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Old 11-22-2011, 10:41 AM   #1
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Motorcycle Checkpoints Ruled Constitutional

Hope it's not a repost...haven't seen it on here, yet. Yes, I know this in in New York, but it could find its way down here eventually.

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ALBANY, N.Y. ó A federal judge has rejected motorcyclists' claims that their constitutional rights were violated by New York State Police highway checkpoints that stopped thousands of riders and ticketed many of them.

The main focus of the 2008 statewide initiative by troopers, timed to coincide with rallies drawing crowds of riders, was safety, Judge Gary Sharpe concluded. That distinguishes the checkpoints from "a general interest in crime control" that could have amounted to unconstitutional seizures when there's no "individualized suspicion of wrongdoing."

Four motorcyclists sued troopers claiming safety was a mere pretext in looking for criminals and that the practice was intrusive and unfair to riders as a group. Attorney Mitchell Proner said many motorcyclists are interested in the case, the only such federal suit nationally though some other states have similar checkpoint programs, and he will appeal.

According to Sharpe's Thursday ruling, 5,342 vehicles passed through 17 checkpoints in 2008. Authorities inspected 2,278 and made four criminal arrests in addition to issuing 1,064 tickets, including 365 for helmet violations, 99 for other safety violations, and 600 for non-safety violations.

The ruling cited state data showing an increase in motorcycle fatalities the preceding nine years, and an increase in tickets issued for illegal helmets from 35 in 2007 to 796 in 2008, almost half at the checkpoints. Sharpe also cited a 17 percent decrease in motorcycle fatalities from 2008 to 2009.

"The court concludes the checkpoints were enacted to promote motorcycle safety, a manifest public interest; they were effective in addressing this interest; and that any interference with individual liberties was not only minimal, but also grossly outweighed by the interest advanced," Sharpe wrote.

The program gave police "appropriately" limited discretion and was "minimally intrusive," with depositions showing bikers were detained at most 45 minutes even when they got secondary inspections and were cited for inadequate helmets, he wrote.

Lt. James Halvorsen, detail commander of the state police motorcycle unit, said the ongoing program, similar to seatbelt enforcement, succeeded in raising safety awareness. Most riders with approved helmets are waved through the checkpoints, where they slow but don't stop, he said.

Statewide motorcycle fatalities were 188 in 2008, 155 in 2009 and 180 last year, while the peak in 2006 was 192, Halvorsen said. Whether other police showed up at the checkpoints, that wasn't coordinated and the troopers' program was strictly about safety, he said.

"The intrusion on civil liberties is something that shouldn't be countenanced," Proner said. The New York checkpoints have continued since even though motorcycles, like other vehicles, are already subject to annual safety inspections, he said.

"It's obvious just from their own internal documents they're looking for criminal activity," Proner said. A checkpoint near Buffalo's Peace Bridge included border patrol agents, and one in central New York near a rally sponsored by a motorcycle club included gang task force officers, he said.

"The fact they didn't find crime doesn't mean that wasn't what they're fishing for," he said. "That just shows you've got law abiding citizens on motorcycles primarily being inconvenienced."
http://www.dailyjournal.net/view/sto...e-Checkpoints/
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Old 11-22-2011, 11:38 AM   #2
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I ride clean so I don’t have a problem with checkpoints. Riders that don't have insurance or a valid license deserve to get popped.
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Old 11-22-2011, 11:47 AM   #3
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I ride clean too. But I also ride every day, sometimes literally hitting all four corners of houston. I'm going to be if they start poping up everywhere making me late.
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Old 11-22-2011, 12:01 PM   #4
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I ride clean so I donít have a problem with checkpoints. Riders that don't have insurance or a valid license deserve to get popped.
It's not about riding clean or dirty. It's about singling out motorcycles. They should be stopping every vehicle, not just bikes. At DUI checkpoints, everyone stops. There's no singling out a specific type of vehicle.
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Old 11-22-2011, 12:02 PM   #5
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Old 11-22-2011, 12:45 PM   #6
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It's not about riding clean or dirty. It's about singling out motorcycles. They should be stopping every vehicle, not just bikes. At DUI checkpoints, everyone stops. There's no singling out a specific type of vehicle.
That^^^^
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Old 11-22-2011, 01:19 PM   #7
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Quote:
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I ride clean so I donít have a problem with checkpoints. Riders that don't have insurance or a valid license deserve to get popped.
i agree

