Providence RI Motorcycle accident attorney weighs on The Stop Motorcycle Checkpoint Funding Act
Have you ever come across a motorcycle-only checkpoint on the highway?
It would be a bit surprising if you haven’t.
If you have, have you ever wondered why we even have these checkpoints in the first place?
In the same way that law enforcement officials use checkpoints to catch drunk drivers and violators of seat belt laws, motorcycle checkpoints are now being used to ensure that motorcyclists are also following safety laws like wearing a helmet or having a valid driver’s license.
However…many riders believe that these checkpoints are both discriminatory and completely unnecessary.
If you are opposed to these checkpoints, then there is some good news for you – a new bill could possibly put an end to these check points altogether and use the money instead in a more practical way, like towards motorcycle crash prevention, which in Massachusetts and Rhode Island is sorely needed.
Providence RI Motorcycle Accident Attorney And Rider’s Frustration
Although the best intentions were in place when the checkpoints went into effect, but these checkpoints aren’t exactly fair.
In fact, many motorcyclists feel that motorcycle-only checkpoints violate their rights.
The checkpoints were first introduced in New York in 2007 and within that first year New York police conducted seventeen checkpoints and inspected over 5,000 vehicles.
Shortly after their introduction in New York, The Rhode Island Motorcycle Association knew it wouldn’t be a good thing for motorcycle riders in New England, stating:
“What is the effect of this ruling for bikers and motorcyclists in New England? In my opinion, increased confidence for law enforcement and anti-motorcycle groups with a stake in local and state government for the development and implementation of similar programs. Once in effect, the burden would shift to us to mount our own legal challenge”
Several states have made attempts to ban the checkpoints on the grounds that they are a violation of civil rights – these states including Virginia, North Carolina, New Hampshire, Illinois, and California.
There has also been legislation to get rid of them in Missouri and New Jersey as well.
Rhode Island hasn’t quite jumped on the bandwagon yet, but we could soon see some changes. It is apparent that the tables have turned with the introduction of the recent bill, “The Stop Motorcycle Checkpoint Funding Act”.
The Stop Motorcycle Checkpoint Funding Act
Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner officially introduced the bill to congress on May 6th that is currently co-sponsored by ten republicans. Sensenbrenner of Wisconsin filed the bill that would prohibit the Department Of Transportation from offering funds to state and local authorities for motorcycle only checkpoints.
The Stop Motorcycle Checkpoint Funding Act also aims to focus motorcycle safety efforts less on national helmet mandates and more on crash prevention programs. These programs would be beneficial by decreasing injuries and fatalities caused by motorcycle accidents. Sensenbrenner was quoted as saying:
“This small change will make a significant impact because it highlights that preventing accidents is the best way to save motorcyclists’ lives,”
Sensenbrenner also says that the bill will allow for more effective crash prevention and “will stop the DOT from manipulating State policies with federal money”.
As a Providence RI motorcycle accident attorney I feel that this bill could provide for a bright future for motorcyclists.
In fact, the American Motorcyclist Association has been tracking these checkpoints since they began in New York and is also on board saying that funding used for checkpoints and helmet law enforcement “would be more practically spent on rider education programs as well as motorist awareness campaigns.”
What Can You Do?
Although the bill already has ten co-sponsors, it will need many more sponsors to pass. If you want to get involved, contact your current member of the House of Representatives and ask them to co-sponsor this important legislation.
It may also be beneficial to become active in your local groups such as The Rhode Island Motorcycle Association that focuses on motorcyclist’s rights on a more local level.
As a Providence RI motorcycle accident attorney I encourage you to take part in this movement that will keep you and other riders safe.
A Providence RI Motorcycle Attorney Who Understands Motorcycles
Although as a motorcyclist, you probably never think of it…but accidents can and do occur. Even to the most skilled riders can get be involved in crashes.
However, there are many excellent ways to help keep you safe this Spring and Summer. One way to improve your skills is to take a refresher course at The Training Wheels Motorcycle Safety School.
But if the unthinkable occurs, you need a lawyer who you can trust.
But not all attorneys have the expertise that I do. For many years, I have been serving motorcycle accident clients as well as keeping myself up to date with the most recent motorcycle issues and legislation.
Experience is everything. With hundreds of motorcycle accident cases successfully settled and the knowledge to navigate the Rhode Island and Massachusetts Court Systems.
If you find yourself in need of a Providence RI motorcycle accident attorney, we can help.