints? Is "probable cause" required to stop a motorcycle and, if so, what constitutes probable cause?
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) gave Georgia a $70,000 grant to conduct one or more roadside motorcycle-only checkpoints. New York state has operated a similar program. The AMA has been tracking this disturbing development of motorcycle-only checkpoints since it first appeared in New York several years ago.
"The AMA believes that the primary source of motorcycle safety is in motorcycle crash prevention and not in arbitrarily pulling over riders and randomly subjecting them to roadside inspections," Moreland said.
"The NHTSA should focus on decreasing the likelihood of crashes from occurring in the first place," Moreland said. "No public money should be applied to promoting such a program without first addressing questions from the motorcycling community," he said.
In addition to letters submitted to the past and present governors of Georgia, the 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 concerning that agency's program.
The AMA also sent a letter to NHTSA Administrator David Strickland urging him to suspend the grant program that gives states money for motorcycle-only checkpoints until questions have been addressed. To view the AMA's letter, click here: http://www.americanmotorcyclist.com/legisltn/documents/Strickland_Law_Enforcement_Grant_8-9-2010.pdf. To view Strickland's response, click here: http://www.americanmotorcyclist.com/legisltn/documents/Strickland_11-15-2010.pdf.