On December 11, 2018, the U.S. Senate adopted Senate Resolution 154, a resolution raising awareness of motorcycle profiling by law enforcement in the United States.
According to National Motorcycle Profiling Survey 2016, conducted by the Motorcycle Profiling Project, half of motorcyclists surveyed claimed that they had been profiled at least once by law enforcement. This new resolution aims to increase communication between motorcyclists and law enforcement to ensure that profiling is avoided. In addition, the resolution urges State law enforcement officials to condemn motorcyclist profiling in their training materials.
Senate Res. 154 defines motorcycle profiling as “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.”
Motorcycle profiling has been reported in all 50 states. In recent years, some states have adopted legislation to combat motorcycle profiling. In 2011, Washington created a law that motorcycle profiling issues be covered in basic law enforcement training. According to Senate Res. 154, this caused motorcycle related profiling incidents to drop an estimated 90 percent since 2011. In 2016, Maryland adopted similar legislation.
The need for a resolution of this nature has been growing significantly over the last 20 years, as motorcycle ridership has grown significantly. The Resolution states that “motorcycle ridership has continued to increase over time with registrations growing from 3,826,373 in 1997 to 8,600,936 in 2015.” With the increase in motorcycle ridership, the need to address the rising reports of motorcycle profiling became crucial to Senate members sponsoring this resolution.
This resolution was a bipartisan effort sponsored by Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), and was cosponsored by Sens. Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.), Michael D. Crapo (R-Idaho), Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), Angus King (I-Maine), Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), and Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska).
Senate Resolutions do not have the force of law, but this is an important step in raising awareness nationwide about motorcycle profiling. This Resolution could lead to more states adopting anti-profiling legislation.
To read Senate Res. 154 in its entirety, click here.