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New Virginia law bars motorcycle-only checkpoints

March 05, 2012

In a victory for motorcyclists, Virginia is the latest state to bar motorcycle-only checkpoints, the American Motorcyclist Association (AMA) reports.

On Feb. 28, Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell signed into law H.B. 187, which was introduced by Delegate C. Todd Gilbert (R-Shenandoah). The new law, which takes effect July 1, prohibits law enforcement agencies from establishing checkpoints where the only vehicles subject to inspection are motorcycles.

The measure was introduced after the Arlington County Police Department set up a motorcycle-only checkpoint during the Rolling Thunder ride on May 28, 2011, that brings awareness to prisoner of war/missing in action (POW/MIA) issues.

Similar laws have been enacted in New Hampshire and North Carolina.

"Officials say they set up these motorcycle-only checkpoints to pull over motorcyclists to check for safety violations," said Rick Podliska, a Virginia resident and AMA deputy director of government relations. "But if officials are really concerned about motorcyclists' safety, then they need to stop discriminating against us with these checkpoints and start supporting programs that prevent motorcycle crashes, such as rider safety training and driver awareness programs."

The AMA opposes motorcycle-only checkpoints and has been tracking the discriminatory practice since it first appeared in New York several years ago.

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