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U.S. House passes resolution addressing motorcyclist profiling

Before the 117th U.S. Congress ended its session in December 2022, it passed a bipartisan resolution, H. Res. 366, highlighting motorcyclist profiling and promoting collaboration between the motorcycle and law enforcement communities. Michigan Congressman Tim Walberg, co-chair of the Congressional Motorcycle Caucus, sponsored the resolution and introduced it along with fellow co-chair Michael C. Burgess of Texas, plus Cheri Bustos of Illinois and Mark Pocan of Wisconsin.

A similar resolution failed to earn a vote in 2016 but did pass through the Senate in 2018. The recently passed H.Res.366 states that “motorcyclist profiling means the illegal use of the fact that a person rides a motorcycle or wears motorcycle-related apparel as a factor in deciding to stop and question, take enforcement action, arrest, or search a person or vehicle with or without legal basis under the Constitution of the United States.”

The resolution recognized several facts about motorcycling today, including:  

  • motorcycle registrations have increased “from 3,826,373 in 1997 to 13,158,100 in 2018”;
  • a survey “conducted by the Motorcycle Profiling Project found that approximately 1⁄2 of the motorcyclists surveyed felt they had been profiled by law enforcement at least once, and approximately 90 percent of survey participants urge their State and Federal elected officials to legislatively address the issue of motorcyclist profiling”;
  • “reported incidents of motorcyclist profiling have dropped approximately 90 percent in the State of Washington since the 2011 legislation was signed into law” including guidance on law-enforcement training about profiling.

State Actions

Thanks to S.B. 5242, passed in 2011 in Washington, and S.B. 233, passed in 2016 in Maryland, the profiling of motorcyclists is forbidden. Other states are considering similar legislation. Additionally, California adopted Assembly Bill 1047 in 2012, specifically outlawing motorcycle-only checkpoints.

The resolution passed in the U.S. House last month “urges State law enforcement officials to include statements condemning motorcyclist profiling in written policies and training materials.” Resolutions are not laws. They simply express sentiments of either the House or Senate. Unlike a House or Senate bill, resolutions are not passed on to the President for further action. House committees may be formed through the passage of a House resolution.

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