East Coast Helmet Law Protest
Governors Highway Safety Program Attempts to Bias NC Judges against Bikers.
Raleigh, NC December 23, 2007
Editorial about finding that the GHSP will bias judges and attempt to influence-peddle in order to get judges to find bikers guilty despite any constitutional arguments we raise in objection to the vagueness of the new helmet law.
See GHSP and NC Judges.
NC Bikers NC Biker Rights NC Freedom Rides Patriots Day Rally
1st Annual East Coast Helmet Law Protest!
When: Last Sunday of Myrtle Beach Bike Week, every year:
Location: South of the Border, I-95 and US 301/501 Dillon, SC near the NC Border.
On your way back from Myrtle Beach Bike Week, enjoy a freedom ride in protest of mandatory motorcycle helmet laws! Of course, you CAN wear a helmet. This protest is for the riders right to decide! This ride is not organized, or sponsored, by anyone except other bikers.
It is absolutely crucial that you ride sober, responsibly, and safely.
Suggested Minimum Age: 21,
Suggested minimum riding experience: 3 years.
Begin lining up at 10am. Ride briefing at 10:45. Kickstands up at 11am.
Be advised that there are mandatory helmet laws in most of the states north of South Carolina, and there is a high likelihood of being pulled over and ticketed. If you are ticketed, it is up to you to decide whether to help the states by paying the fines and court costs, or become a freedom fighter by arguing it in court.
In the past, if issued citations for riding without helmets, most riders did the easy thing and paid the state. If you are a freedom fighter, you will argue any such ticket in court. If not, you are are only putting money into the state coffers. The fine is $25 in NC with an additional $75 in court costs whether or not you fight the ticket. (Sorry, I’m not sure of the penalties in VA or other states north of VA).
What are the chances of not being stopped?
I’d guess slim. Some freedom fighters constantly ride lidless and are rarely stopped. Do not expect that, however. Word is out about the protest. Even though police officers would be interupting a peaceful protest, and your right to freedom of expressing yourself without coersion during a protest, officers may be under orders. Be prepared to get stopped. If you want to contest in court, then you should hope to be ticketed, because you can’t contest it until you get a ticket.
If signaled by the police to pull over, follow orders, pulling into a safe place. If you are instructed to pull over on the side of the highway, the police officer could be creating a very dangerous situation, so do your best to follow instructions but don’t put anyones safety in jeopardy. The grass, off the pavement is preferred. Be courteous to the police officer. If you get ticketed, your beef is not with them. With ticket in hand, you can fight it in court. Remember, they are following orders, just like you do in your job. Again, please check out what Fast Fred recommends. Other than one or two mistakes, he might have won, and the law might have been rendered unenforceable.
One successful court case can render a law unenforceable. I am not a lawyer, but I believe that if you lose in district court, then appeal to superior court, a judge can issue an opinion and finding that a law is unconstitutional. (Check with a lawyer).
What if I argue a court case, lose, and can’t appeal?
You will have the great satisfaction of standing up for your rights. The state will have lost a lot of time and money, and you will have lost time and money. If 10 seperate cases, or 100 seperate cases are fought, this would not be good for the state. Eventually, the state could consider the law unenforceable for that reason.
CURRENT STATUS OF THE HELMET LAW AND EFFORTS FROM THE POWERS TO BE AND LONE FREEDOM FIGHTERS:
It is important to recognize a case filed in June of 2000: NC v Barker
The riders were not wearing helmets. The judge noted in his findings and conclusions that if they had been wearing some form of protective headgear, (which they refer to as their safety helmet, their argument that the law is vague would have had a very good chance of finding the law unconstitutional due to vagueness.
The Executive Committee for Highway Safety , has issued a strategy document published at the NC DOT web site, which admits the current law in unenforceable, and outlines how they intend to bring an end to the use of, what they call, noncompliant “fake” helmets. (What is a fake helmet?) The document outlines a strategy which includes removal of the words “of a type approved by the Commissioner of Motor Vehicles” and adoption and enforcement of the NHTSA’s FMVSS #218.
March 15, 2007 in Bryson City:
Fast Fred from South Carolina, who was visiting Cherokee and was ticketed, and fought it, unsuccessfully, but he did manage to set the stage. He is putting together a North Carolina helmet law defense package which includes the above information. Lots of good info at his site for “in the event” that you get stopped.
HB 563 is an effort by NC legislators to embed FMVSS 218. The current law is vague, and for and average person, FMVSS 218, a standard written for engineers which helmet manufacturers are supposed to comply with, does not clarify. Even helmet manufacturers have a difficult time; the failure rate as tested by NHTSA is high. How could the average person of reasonable intelligence? How could a peace officer?
How to Fight and Win after FMVSS #218
With the adoption of FMVSS #218, the Executive Committe expects the NC helmet law statutes will “grow more teeth”.
However, there will still be plenty of basis for appeal, thanks to a relentless 14 years of constant effort by Richard Quigley, and supporters, in California. Quig finally found a judge that would listen, and successfully won an appeal in August of 2006. The case did not remove the law, but the law was found unconstitutional as applied by the citing officers. The CHP side of the road methods of ascertaining whether or not a helmet complies with FMVSS 218 are not sufficient to determine if a helmet is compliant.
California, and other states which have statutes which reference DOT and FMVSS #218, enforce the law according to a misinterpretation that the statutes require the use of DOT approved helmets. Yet, there is no such thing as a DOT approved helmet!
DOT doesn't approve helmets, so all enforcement which looks for DOT approval is erroneous. When the police inspect helmets, they are not qualified to do the testing to see if the helmet complies with DOT specs. However, LEO does not yet understand that DOT doesn’t approve helmets, and they have no clue what the specs are.
[In order for a law to be constitutional, an average person of reasonable person needs to be able to ensure they can comply].
Only engineers can determine if protective headear meets their specs, and the way they find out is to destroy it during their testing. DOT has published their specs and methods of testing, but there is no way for all reasonable persons to be able to follow the specs and methods to ensure compliance.
DOT sets the standards for the manufacturers. They don’t set standards or regulate compliance for consumers. Manufacturers certify their helmets comply with the standards, and are required to attach a DOT sticker.
There is no requirement that the consumer maintain the DOT sticker on the helmet, so the absence of the DOT sticker doesn't imply anything.
The DOT labeling can be easily duplicated, so the presence of a DOT sticker on a helmet is also meaningless to a rider.
Disclaimer: The preceding has been posted for numerous motorcycle riders and/or other persons who have expressed interest in having a peaceful and lawful assembly in South Carolina. All persons traveling to or from South Carolina, before, during, and after, are responsible for their own safety and their own actions, including, but not limited to safe operation of motorized vehicles. All participants are responsible for briefing themselves about all applicable laws of all states prior to traveling in that state. All participants agree that traveling by motorcycle and other motorized vehicles should always be done according to all applicable laws, and they will not hold bikersmag.com, Bikers USA, other related publishers, publications, persons, businesses, and organizations responsible for any citations or damages regardless of cause or reason. Travel by motorcycle and other motorized vehicles is often dangerous. All motor vehicle operators must ensure safe and proper operation of their own vehicle, at all times, according to all applicable city, county, state, and federal laws.
Thanks for visiting BIKERS USA and proving a biker site can be biker-family oriented and still be popular! Please visit again soon !