~Since 2004~
A site about memories, thoughts, photos, and unrepentant opinions about motorcycles and motorcycling after four decades of twisting the throttle.

Sunday, June 01, 2008

NY State Police Harass Americade Attendees

Looks like the NY State Police have taken some cues from their brethren in down in Tennessee regarding heavy handed enforcement directed against motorcyclists:

Take a look at this posting on TheNewspaper.com (a road users news blog I check every day and you should too): Roadblock Targets Motorcycle Gathering

I'm going to go out on a limb here and guess that the Lake George businesses are not going to be real happy about the effect on tourism this year and next. I'm thinking they would rather have people show up at the rally happy and ready to spend money rather than ticked off and their wallet pre-lightened by an harassment fine courtesy of the State of NY.

In the original source article at timesunion.com they mention "At the Lake George event that starts Monday, troopers will set up a motorcycle education and awareness station."
How would you like to be working that booth when a whole bunch of ticketed and ticked off rally attendees finally show up? A bit late for a PR effort, Sheriff. Americade isn't Sturgis and the NY State Police may have just stepped on their own baton.

It seems these days more and more "safety" and "enforcement" are merely code words for raising revenue for various government needs. The other problem, dear reader, is that NY State Police targeted riders in groups and without specific cause for inspections and searches, not merely pulled over people who were obviously committing a violation. Brings to mind the old line from the WWII era films where the border guard announces with a strong accent "Your paperz are not in order!"


Lucky said...

Frustrating? Hell yeah! But I feel that The Newspaper may be downplaying the severity of some charges. Illegal exhausts are a given, since most aftermarket straitpipes don't have DOT certification. But they're so commonplace that I hardly find that a reason for setting up a roadblock. Same goes for the non-DOT beanie helmet citations. But, as a motorcyclist, I'd hardly consider riding without a motorcycle endorsement a "most minor of violations"!

I guess only time will tell what kind of effect this will have in the long run on Americade attendance. I can only speak for myself, but if I'd been "targeted" in this way by local police authorities, I'd probably think twice before going back.


Crusty said...

Welcome to the Peoples Repobilc Of NY. This is a trend that happening all across this country. As the economy tanks, States are forced to generate money. Of course they push the envelope and infringe on our rights and freedom. I posed something about this issue here in MA a while back. Come October the anual inspections are going to get stricter and more expensive. Motorcyclists look like tempting targets. We are disorganized, and own expensive toys. This makes us ripe for the picking! Thanks for the post Doug. People here on the East coast should be made aware that if your riding up to Americade you better pring extra cash! -Crusty

Stephen said...

I have experienced this first hand. 20 years ago I used to live and ride in Saratoga (Straddles the Northway, and is south of Glens Falls). Road blocks in N.Y. are very common and indeed do seem very Gestapo like. They usually set-up the road block in a blind section of two lane highway with the troopers standing in the centerline, ready to "Check your papers" or anything else that might be eskew. On the shoulders facing both directions, were two Troopers in their cars ready to pull over anyone who tried to turn around.

My Father used to take great joy making these U-turns only to get pulled over and give the troopers a lame excuse as to why he turned around, "I forgot to get eggs." was one that I recall off hand. Needless to say, we resented the roadblocks and their tactics. I was fortunate that my papers were always in order. Living out here in the Northwest, I had completely forgotten about them. It's a shame.

Joe said...

I too saw the link at The Newspaper and blogged about the injustice. I don't recall the 4th Amendment being recalled. We've allowed the slow erosion of our rights, first it was the DUI checkpoint, then the license and registration check, then the child seat check. It all adds up to searching people without probable cause or due process. How sad and infuriating.

Anonymous said...

I got a ticket in town for a beanie helmet. All my papers were in order I just choose to wear a lighter helmet around town. I did wear a DOT approved up the Northway though. But $135 later.... I won't be back next year!!!!

Anonymous said...

Laws are written for a reason.
The law says you have to wear a DOT approved helmet and have a legal exhaust, have regisration papers and insurance. This is NO surprise to anyone that rides, lets not pretend it is. If you choose to ride without satisying the above, then don't whine if you get a ticket. If you don't like it, stay home.

We may ride, but lets face it, the majority of the public does not.
They could care less about us.
The only time they do care is when one of us is riding drunk or blasting though their neighborhoods with a 120db exhaust.

As far as helmets are concerned, I wear a snell-rated full face. I have no problem letting people wear no helmets or beanies on one condition: If you choose to do that, you agree to forfeit ANY insurance claim for a motorcycle head injury. I shouldn't have my rates go up for knuckleheads that can't understand simple physics.

BTW, the 4th admendment has NOTHING to do with this. Driving/riding in NYS is a privilege, NOT a right. You agree to abide the DMV laws when you sign your license app.

Anonymous said...

[quote]Laws are written for a reason.[/quote]

The constitution was written for a reason as well, and specifically the fourth amendment that protects us from illegal search and siezure.

Any roadblock, is illegal search and siezure. It's basically saying, everyone traveling down this road has done something illegal, and must be treated as such.

[quote]BTW, the 4th admendment has NOTHING to do with this. Driving/riding in NYS is a privilege, NOT a right.[/quote]

This mentality will have a checkpoint on every road out of every city "checking papers" faster than you can say sieg heil.

I live in upstate ny. Roadblocks have been getting worse and worse.

Last week there were two within a mile radius of each other, one setup in either direction you can go getting off I-87. And more waiting on side roads if you tried to get around it.

If this doesn't make you feel like you're living in a fascist country I'm not sure that anything would.

Anonymous said...

Troopers post propoganda on these forums about how if you're doing nothing wrong you have nothing to worry about. That's what Gestapo agents told Jews. Anyone who drives has become a target for the new Gestapo -- the NYSP.

Anonymous said...

For years a group of 20 would ride from New Hampshire to americade for the weekend, collectively we would spend upwards for 20,000. We were caught in a road block several years ago, our only crime was the mode of transportation we chose. The tickets we got totaled about 500.00. After being searched and harassed we were let go. Instead of going to lake George, we opted to go home. New York state traded 20k year for 500.00. Congrats, none of us have been back. As near as I can figure, that's over 125k in revenue that was forfeited with that stunt. I won't even get into the number of People I've talked out of going there. Thanks New York, you've saved me a ton of money I'll spend in New Hampshire

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