The California Motorcycle Laws, Cases and Info:
West Hollywood Helmet Ticket Moratorium - I got cited for a beanie ticket some time ago (1997) by Dep. Porche, which was dismissed in Beverly Hills court. I sent a complaint to then Sherriff Sherman Block, which resulted in Indexed Briefing 96-2.
Interestingly, I received another ticket from Porche in just about the same street location shortly after, which resulted in a sit down meeting with West Hollywood Sherriff Odenthal, which resulting in his famous area-wide Helmet Ticket Moratorium Watch-Brief as long as it appeared the rider was making some attempt to obey the law.
The Moratorium was *very* important because Sherrif Odenthal realized that by issuing it, he was taking the burden of whether a helmet was in compliance with the law off of the rider/consumer as it should. Per the law, helmet compliance with FMVSS218 is the responsibility of the manufacturer ONLY, but in the early days of the CA helmet law ('92) being pulled over and having a cop "determine" your helmet was non-compliant was in fact sticking it to the rider to know whether his/her lid was compliant, which as was later determined in Buhl vs. Hannigan, was "absurd."
And as we've pointed out before, the idea of a cop making a roadside eyeball determination with or without a DOT sticker, was putting the officer in the position of making an on the spot determination of compliance when FMVSS218 clearly requires the helmet manufacturer to certify compliance or if a 3rd party (e.g. officer, court, etc.) they use an independent laboratory under very specific conditions.
Since most states use FMVSS218 as the basis of their helmet law, it has always been my position that a roadside stop (or anywhere other than in an indy lab using 4 identical helmets) resulting in a non-compliance determination by a cop is illegal since doing so violates FMVSS218 test procedures, which since the basis of the helmet law is thus a violation of that law. Interesting conundrum.
If I ever get another non-compliance ticket, knowing what I do now, I'd file charges against the citing officer for violating FMVSS218 (and the helmet law) in the process of writing the nonb-compliance helmet ticket for the helmet law he/she is trying to enforce. Then I would sue the enforcement agency and state to comply with the law, which would force cops and courts to only using FMVSS218 testing procedures to make compliance determinations, which would render all non-compliance helmet ticketing writing illegal and unenforceable. For more info, read FMVSS218 on testing.
Other than that, I haven't heard of any tickets following the Moratorium years ago and while we haven't been successful in overturning the law in California, most cops seem to know what's going on and seem to have taken the position similar to the spirit of the 1997 West Hollywood Moratorium: if the biker has something reasonable on their head, leave them alone. More...
Quig's Quest - Richard Quigley is definitely up to something. The only serious polictial movement in this state is Quig's mostly single handed continuing grass roots legal efforts. The local Court's recent written opinon offers very disturbing insight and evidence how a court system can try to maintain status quo at any cost. Even against the very laws and freedoms it is charged to protect. Even though this is a California effort, there are many important, creative and forward thinking concepts that you may find useful in your state.
California - Richard Quigley has received a number of helmet tickets which were deemed either non-compliant, which he as finally found a judge that will listen to argument that among other things, since FMVSS 218 clearly specifies that testing to prove compliance must take place in an independent lab, the concept of a cop doing a roadside evaluation violates the helmet statue which specifies how testing must be done.
Further, the DA and cops have stated that "legal" helmets much have a chin strap, but FMVSS 218 never mentions "chin" or "strap." It does address a "retention system," but neither a cop or court can interpret this to mean: "no strap, not a legal helmet.
Basically, what his argument along with others, testing the language of the law along with the inability of the law to be enforced state wide uniformly. If a law cannot be uniformly enforced, it can be struck down through the courts. Quig artfully used the law to fight the law and the judge has been very open to listen to all of Quig's testimony. Further, since 2 of the tickets are from CHP, it is Quig's argument that this violates the Federal Injunction.
At one point, he even asked Quig, "how is it that after all this time, how is it that this law is still not clear." Which seems to be a nod toward our side. Given all this the main argument for the authorities and court is still... technically... "What's a Helmet."
Exhaust Pipe Noise Tickets - Fiction vs. Reality. In California, unlike speeding tickets where the cops have radar detectors that must be calibrated with proof read into the record of every speeding ticket taken to court, the equipment used to determine exhaust pipes excess noise are the cops ears, which by the CHP's own admission is subjective. Subjective enforcement of a law is by nature is arbitrary, inconsistent and against the law. Here are some facts and letters I used to fight my ticket.
Bike Registrations 1991-99. Or.. how the helmet law is effective in reducing accidents.
California - 10/28 - ABATE of California teams up with Richard Quigley in his helmet law court challenges in Santa Cruz. Lead attorney Skip Raring (Easyriders case) along with co-attorney Mark Schwartz will represent the co-plaintiffs. A suit for declaratory relief is in preparation against the State of California for failing to maintain helmet ticket's as correctable ("Fix-it") as per State Vehicle Code. Overview...
California - Helmet tickets and most recently exhaust systems and tinted windows tickets have been changed to "Non-Correctable" equipment violations by the California Judicial Council (CJC) through misuse of the "Bail and Pentalies Schedule." More...
California - 10/4/00 - AB 1515, CA's "Veterans License Plates for Motorcycles" has been signed into law by Governor Davis and is now titled Chapter 859. Full text at State site.
