Motorcyclists generally have the right to use Virginia roads in the same manner as passenger or commercial vehicles. In fact, the U.S. Senate recently passed a resolution calling on states to stop the practice of profiling motorcyclists. Although it is nonbinding, another piece of legislation bans the use of federal funds to conduct motorcycle roadblocks. According to a Supreme Court ruling, police officers are allowed to justify after a traffic stop after it occurs.
Therefore, it is legal to conduct operations targeting motorcycles in states that do not expressly forbid it. However, in Virginia, there is legislation that prohibits police checkpoints that only target those riding on motorcycles.
In 2007, New York police took part in what was called “Operation 5060.” It used both police on the ground and helicopters to ensure that riders didn’t try to evade the roadblock. During this time, hundreds of riders were given tickets for small infractions.
In 2016, one rider claimed that he was ticketed for failing to have a DOT sticker on his helmet. The man was eventually taken into custody after a skirmish ensued, and police determined that they did nothing wrong in the matter. According to one senator, these roadblocks are nothing more than a way to use taxpayer dollars to profile motorcyclists.
A motorist who is cited for speeding or other infractions may face penalties such as a fine or points on their license. However, those who are given a citation generally have the right to an attorney in their cases. An attorney may be able to help negotiate a plea deal or work to get the citation thrown out entirely.