be carefull what you say..
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Old 11-22-2011, 02:33 PM   #8
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i agree

be carefull what you say..
While I do agree with the second part of Bevo's comment, shouldn't that apply to ALL motorists, not just motorcycle riders?
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Old 11-22-2011, 02:42 PM   #9
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I forgot the case, but checkpoints are difficult for local or state police to implement in Texas. I would not be worried about a federal district court ruling in N.Y. anyway. It is fun to play chicken little with court rulings but this is so far removed from the reality of Texas law, both structurally and in fact, that it is inconsequential.
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Old 11-22-2011, 02:47 PM   #10
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While I do agree with the second part of Bevo's comment, shouldn't that apply to ALL motorists, not just motorcycle riders?


I agree
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Old 11-22-2011, 03:16 PM   #11
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I agree that it should include all vehicles, not just motorcycles. However, I'm also sure truckers say the same thing at weigh stations. Checking truck weights is just a bullshit excuse to look for other not in compliance.

The way they rationalize it for truckers is that they drive dangerous vehicles and aren't smart enough to make the right choices.
The way they rationalize it for motorcyclists is that they drive dangerous vehicles and aren't smart enough to make the right choices.

You know what? They are right. How many RIP threads are on this site in just a couple of months? How many motorcycle fatalities are there a week in Houston? How many across the nation when the temps are around 70? I bet you more than with cars per 100,000 drivers/riders. How many of those fatalities would have been preventable with the right gear and training? You know why they single out bikes over cars? Because a cager doesn't need a helmet to not die if he hits a curb with his vehicle. A cager doesn't need a helmet to not die if he gets rear ended by another dumb cager on her cellphone.

I don't like the erosion of liberties. I don't like giving cops an opening to look for other noncompliance to cite riders for.

It's our own fault (as motorcyclists everywhere). They were given an opening for bullshit citations because too many riders didn't wear our helmets and got splattered in New York, combined with a really crappy trend detected nationally with fatalities. I might be a cold , but I really don't give a about a rider I don't know, who got splattered if he wasn't at least wearing a helmet. Helps thin out the global population! However, I do care about those cage stains causing municipalities and state governments to have justification to hassle me.

You wanna do something about anti-motorcycle laws in Texas? Watch out for them in the news and send a letter to the legislature denouncing them when they pop up. Also think about joining the American Motorcyclist Association, they might be pro-helmet laws, they are anti-"motorcycle discriminatory" laws. I hate lobbyists, but you gotta fight corrupt government with corrupt government.

Please don't take any of this personally, I really don't hate your dead motorcycle friend. It just makes me very frustrated that you can practically watch our rights being eroded from afar, and not be able to do anything about it. What if I wanted to ride through New York on a long distance trip, where I get stopped by a checkpoint; and it turns out that they don't like the color of my visor? Or my auxiliary lights? Or whatever other bullshit laws they have up there that we're currently free of here? I get a free ticket in a state that I don't particularly want to support financially.
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Old 11-22-2011, 03:18 PM   #12
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Old 11-22-2011, 03:27 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Snarky View Post
I agree that it should include all vehicles, not just motorcycles. However, I'm also sure truckers say the same thing at weigh stations. Checking truck weights is just a bullshit excuse to look for other not in compliance.

The way they rationalize it for truckers is that they drive dangerous vehicles and aren't smart enough to make the right choices.
The way they rationalize it for motorcyclists is that they drive dangerous vehicles and aren't smart enough to make the right choices.

You know what? They are right. How many RIP threads are on this site in just a couple of months? How many motorcycle fatalities are there a week in Houston? How many across the nation when the temps are around 70? I bet you more than with cars per 100,000 drivers/riders. How many of those fatalities would have been preventable with the right gear and training? You know why they single out bikes over cars? Because a cager doesn't need a helmet to not die if he hits a curb with his vehicle. A cager doesn't need a helmet to not die if he gets rear ended by another dumb cager on her cellphone.

I don't like the erosion of liberties. I don't like giving cops an opening to look for other noncompliance to cite riders for.

