Lawmakers Seek to End Motorcycle Profiling

motonews-2When you hear the phrase, “police profiling,” racial profiling usually comes to mind, but no one should be unfairly judged based on prejudicial stereotypes—including motorcyclists.

In California, new legislation has been introduced, which would require police officers to undergo more training to ensure they don’t unfairly target motorcycle riders. The bill would also require all local law enforcement agencies in the state to adopt written policies to stop such practices.

In a recent newscast on CBS13 in Sacramento, one correspondent reported, “Riders say they’re being singled out and treated like they’re all part of the cast of ‘Sons of Anarchy,’ and a local assemblyman thinks a law is needed to keep everyone accountable.”

The bill, as introduced, provides for a new section to be added to the California Penal Code, which would read in part:

(a) The Commission on Peace Officer Standards and Training shall ensure that the profiling of motorcycle riders is addressed in the course of basic law enforcement training and offered to law enforcement officers in conjunction with existing training regarding profiling.

(b) Every local law enforcement agency shall adopt a written policy designed to condemn and prevent the profiling of motorcycle riders and shall review and audit existing procedures, practices, and training materials, to ensure that they do not enable or foster the practice of profiling motorcycle riders.

(c) For purposes of this section, “profiling of motorcycle riders” means using the fact that a person rides a motorcycle or wears motorcycle paraphernalia as a factor, without any individualized suspicion of the particular person, in deciding to stop and question, take enforcement action, arrest, or search a person or vehicle, with or without legal basis under the California Constitution or the United States Constitution.

Supporters of the bill and similar legislation in other states claim that law enforcement officers have been unfairly profiling motorcycle riders. Conversely, opponents argue the fourth and fourteenth Amendments of the U.S. Constitution already protect all members of the public from unreasonable search, seizure and warrantless arrest. Detractors also worry such legislation would protect criminals, such as the six members of the “Devil’s Diciples” (the group intentionally spells “disciples” wrong), who were recently convicted on federal RICO charges and for methamphetamine trafficking.

Have you been subject to profiling while riding? Share your experiences in the comments section below.


California Bill Would Train Officers Not To Target Motorcycle Riders, But Is It Necessary?, CBS13 Sacramento, February 18, 2015.

Police targeting of motorcyclists focus of California bill, by Jeremy B. White, Sacramento Bee, February 18, 2015.

Members of Detroit-area Devil’s Diciples motorcycle gang convicted of RICO charges, meth trafficking, by Gus Burns,, February 20, 2015.

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