Bikers in Virginia Fight the Good Fight Against Motorcycle Only Checkpoints
It’s just not the American way and roughly akin to what has come to be known as ‘profiling’ when it’s applied to cagers. I refer, of course, to the nefarious practice police have in some jurisdictions of stopping motorcyclists by the side of the road simply because they’re riding motorcycles.
Motorcycle riders across the nation say they draw special attention from the law enforcement community, and they’ve had about enough of that treatment. They say it’s time to fight back, and the forefront of the fight is now in the state of Virginia.
Riders were mortified last year during the annual Virginia Beach Bike Classic when city police set up a motorcycles-only checkpoint that ended up with some riders getting tickets for “offenses” like wearing “improper helmets,” says Matt Danielson, attorney for the Virginia Coalition of Motorcyclists.
The police say Danielson is dead wrong with his take one roadblock.
Police in Arlington County, VA., ran a similar operation last year which targeted riders heading to the annual Rolling Thunder ride to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, DC., and Danielson said his clients were none too happy about that one as well.
If all goes to plan, such stops won’t be happening again – at least in Virginia.
The Virginia House of Delegates is now considering a bill that would make motorcycles-only checkpoints a thing of the past. The proposed legislation, HB187, was submitted by delegate Todd Gilbert, R-Shenandoah County, and was approved unanimously Wednesday morning by a Virginia House subcommittee.
“We’re not opposed to checkpoints. They’re a useful public safety tool,” Danielson said. “We just don’t want motorcyclists to be singled out.”
A spokesperson for the the Virginia Beach police department, officer Jimmy Barnes, denied the assertion that motorcyclists were singled out at any time last year by his department.
“We did have a checkpoint, but every car was stopped, not just motorcycles,” he said. “We don’t do that. That’s not our practice, and we will never do that.”
He was, however, not able to provide a list of how many tickets were issued to motorcyclists as opposed to those issue people driving cars.