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Looking like degenerates doesn't give cops the right to harass bikers, sez the leg.
Down in Olympia, legislators are whipping through bills on the House

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Laws Against Racial Profiling Should Also Apply to White Guys Riding Two-Wheeled Death Machines, House Says

transformerhelmet.jpg
Looking like degenerates doesn't give cops the right to harass bikers, sez the leg.
Down in Olympia, legislators are whipping through bills on the House and Senate floor, trying to pass them on to the other branch before today's 5 p.m. deadline. Any bills not related to the budget have to pass to the other chamber by then or die.

One of the measures the House rushed through yesterday expands the state's anti-racial-profiling laws to include motorcycle riders. Because apparently driving around in leather on a two-wheeled vehicle almost guaranteed to kill you elicits the same unwarranted law-enforcement attention as being Black.

Bikers long thought cops were unfairly singling them out on the road. Then in 2002, a Washington State Patrol training document called "Biker Basics 101" surfaced that opened: "Bikers are dangerous."

Motorcyclists said the document proved that officers were being instructed on minor violations of handlebar height or helmet requirements in order to pull bikers over, photograph them and search their rides [pdf]. Among other things, the document warns cops to "not let the old ladies flirt - do business. If they are too nice, there is a reason." What that reason is "Biker Basics" doesn't say.

A biker named Edward Wulfekuhle took the State Patrol to court and in Dec. 2002 a Thurston County Superior Court Judge banned its use.

But it didn't help, the bikers claim. In January 2009 at an annual motorcycle lobbying day called "Black Thursday," where bikers seek to change helmet laws or tolling for riders, one motorcyclist videotaped a State Patrol trooper recording the license plates of all the bikes that arrived in Olympia.

Donnie Landsman, a member of the motorcycle advocacy group Abate, says that's unfair profiling. "It's happening and we know it's happening," he told a legislative committee earlier this month, hence Abate's request for legislation.

Landsman was able to convince House members on both sides of the aisle that he is experiencing the same kind of prejudice on the road that racial minorities suffer. Reps Charles Ross (R-Naches) and former cop and bike enthusiast Christopher Hurst (D-Enumclaw) spoke in support of the bill on the House floor. And in a rare showing of bipartisanship, 96 members voted to pass it on to the Senate.

 
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