Both the Senate and Congress have introduced legislation that would ban federally funded checkpoints that only target motorcycles and it has bipartisan support in both houses.
U.S Senators Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Kelly Ayotte (R-NH), Joe Manchin (D-WV), and Ron Johnson (R-WI) introduced their bill on Wednesday, Mar. 5. This bill is quite similar to H.R. 1861 which was submitted by Representative Jim Sensenbrenner (R-WI); both measures have full support of the American Motorcyclist Association.
The “Stop Motorcycle Checkpoint Funding Act” would specifically place restrictions upon the Secretary of Transportation to prevent funds being distributed to any government entity for a program that would establish checkpoints targeting motorcycle riders and their passengers as well as helmet use.
More than $500,000 has been granted to local, state, and federal government agencies over the past two years for the sole purpose of motorcycle-only checkpoints (MOC). The elected officials, and the American Motorcyclists Association, firmly believe that these tax dollars would be much better utilized by encouraging awareness through programs such as Share the Road campaigns and activities to prevent distracted driving and rider education initiatives.
As with any legislation pertaining to the rights of motorcyclists, it is important to stay informed and to contact elected representatives to let your thoughts be known on the record. H.R. 1861 was introduced by Rep Sensenbrenner on May 7, 2013 and referred to committee on the same day. The bill has since languished awaiting the next status of “Reported by Committee” before it can make its way to the next steps of being passed by the House and then passed by the Senate; the final step is being signed by the sitting President.
On a positive note, the bill does have 45 cosponsors including 39 Republicans and 6 Democrats. It is worth noting that Sensenbrenner represents District 5 which is adjoining to Milwaukee which, as most readers know all too well, is the home of Harley-Davidson.
Hopefully, with the action that took place on Wednesday, this will jump start the bill that has been languishing in the House.
The American Motorcyclist Association encourages all riders to fill out the form at this link to register your support for this bill to your elected representatives in the Senate.