Today this article the Rome News Tribune, RN-T.com - Georgia State Patrol expanding motorcycle safety initiative, would appear to be Georgia's pitiful excuse of a response and served as the basis for ABATE of Georgia's press release.
This sad for a number of reasons. In the article Lt. Colonel Mark McDonough, DPS Deputy Commissioner reasons for having the check points were either disingenuous or demonstrate a sad grasp of the issue of crash causation when it comes to motorcycle fatalities.
"The enforcement effort along metro Atlanta interstates is focused on motorcycle operators traveling at a high rate of speed, weaving in and out of traffic, traveling in the emergency lane, or driving recklessly around other vehicles. Lt. Colonel McDonough noted troopers have also cited motorcycle operators popping “wheelies” while traveling the roadways."Granted these are reckless behaviors that may indeed result in a fatal crash. However they are not likely to be found at a "motorcycle only" check point.
He says they want to check tires, brake lights, headlights, proper licensure and helmets. None of these elements items rank high in crash causation. Helmets are not preventative measures. Preventative measures which should be the basis of any safety campaign are, "address the cause!"
Sadly, what has bee, true in the past remains true today. Most motorcycle fatalities are "caused by the other vehicle". This statement by McDonough almost needs an interpreter in it's inanity, "In a six-year period, Georgia has seen the proportion of fatal motorcycle crashes grow to 12 times greater than that of passenger cars,” he said. “Additionally, traffic crashes involving motorcyclists result in injury or death for 72 percent of the motorcycle operators compared to 16 percent of occupants of passenger cars.”
We accept it as a law of physics that a crash involving an 800lb vehicle with unprotected riders with a 3 to 4000lb vehicle containing protected passengers, is not going to work out well for the 800lb vehicle and it's riders, Helmet or not.
We would ask, "how has cell phone use and texting increased in the last 6 years as increasingly the use of such and the resultant "distracted driving" is being proven to be the greater "cause" of "all" crashes.
New York state is currently in litigation over the same types of check points and the consensus of opinion seems to be that this case will make it to the Supreme Court. The reason, on two occasions federal courts have found that these types of checkpoints can very easily progress to violations of 4th and 5th amendment rights.
The concern regarding this issue was enough to cause several US Congressmen to send a letter, written by "Patriot Act" author Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner, (R-Wis.), to urge US Transportation Secretary LaHood to suspend the grant program and to concentrate on crash causation and education programs.
LaHood ignored them granting Georgia $70,000.00 tax payer dollars to engage in a program that, based on the New York litigation could cost Georgia citizens more than $70,000.00.
Today it has been announced by the American Motorcycle Association that due to LaHoods refusal to grasp the full extent of the problem Representative Jim Sensenbrenner (R-WI) introduced legislation that would prohibit the Secretary of Transportation from providing grants or any funds to states or local governments to be used for any program to create motorcycle-only checkpoints (MOCs).
We are not a fan of Sensenbrenner. In fact we are not a fan of most government officials. What we are strong supporters of is halting the carnage on the "Killing fields" we refer to as public roadways.
We implore the state of Georgia to revisit it's intention to establish discriminatory checkpoints and to embark on a course of action that would have real impact. There are many who would gladly offer their help.
Again, we ask Georgia to take the high road. And maybe on occasion to answer an e-mail or two.
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