California Bill Could Have Ended Motorcycle Profiling
In February of this year, a bill was introduced by Assembly Member Anna Caballero (D-Salinas) that would have made it illegal for law enforcement officials to engage in “motorcycle profiling.” The successful passing of this bill likely would have had a significant impact on future California motorcycle accident cases.
Co-authored by Speaker Pro Tempore Kevin Mullin (D-South San Francisco), AB 2972 defined motorcycle profiling as
“using the fact that a person rides a motorcycle or wears motorcycle or motorcycle club-related clothing as a factor, without any individualized suspicion of the particular person, in deciding to stop and question, take enforcement action, arrest, or search a person or vehicle, with or without legal basis under the California Constitution or the United States Constitution.”
Further, “A person who has been subjected to motorcycle profiling in violation of this section has a private right of action to enjoin that action and to seek damages, including punitive damages and reasonable attorney’s fees and court costs, against the peace officer and the employing agency of the peace officer.”
The bill was unfortunately rendered inactive, but it can still be considered progress toward ending discrimination toward bikers. This interests me both as a motorcycle accident lawyer and an avid rider.
Biker Discrimination Awareness
The stereotype of people who own and ride motorcycles is that they are dangerous gang members who drive irresponsibly. The truth is that, at this time, the number one cause of car accidents in America is distracted driving. (When was the last time you saw someone eating chips and talking on a call phone while driving a motorcycle?) The American Motorcyclist Association (AMA) issued this statement, in regard to AB 2972:
“The motorcycling community is a diverse one, and individual riders deserve to be judged on specific action and behaviors, not solely by their chosen mode of transportation.”
In recognition of this fact, the states of Maryland, Washington and New Jersey have enacted anti-profiling legislation. As more bills are proposed across the country, they will at least make law-makers aware of the problem, even if they don’t pass the bill.
Does Anti-Biker Bias Affect Motorcycle Accident Claims?
Absolutely. If you were injured in a motorcycle accident that was caused by someone else’s negligence, you may have to go extra lengths to get the full compensation you deserve.
The default assumption will be that you were at least partially responsible for the accident, especially if speed was involved. It will be crucial to the success of your case to get police reports, including forensics, eyewitness statements, and any other evidence you can possibly obtain to prove you were the victim.
If you were the victim in a motorcycle accident, chances are that your injuries were serious and drastically affected your life. If you complied with California’s motorcycle laws, you’re entitled to compensation.
Why You Need a Motorcycle Accident Lawyer
Penney injury lawyers represented a motorcyclist who was diagnosed with severe traumatic brain injury, bilateral pulmonary contusions, multiple spine fractures, several broken bones, and damage to his spleen and kidneys. He was in a coma for two days and his medical expenses alone exceeded $200,000.
This motorcycle accident was caused by the driver of a car who made an illegal U-turn, without warning, directly into the path of our client’s oncoming motorcycle when it was clearly unsafe to do so. The defense tried to claim that the motorcycle collision was caused by the victim driving at excessive speed; however, physical evidence proved this claim was false. We were able to win a $4.5 million dollar settlement in this motorcycle accident case due to to the severe nature of our client’s injuries. This is just compensation, considering that his life will never be the same, which he would not have received without the help of a personal injury lawyer who has experience in motorcycle accident cases.