Motorcyclist Profiling in Maryland vs. Other States

Motorcyclists and Maryland motorcycle accident attorneys have been aware of motorcycle profiling for many years. Police officers unfairly target motorcyclists for traffic stops. The American Motorcycle Association (AMA) refers to motorcycle profiling as a “discriminatory enforcement action” targeting motorcycle riders only. The AMA strongly denounces motorcycle profiling, including motorcycle-only checkpoints and targeting riders for wearing motorcycle-related clothing. The AMA does support law enforcement agencies in traffic stops based on reasonable suspicion.

Maryland’s Ban on Motorcycle Profiling

Maryland was the second state to pass a law banning motorcycle profiling within the state. Only Washington and New Jersey currently have anti-motorcycle profiling laws. However, some states are working to pass similar laws. Maryland’s legislature unanimously passed the anti-profiling legislation in 2016, which was effective on October 1, 2016. A previous bill in 2015 passed through the Senate, but did not make it through the House.

Maryland’s anti-motorcycle profiling law was enacted to help prevent motorcycle profiling by developing and including information related to motorcycle profiling in written policies and training materials. According to the legislation, the definition of motorcycle profiling is the use of the fact that a person is riding a motorcycle or is wearing clothing related to motorcycling as a factor in the decision to initiate a traffic stop or question, arrest, or search a rider.

United States Senate Passes Motorcycle Profiling Resolution

On December 11, 2018, the U.S. Senate passed a resolution to promote awareness of motorcycle profiling and encourage cooperation between the motorcycle community and law enforcement agencies to prevent motorcycle profiling.

Even though a resolution is not a law, the fact that the resolution was passed unanimously through the Senate sends a strong message to law enforcement agencies throughout the country that motorcycle profiling will not be tolerated. The resolution also urged State law enforcement officials to adopt policies condemning motorcycle profiling within their state and to include these policies in their written materials.

Congress banned federal funding for motorcycle-only checkpoints in 2015 as part of the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act. Motorcycle-only checkpoints are used throughout the country to conduct searches and harass motorcyclists based on the pretense of checking for compliance with state motorcycle and vehicle laws. Unfortunately, even though the FAST Act eliminated federal funding for these checkpoints, many law enforcement agencies throughout the country still use motorcycle-only checkpoints, especially near motorcycle events and rallies.

Can Motorcycle Profiling Impact a Motorcycle Accident Claim?

Sadly, many individuals continue to hold onto false and unsubstantiated stereotypes of motorcyclists as dangerous and reckless drivers. They believe that motorcyclists ride at excessive speeds, are aggressive drivers, and place others on the road in danger with their riding techniques. In addition, some people continue to believe the stereotypes of motorcyclists as dangerous gang members. None of these stereotypes describe the vast majority of motorcyclists. Most motorcyclists are law-abiding citizens who are safe drivers.

Unfortunately, insurance companies often use these unfair and untrue stereotypes to discredit riders during a trial related to a motorcycle accident. Defense attorneys use a juror’s bias against motorcyclists to blame the rider for the accident. However, an experienced Maryland motorcycle accident attorney understands these disgraceful insurance and defense tactics and how to combat them. For that reason, we strongly urge riders who are involved in a motorcycle accident to take steps to protect their legal right to recover full compensation for all damages.

Steps to take after a motorcycle accident include:

  • Never admit fault or say you are sorry! Tell the police officer what happened without claiming fault. Even if you believe you are partially at fault for the crash, you cannot be sure until you speak with a Maryland motorcycle accident attorney.
  • Always report the accident and wait for the police to arrive. If possible, take photographs and make a video of the accident scene.
  • Ask eyewitnesses to provide their names and contact information.
  • Always seek medical treatment for your motorcycle accident injuries. Careful and prompt documentation of your injuries can make a significant impact on whether you receive full compensation for your injury claim.
  • Never provide a statement, written or recorded, to the insurance company without first meeting with a Maryland motorcycle accident lawyer.
  • Do not sign any forms, including a medical release or a settlement agreement, without consulting with an attorney.
  • Avoid posting information online, including on social media accounts and motorcycle forums. This information could be accessed and used against you during the claims process.
  • Meet with a member of the Pinder Plotkin legal team for a free consultation as soon as possible. Our attorneys and legal professionals explain your legal rights and options for filing an injury claim.

Contact a Parkville Motorcycle Accident Attorney Today

You deserve compensation for your injuries, damages, and losses arising from a motorcycle crash. You do NOT deserve to be treated unfairly because you happen to ride a motorcycle. Our legal team aggressively fights for the rights of motorcyclists throughout Maryland.

Call 410-661-9440 to schedule your FREE consultation.

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