California Motorcycle Safety Program - This CHP effectiveness study properly credits the dramatic drop in bike accidents (67% overall, 88% for 18 and under) and deaths to the CMSP where it belongs. This is just one of the reasons why helmet laws suck.
No List? No Law! - by Tony "Pan" Sanfelipo.
Is the Calif Helmet Law a Farce? - find out...
California - 8 years with the helmet law. BRO! reviews local repeal efforts.
Limp Dick - Calif - Dick "Flaccid" Floyd was beaten by stiff competition in the California Democratic Primary election. Ed Vincent, heavily supported by AMA and ABATE, won by a wide margin. Dick takes it in the shorts once again as he leaves the CA State Legislature for the 2nd time. Wilt...
Institutionalized Bigotry -In the Federal Injunction, the US District Court of San Diego ordered the CHP to provide a list of all agencies they had "trained" under CHP Bulletin 34. We just obtained this list directly from the US District Court, although it was serviced back on June 9, 1995. We found an incredible 412 agencies listed throughout the state! Nice secret, huh...
Glendale, California - Advertising it's biker bigotry!
Where are our signs? - A hell of a lot more bikes get hit by cars than do horses
What you should know about helmets, the California Helmet Law and the statistics...
California Officials To Ban Two-Strokers! - nibble, nibble, nibble. Orange vests are closer than you think...
Making Local Law Enforcement Obey The Law - Laws are to be obeyed by ALL. Similar to the CHP's Bulletin 71, here are 2 documents: 1) The L.A. Sheriff's "Indexed Briefing 96-2" and 2) West Hollywood Sheriff's Station "Watch Brief" briefing deputies not to ticket bikers wearing any reasonable helmet.
SB1197 Helmet Law Repeal - 2/26/99 - A bill to repeal the California Helmet Law entirely introduced by Author Senator Bill Morrow Feb 26, 1999. This is not a modification bill. Principal coauthors: Assembly members Brett Granlund (R) and Rico Oller (R), Dennis Cardoza (D) and Denise Ducheny (D).
SB 1197, as introduced, Morrow. Motorcycles: helmets. Under existing law, it is unlawful for any person to operate a motorcycle, motor-driven cycle, or motorized bicycle if the driver or any passenger is not wearing a safety helmet. Existing law also makes it unlawful to ride as a passenger on a motorcycle if the driver or any passenger is not wearing a safety helmet. This bill would repeal these provisions. Vote: majority. Appropriation: no. Fiscal committee: yes. State-mandated local program: no.
The CARB Reviewing Bike Emmisions - California still has the worst levels of smog in the nation. California Air Resource Board has identified on-road motorcycles as one of a number of potential smog sources, which it says can be reduced cost-effectively because the existing regulation for bikes reflects 15 - 20 years old technologies. The CARB is looking at adapting newer car technologies to reduce motorcycle emissions.
Kevin Dimmick - Wins Federal Court fight to get 'HIV POS' on his bike license plate.
1998 California Election Results - According to the Secretary of State there are now 15 Republicans and 25 Democrats in the State Senate and 32 Republicans and 48 Democrats in the Assembly.
California Outlaws Email Spam - Miller and Bowen introduce anti-spam bills.
Richard Katz is Toast - 7/17/98 Today Richard Katz called off the recount of the 20th SD Primary election in Glendale California, conceding the election to biker friendly Richard Alarcon. After two days of counting, which must be paid for in cash daily. Katz actually lost ground falling an extra 5 votes behind. Never one to go quietly, Katz vowed to continue his lawsuit asking the courts to overturn the election. Katz said he felt his chances of winning in court were good---he also predicted a comet would probably strike Sacramento sometime before the end of the year. Perhaps, but it won't be Katz as he burnt up before re-entry! Good riddence!
AB-1412 - 1/30/98 - ABATE's 18 and under helmet modification bill passed the State Assembly, but with an insurance amendment on 1/30/98. [Original text]. The controversial bill went on to the State Senate, but was thankfully killed just hours prior to going to the Senate Transportation Committee by the ABATE PAC on 6/18/98.
Red's Original Bonehead Helmet - Extra, Extra... Read all about it!
Tap Biker Phones! - "Paranoia runs deep. Into your life it will creep..."
A Blow Against Bureaucracy - Excellent article on self determination
STOP NHTSA! - California has 5 represenatives (or 10%) on the House Sub-Committee investigating whether to ban NHTSA from lobbying. Here are the California representatives on the sub-committee that we need to contact and express our views...
AB-309 Fails Assembly - Vote 31/39 (6/3/97)
AB-483 - Author: Dick Floyd. Existing law makes it an infraction to sell any helmet which doesn't meet federal safety standards. This bill would make such sale a misdemeanor. Bill failed 5/27/97 (27 Ayes - 39 Noes).
California's Assembly Bill 3056 - that would halt prohibition of street-licensed motorcycles in Community Interest Developments (like 17 Mile Drive in Big Sur) has passed the Assembly, Senate Committee and is on it's way to the Senate Floor and then Pete Wilson. We need your help!
California State Senate Transportation Committee - Full Transcripts on AB-244 hearing from May 7th, 1996.
AbatePac on AB-244 - with commentary
AB299 - Ducheny