What is motorcycle profiling?
There are several definitions but generally, motorcycle profiling is:
- When law enforcement officers target only motorcycles, such as a motorcycle-only checkpoint or
- A traffic stop where the reason for the stop is that you’re on a motorcycle or wearing motorcycle clothing or a motorcycle club’s patch/colors.
The AMA describes profiling as “Profiling means the illegal use of the fact that a person rides a motorcycle or wears motorcycle-related apparel as a factor when law enforcement officers decide to stop and question, take enforcement action, arrest or search a person or vehicle with or without a legal basis.”
On 12/11/2018, the U.S. Senate condemned motorcycle profiling in an anti-profiling resolution, Senate Res. 154, by unanimous consent. But a resolution is not a law. So why doesn’t the Senate make it illegal?
New Jersey passed legislation in 2015 (A. 2316) specifically forbidding the profiling of motorcyclists. Since New Jersey is next door to New York, perhaps New York can follow soon.
Motorcycle-only checkpoints result in undeserved animosity towards the police and annoying tickets, which are an unfair motorcycle tax, for extremely minor violations. The animosity is undeserved because police officers set up checkpoints because they are ordered to.
At one motorcycle-only checkpoint I saw at Bike Night, although many motorcycles were stopped, only one ticket was issued to a motorcyclist in his 70s on an Indian cruiser for underglow lights he didn’t know was illegal. There was no valid reason to stop so many motorcycles, and a warning for the under glow lights would have been sufficient.
This video clearly shows profiling
What to Do If You Are Stopped Because of Motorcycle Profiling
If you believe you were profiled, hire a traffic lawyer to fight the tickets. File a FOIL request or ask your traffic lawyer to do it.
Contact the Motorcycle Profiling Project. Email the following details of your profiling stop to email@example.com:
- Date of the traffic stop
- Name of police or sheriff’s department
- Length of time you were stopped; and
- Any other details you think are important.
Contact Your Political Representatives to Stop Motorcycle Profiling
If you believe motorcycle profiling by law enforcement agencies is wrong and should be ended, use the link below to contact your representatives in Congress and ask them to support the Motorcycle Profiling Resolution (H.Res.318 and S.Res.154).
The Motorcycle Riders Foundation is working with the National Council of Clubs and the Motorcycle Profiling Project to call on our elected officials to end the unconstitutional profiling of motorcyclists across our county. If your member of Congress has signed on, you can still ask them to lean on their colleagues to support these resolutions.
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Motorcycle Attorney Phil Franckel talks about how motorcycle accidents are different
Philip L. Franckel, Esq. is the author of all articles and content on this website, one of the Personal Injury Dream Team™ Founding Partners at 1-800-HURT-911® New York, well-known for representing motorcyclists. He has a 10 Avvo rating; Avvo Client’s Choice with all 5-star reviews; Avvo Top Contributor; and is a former Member of the Board of Directors of the New York State Trial Lawyers Association. Mr. Franckel created the motorcycle awareness campaign BE AWARE MOTORCYCLES ARE EVERYWHERE®.
Founding Partner Rob Plevy, Esq.
Robert Plevy, Esq. is a motorcycle accident lawyer and one of the Personal Injury Dream Team™ Founding Partners at 1-800-HURT-911® New York. Robert began his legal career in 1993 as an Assistant Corporation Counsel defending The City of New York against personal injury lawsuits.