Some of motorcyclists’ rights hangs in a decision from the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of New York which they hope will declare New York’s motorcycle only roadway checkpoints to be unconstitutional. The motorcycle checkpoints, which target well-known motorcycle events, force motorcyclists traveling to and from those events to leave the roadway, regardless of any wrongdoing, and have their vehicles and equipment inspected for (supposedly) safety and non-safety equipment violations and stolen VIN numbers.
The legal case (Wagner et al. v. The County of Schenectady, NY et al.) could end up in the United States Supreme Court. Although the stated purpose of the checkpoints is always announced as a way to promote safety, the majority of the more than a thousand tickets which were issued during the first year of the checkpoints in this New-York county had nothing to do with safety and instead focused on non-safety violations such as loud pipes. Motorcyclists have been detained as long as 45 minutes while undergoing the inspections.
These motorcycle checkpoints are financed by a grant from the New York Governor’s Traffic Safety Committee and the guidelines state that one of the purposes of the checkpoints is to look for stolen and forged VINs.The Supreme Court of the United States has repeatedly confirmed that any checkpoint whose primary purpose is general crime control constitutes an unreasonable search and seizure under the Fourth Amendment and is presumptively unconstitutional. Police admits that the checkpoints, which focus only on equipment violations and forged and stolen VINs, do not address any of the major causes of motorcycle accidents such as reckless driving, driver inattentiveness and alcohol impairment. (written with the help of US Rider News)