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Checkpoints may not help prevent a motorcycle accident

Lawmakers typically propose legislation designed to promote safety on the nation's roadways. However, what laws actually increase safety is not exactly straightforward, in Illinois or in any other state. One recent proposal made by federal lawmakers is aimed at defunding motorcycle-only checkpoints on the road, which were originally intended to help decrease motorcycle accident risks.

The recently introduced bipartisan bill would prohibit using federal funding for creating and enforcing checkpoints aimed at only motorcycle drivers. The bill, known as the "Stop Motorcycle Checkpoint Funding Act," would prohibit the Secretary of Transportation from disbursing funds to any governmental entity that plans to use the funds for checkpoints for inspecting helmet use as well as checkpoints solely aimed at motorcycle drivers or passengers of motorcycles. The proposed bill enjoys support from the Motorcycle Riders Foundation and the American Motorcyclist Association. Illinois is one of seven states that has already passed a law to limit motorcycle-only checkpoints.

Proponents of the new federal legislation argue that motorcyclists are already subject to various state regulations subjecting them to inspection at the same checkpoints as other drivers. Many believe that additional checkpoints aimed solely at motorcyclists unfairly target those who choose to use motorcycles for transportation rather than passenger cars or other motor vehicles. They also argue that motorcycle-only checkpoints do not help to prevent future motorcycle accidents.

The proponents cite evidence that suggests that these checkpoints do not address the main factors that contribute to causing motorcycle collisions. State governments have been using funds granted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to pay for the operation of these checkpoints. Supporters of the bill argue that even the NHTSA's own guidelines do not list motorcycle-only checkpoints as an effective method for reducing accidents.

Regardless of whether this bill is passed and enacted into law, motorcycle accidents will continue to occur in Illinois and other states. Sadly, many of these result in serious injuries or death. can result in injuries and even death. When a motorcycle accident is caused by the negligence of another party, those injured (or the surviving family of a fatal accident victim) have the right to purse legal claims in civil court for monetary damages sustained.

Source: motorcycle-usa.com, "Senate Bill Targets Motorcycle Checkpoints", Jan. 9, 2015

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