It's our own fault (as motorcyclists everywhere). They were given an opening for bullshit citations because too many riders didn't wear our helmets and got splattered in New York, combined with a really crappy trend detected nationally with fatalities. I might be a cold , but I really don't give a about a rider I don't know, who got splattered if he wasn't at least wearing a helmet. Helps thin out the global population! However, I do care about those cage stains causing municipalities and state governments to have justification to hassle me.

You wanna do something about anti-motorcycle laws in Texas? Watch out for them in the news and send a letter to the legislature denouncing them when they pop up. Also think about joining the American Motorcyclist Association, they might be pro-helmet laws, they are anti-"motorcycle discriminatory" laws. I hate lobbyists, but you gotta fight corrupt government with corrupt government.

Please don't take any of this personally, I really don't hate your dead motorcycle friend. It just makes me very frustrated that you can practically watch our rights being eroded from afar, and not be able to do anything about it. What if I wanted to ride through New York on a long distance trip, where I get stopped by a checkpoint; and it turns out that they don't like the color of my visor? Or my auxiliary lights? Or whatever other bullshit laws they have up there that we're currently free of here? I get a free ticket in a state that I don't particularly want to support financially.
Truckers? How about they weigh a LOT more than a regular vehicle, are a lot larger than a regular vehicle, and will cause greater damage in the event of a crash.

Thats a good enough reason for me to hold them to a higher standard.
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Old 11-22-2011, 03:53 PM   #14
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Old 11-23-2011, 03:24 AM   #15
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Truckers? How about they weigh a LOT more than a regular vehicle, are a lot larger than a regular vehicle, and will cause greater damage in the event of a crash.

Thats a good enough reason for me to hold them to a higher standard.
Motorcycles, they leave the rider a lot less protected than a regular vehicle, are a lot smaller than a regular vehicle, and will cause greater damager to the ride in the event of a crash.

That's the point I was making in the unequal regulations comparing passenger vehicles versus trucks and bikes.
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Old 11-23-2011, 05:42 AM   #16
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Quote:
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Motorcycles, they leave the rider a lot less protected than a regular vehicle, are a lot smaller than a regular vehicle, and will cause greater damager to the ride in the event of a crash.

That's the point I was making in the unequal regulations comparing passenger vehicles versus trucks and bikes.
dif is protecting others from 'you' vs protecting yourself from 'you'.
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Old 11-23-2011, 08:35 AM   #17
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I ride clean so I donít have a problem with checkpoints. Riders that don't have insurance or a valid license deserve to get popped.
+1 to that Brother.
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Old 11-23-2011, 09:15 AM   #18
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Quote:
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I ride clean so I donít have a problem with checkpoints. Riders that don't have insurance or a valid license deserve to get popped.
No offense but IMHO, this is bullshit.

Let's all toady along with whatever laws are thrown at us. We will look down our noses at those, scofflaws that don't.

What if they pass a law that says (like England has), no tinted visors?
What if they decide we must all wear approved gloves?
Or our bikes have to have reverse beepers?
Or we have to wear blast armor?

Obviously, I'm being a little sarcastic but the idea is that, somebody passes a law for "safety" and whether it makes us safer or not, we now have another layer of complication and detail that must be kept in order.

"Sir, your gloves don't have the certification label and tax stamped affixed in the correct location, I will have to cite you".
"Oh, and look, your emergency flares and reflector kit is out of date, I will have to cite you again".
"Sir, I see you are wearing nonapproved music headphones, I will have to write you up for that too".

To have the idea that, "I ride clean. Those who don't deserve a ticket, so I don't mind if they single out motorcyclists", is the same as, "I'm don't speed so, automatic cameras along the roads are OK. Those speeders deserve to get tickets".

The real problem isn't safety violations or speeding. It's the erosion of rights and the difficulty of retrieving them.
Maybe I don't need that right at this moment, but somebody someday might. If we let them go now, they are gone.

The right to move around the country unhampered is good. Checkpoints for "safety" or for "DUI sweeps" are not.
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Old 11-23-2011, 09:49 AM   #19
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Quote:
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dif is protecting others from 'you' vs protecting yourself from 'you'.
Thats kinda what my point was, too. Truckers are held to a higher standard because of the damage they can cause to others- in that case its totally understandable.

Either way, motorcycle checkpoints are shady as . I'm legal, and stay legal, but it doesn't mean I want to be singled out so they "Can just check me out".
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Old 11-23-2011, 10:33 AM   #20
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