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You Decide!

Federally Supported Discriminatory Biker Stops Grant:

NY Mandatory Bike Stop SignIn an effort to supposedly increase motorcycle safety and law enforcement's awareness and improving motorcycle safety, NHTSA will award up to five (5) demonstration grants to law enforcement agencies around the country to fund and conduct "safety" checkpoints specific to motorcycles similar to those conducted by the NY State Police in 2007 and 2008 in Dutchess County. Phone: (845) 677-7300.

The NHTSA program funding ranges between $70,000 to $350,000 per agency and was posted 7/13/10.

For a little background on the NY experience, in 2007, the NY State Police launched a pilot program for conducting motorcycle safety checkpoints to:

(1) educate law enforcement on motorcycle safety issues;
(2) increase law enforcement communication with motorcyclists;
(3) distribute motorcycle safety materials to motorcyclists;
(4) and enforce all laws associated with motorcycles and motorcyclists.

The NYSP expanded this program and conducted a series of motorcycle safety check points in 2008. An article discussing this program was published in Police Chief Magazine and can be found online at:

Checkpoints & Education: The NY Experience
http://policechiefmagazine.org/magazine/index.cfm?fuseaction=display_arch&article_id=1536&issue_id=n008

Basically what is fully at risk here is our freedom to ride because of Federally funded discriminatory motorcycle checkpoint stops that don't require any probable cause other than riding a bike.

Here is the crux of the grant requirements (from grant pages 6 and 20):

Within thirty (30) months of the Cooperative Agreement award date, the Grantee shall conduct a minimum of three (3) motorcycle safety checkpoints each year for two (2) years within its jurisdiction under this Cooperative Agreement. The Grantee shall collect and maintain basic data for each motorcycle safety checkpoint it conducts, which shall include the approximate number of contacts made with motorcyclists per checkpoint, the approximate number and type of safety materials distributed to motorcyclists per checkpoint, and the number and type of citations issued per checkpoint...

The total 'not-to-exceed' amount of the Federal funding to be provided under this Cooperative Agreement is $350,000.

To read and download the NHTSA Grant program text and application:

Go to: http://www.grants.gov
Click "Grant Search" on the right of the page under FOR APPLICANTS
In the Searh by Funding Opportunity Number field, type: DTNH22-10-R-00386
Click "Motorcycle Law Enforcement Demonstrations"

The you can see the Synopsis, here with a link to the Full Announcement and Application PDFs but the NHTSA site may have updated ones in the future.

The American Motorcycle Association (AMA) has been working on the issue with the NYSP and the DOT and NHTSA for some time. I am told they are to issue a news alert soon, so if you are not on their list go their website to signup.

What can you do?
Well currently (7/23/10) no NHTSA awards have been awarded, but you can still contact your state senators and representatives and complain that the NHTSA is using our tax dollars to fund a program that targets bikers. Unlike Arizona where the law doesn't specify a type of person, but "may" result in racial profiling, in this case the target is defined and profiling would be, in fact, part of the program. This has to be unconstitutional not to mention a waste of our tax dollars.

Write, Write, Write: Write the individuals below and also your state senators and representatives about the use of our tax dollars for grant programs that discriminate against motorcyclists that result in traffic stops without any probable cause simply because they are on a bike! LaHood and Metheke generally don't take calls, so writing seems your best approach, plus you'll have a written record and will hopefully get a response. Be sure to refer to the name of the grant and it's funding number listed above. For your senator(s) or representatives be sure to give them the instructions on how to obtain the Synopsis, Full Announcement and Application above.

Secretary Ray LaHood
U.S. Secretary of Transportation
1200 New Jersey Avenue SE
Washington DC 20590

202-366-4000

Otto Matheke
Office of Chief Council
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
1200 New Jersey Avenue SE
W41 227
Washington, DC 20590

202-366-9511

How to find your Senator
How to find your State Representative

Funding Opportunity Number: DTNH22-10-R-00386

Please spread the word...

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