Last week, U.S. Sens. Jeanne ShaheenCynthia (Jeanne) Jeanne ShaheenThe Hill's 12:30 Report - Presented by Facebook - All US adults now eligible for COVID vaccines The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - All US adults can get vaccine; decision Friday on J&J vax Biden to hold second meeting with bipartisan lawmakers on infrastructure MORE (D-N.H.), Ron JohnsonRonald (Ron) Harold Johnson15 Senate Republicans pledge to oppose lifting earmark ban 'Real Housewives of the GOP' — Wannabe reality show narcissists commandeer the party Republicans fret over divisive candidates MORE (R-Wis.), Kelly AyotteKelly Ann AyotteOvernight Defense: NATO expanding troops in Iraq Overnight Defense: New START extended for five years | Austin orders 'stand down' to tackle extremism | Panel recommends Biden delay Afghanistan withdrawal Study group recommends Biden delay Afghanistan withdrawal MORE (R-N.H.) and Joe ManchinJoe ManchinBiden dispatches Cabinet members to sell infrastructure plan On The Money: Treasury creates hub to fight climate change | Manchin throws support behind union-backed PRO Act | Consumer bureau rolls out rule to bolster CDC eviction ban Miners union to back Biden on green energy if it retains jobs MORE (D-W.Va.) introduced S. 2078, the Stop Motorcycle Checkpoint Funding Act.

S. 2078 would prohibit federal funds from being used to fund motorcycle-only checkpoints. Motorcycle-only checkpoints are a form of traffic enforcement used by state or local law enforcement officials designed to stop all passing motorcyclists – and only motorcyclists – while they check for compliance with state laws covering license endorsement, helmet use and exhaust systems, among other things.


Grants used by state and local officials to operate motorcycle-only checkpoints come from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration funds that are intended to reduce motorcycle fatalities.

Let me be clear, the American Motorcyclist Association fully supports reducing motorcycle crashes, injuries and fatalities because safety -- for all road users -- is our top priority.

However, we do not believe that motorcycle-only checkpoints are an efficient use of limited safety funds. For fiscal 2014, the NHTSA was appropriated only $235 million to implement Title 26 § 402 safety programs that cover 3.9 million miles of road.

That money could be spent more effectively on campaigns to educate other motorists about interacting with motorcyclists on our roadways.

In 2007 when the practice of motorcycle-only checkpoints began, the state of New York conducted a motorcycle-only checkpoint in which 104 traffic citations were issued. However, this checkpoint included officers from four police departments, a police helicopter, a dedicated “chase” car, additional highway signage and investigators from the state Special Investigations Unit.

Surely these resources could have been more effectively employed in a different manner to make our nation’s roads quantifiably safer.

Some of the recent increase in motorcycle fatalities can be attributed to increasing numbers of distracted drivers. A common phrase uttered after a driver hits a motorcyclist is, “I just didn’t see the motorcycle.” And no one can deny that, as cell phones and vehicle entertainment systems have proliferated, car, SUV and truck drivers are increasingly distracted, toggling between radio stations, checking the GPS and texting with friends.

The AMA would like for section 402 funds to be spent to enforce distracted-driving laws and to educate all operators about the dangers of distracted driving.

The AMA does not oppose checkpoints for all motorists. However, a checkpoint should be conducted in a manner that does not discriminate against a class of legal, non-commercial transportation. Furthermore, all checkpoints should show demonstrable results.

A universal checkpoint could undoubtedly check for unlicensed operators and drivers not wearing a seatbelt in cars.

If the goal is to truly make the roads safer, let’s focus on everyone and not just motorcyclists.

We urge the NHTSA to create safety programs that have positive, quantifiable impacts on making the roads safer for all operators.

Allard represented Colorado in the U.S. Senate from 1997 to 2009, and Colorado's 4th Congressional District in the House from 1991 to 1997. He currently works for the Livingston Group, a Washington, D.C. lobbying firm and serves as vice president for government relations for the American Motorcyclist Association.