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Shaheen Bill to Protect Rights of Motorcyclists Included in Highway Bill

(WASHINGTON, DC) – Today the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation approved legislation authored by Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) that would prevent discriminatory motorcycle-only check points. The Stop Motorcycle Funding Checkpoint Act would protect the rights of motorcyclists by prohibiting federal funds from being used for motorcycle-only check points.

“Motorcycles are an important part of New Hampshire’s identity and economy and checkpoints that target just motorcyclists are both discriminatory and ineffective,” Senator Shaheen said. “Motorcycle riders already have their vehicles inspected and registered just like all motorists and they shouldn’t be unfairly targeted simply because of their type of vehicle. We don’t have checkpoints that stop cars to check their tire pressure and we shouldn’t have them for motorcycles either. I am encouraged that my provision to prevent this practice is advancing through the Senate.”

Shaheen’s legislation was approved as part of S. 1732, the Commerce Committee’s portion of the Surface Transportation Reauthorization bill. Today’s action follows a letter from Shaheen to the Committee last month calling for inclusion of her legislation. The Stop Motorcycle Funding Checkpoint Act was introduced by Shaheen in January. Specifically, the provision would prohibit the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) from issuing grants to states for motorcycle-only checkpoints.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration initiated the Motorcycle Law Enforcement Demonstration Program in 2009, which provided states with funds to conduct discriminatory, motorcycle-only checkpoints where riders are specifically targeted by police to check that their vehicles meet state standards for noise, handlebar length, tire condition and a range of other requirements. Currently, motorcycle riders are already subject to state registration, inspection, licensing and helmet laws and must stop at sobriety check points like all other motorists.