Motorcycle-Only Checkpoints: Is the Practice Fair?

Written by Tim Kessel, Courtesy of

Did you know that motorcycle-only checkpoints are not only legal, but are also funded by a federal grant program?  It’s true.  The practice is defended by law enforcement as a way to decrease motorcycle crashes, injuries and fatalities.  However the American Motorcyclist Association says there is absolutely no evidence that this is the case.

So how many of our tax dollars are going toward the effort?  Under the grant program, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration plans to award up to $350,000 to be divided among as up to five law enforcement agencies to set up traffic checkpoints that target motorcyclists.

The program is modeled after a controversial program conducted in New York where the state police set up a series of checkpoints that targeted only motorcyclists.  The AMA reports, “In 2008, for example, New York State Police announced plans to set up 15 checkpoints near motorcycling events that summer.”

There is hope that this example of selective enforcement will not continue.  A letter was sent to U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood in September asking that the program be suspended.  In a letter drafted by Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner (R-Wis.), the case was made that the money would be better used on other programs.  Several other legislators from around the county signed the letter.

We would love to hear from our readers on the logic and fairness of motorcycle-only checkpoints.