OT: Proposed Motorcycle Law

State Rep. Carlos Lopez-Cantera has proposed a new law that would up the ante for those who endanger their own lives by riding motorcycles a bit too rambunctiously. HB 137 proposes, inter alia:

When a law enforcement officer charges [a motorcyclist] with reckless driving or exceeding the speed limit by 30 miles per hour or more the officer shall arrest the person, take him or her into custody, and seize the motorcycle, which shall be subject to forfeiture under the Florida Contraband Forfeiture Act. (source – citations omitted)

I see irresponsible motorcyclists fly past me every day — and I don’t exactly obey the speed limits myself. Nevertheless, this seems quite heavy-handed. If some kid on a Hayabusa wants to go 125 mph on I-95, and the inherent consequences are not enough of a deterrent, I fail to see how this is going to change anything. I do find forfeiture of private property to be an increasingly draconian tactic used (misused) by law enforcement all too frequently.

19 year old kids doing 95 on a motorcycle are not what scares me about Florid-duh’s roads — it is the 95 year olds doing 40 mph that are the true threats to safety here. Unfortunately, the 19 year olds don’t vote, and the 95 year olds have nothing else to do but vote and drive at 45 mph in the left hand lane of the highway.

9 Responses to OT: Proposed Motorcycle Law

  1. Currently, it seems HB 137 has been drafted in a way that would affect
    all motorcycle riders. I feel that the poor actions of a few riders
    should not punish all riders. Subsequently, I am currently working on
    language that will amend the bill to clearly address the problem of
    motorcycle stunt riding on public roads. The amendment will clearly
    define what is considered stunt riding and require a motorcycle rider to
    maintain two wheels on the ground at all times. The speeding focuses of
    the bill will not stand alone but will rather be in conjunction with
    stunt driving. Therefore, none of the penalties would apply unless the driver of the motorcycle is guilty of the above infractions.
    thank you for this Blog
    Carlos Lopez-Cantera

  2. […] Motorcycle law is not something I usually comment on, but when I read about HB 137, proposed legislation that called for mandatory arrest of the driver, and seizure of the motorcycle for any speeding infractions of 30 mph over the speed limit, I had to say something. Click here for my initial post. […]

  3. Jared says:

    Hey,

    do you know of any similar laws being enacted in other states? I live in Maryland and ride frequently. Though I usually keep two wheels on the ground when I get a very open road–usually Route 50, when there are very few cars on the road–I like to go over 100.

    ~Jared

  4. bonerman says:

    This bonehead cantera will kill more kids with this law than he could possibly imagine.O.K let me pull over and hand you my bike, and my license for 10 years and while we’re at it you can throww those cuffs on me and take me to jail…….let me think about it………..survey says ………………………see ya copper you aint gonna catch me!

  5. Jay S says:

    Rep. Lopez-Cantera,

    I am glad to see you decided to narrow the focus of this law, but in any form, it remains discriminatory toward one class of motorist. My concern is not to protect the crotch-rocketeer doing 160 on I-95 from punishment, But to protect all of us from those officers (and they are out there) who have it in for bike riders.

    I understand the bill has been deferred. I urge you to either broaden it to all drivers or drop it. You have shone a spotlight on the issue and stirred public discussion. and that’s sufficient for now.

  6. Gary Hartshorne says:

    I have been riding motorcycles since 1983 and I have been a law enforcement officer for over 15 years. I have been in several accidents while riding my motorcycles and I have worked several motorcycle accidents as a police officer. I’ve attended several riding classes, to include police motorcycle riding school and I feel I have a good basis to form my opinions.
    Let’s not kid ourselves about this proposed bill. In my opinion it will only serve to up the ante. As a police officer it has been my experience that the person with nothing to loose puts up the biggest fights. A person speeding on a motorcycle is more likely to run from the police, go faster and put more lives in danger if they are going to loose everything. As is motorcycles are difficult to stop or even catch up with. Upping the penalties is not the answer.
    If this bill passes it will due more to encourage people to run from the police and will not deter speeding. In the process it will open up liability to police agencies who engage in pursuits to try to apprehend these suspects who decide to run. I ask you, the lawmakers who propose this legislation, if you were speeding and knew if you pulled over you would loose your freedom, machine and money; would you pull over? Let’s say you decided not to pull over and ran, if you got caught, as the law is now you loose your freedom, machine and money. So what do you have to loose? Nothing! What is keeping you from running? Nothing! By passing this bill you will be putting Officer’s lives in danger as well as innocent citizens and opening up agencies up for liability.
    It has been my experience that drugs, alcohol, lack of skill or a lack of respect for the machine they are riding are the main contributing causes in motorcycle accidents.
    Law makers efforts would be better suited if they past legislation that would mandate motor cycle riders attend motorcycle riding classes which offer more then the basic motorcycle rider courses. I would look at the motorcycle license laws in Germany for example. I was stationed over there for 4 years and rode a motorcycle the whole time. They require that a subject ride smaller bikes (like 50cc) for a period of time before being able to progress to a larger bike. Then they were only able to get an intermediate size bike (up to 600cc) and they had to ride it for a specified period of time before moving to an unlimited class motorcycle license. There were also required classes to attend and tests to pass before being able to move up a class.
    I think if speeding motorcycles is such a threat or menace to society that new legislation has to be put in place different class motorcycle licenses and education would be the sensible way to go.
    On another issue the law makers should put an emphasis on restricting state’s attorneys’ abilities to plea bargain cases out. We make the effort to collect evidence, locate the suspect and obtain post Miranda confessions only to have people like armed burglars (10 year sentence: you know 10-20-life???) get plead out to 2 years and drug rehab program.
    You, the law makers, should focus on putting and keeping criminals in jail for the length of the imposed sentence and not trying to make infractions into criminal acts.

  7. Jeff Diamond says:

    “It has been my experience that drugs, alcohol, lack of skill or a lack of respect for the machine they are riding are the main contributing causes in motorcycle accidents.”

    The officer speaks the truth; and I’m glad to read that the representative is actually working to refine HB137 to make it a quality law (if indeed it ever becomes a law). If only we had legislators like Carlos Lopez-Cantera here in California –instead of the big ego incompetents we *do* have. Another poster is also correct; broaden this law to all road users –drivers included.

    I further suggest that the Florida legislator do research into any redundancy in his proposed law. I believe that the term “reckless driving” also exists in a number of other such laws that may also indicate seizure of the vehicle and license suspension.

    There is nothing worse in state government than redundant laws. They create a fault-laden foundation upon which other bad decisions can then be made. Don’t make the same mistakes our lawmakers are making here in California.

    Due diligence, sir.

  8. Doug says:

    This law is totally unfair and biased!! Since when do they revoke a car drivers license when they exceed the posted speed limit by 30 Mph? That’s right they do not!!! This means someone on a motorcycle could loose his license for going as slow as 45 Mph in a 15 Mph zone!!! This is just plain rediculous!!! I don’t condone speeding but this law is an incredible over reaction written by a representative that went on a ride along and saw some idiot speeding bikers and now wants to catagorize and punish all of the rest of us law abiding riders that every once in a while might exceed the posted speed limits accidentally or otherwise!!!

  9. Doug says:

    NOW THE PENALTY FOR SPEEDING ON A MOTORCYCLE IS HEAVIER THAN KILLING A BIKER!!! THIS IS AN OUTRAGE!!!!

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