New York Freedom Riders
March 24, 2010

New York Freedom Riders Uncovers the Truth about State Law Enforcement
Agencies So called Compliant Helmets

New York State law enforcement has been conducting motorcycle only
checkpoints during major motorcycle events for several years and they
will be increasing statewide enforcement initiatives in 2010. New York
State Police have claimed that with the rise in motorcycle fatalities,
these motorcycle only checkpoints are to increase motorcycle safety by
insuring compliance with applicable Vehicle and Traffic Laws and one of
the primary focuses was to check that riders were wearing legal
USDOT-compliant helmets. In 2009 the State Police held 33 motorcycle
only checkpoints. A total of 24,030 motorcycles were checked resulting
in a mere 840 tickets issued for what they feel were illegal helmets.
The New York Freedom Riders was unable to locate the number of helmets
checked during these checkpoints. [1]

The NYS Sheriffs' Association and the NYS Association of Chiefs of
Police are holding free training sessions this year titled "Practical
Guidelines for Motorcycle Enforcement" for law enforcement with support
from the Governor's Traffic Safety Committee, the DMV Motorcycle Safety
Program, MAGLOCLEN, and the United States Attorney's Office (WDNY). The
training sessions include identifying compliant helmets, mufflers, and
handlebar height. [2]

New York Freedom Riders has also received notice that law enforcement
officers have been pulling over motorcyclists because they were not
wearing DOT compliant helmets even though NHTSA has said that a
motorcycle helmet does not have to have a DOT sticker after purchase.
[3] Unsure what list New York State law enforcement has been using to
know which helmets were DOT compliant, NYFR decided to contact them and
ask. Under the Freedom of Information law, a letter was sent to the New
York State Police, local police departments and Sheriffs Offices
requesting answers to the following questions:

1. Any recall notices possessed by the Police Department/Sheriff's
Office on any motorcycle helmets.
2. Any laboratory tests results for motorcycle helmets which the Police
Department/Sheriff's Office has on file.
3. Any NHTSA formal certifications of non-compliance of motorcycle
helmets possessed by the Police Department/Sheriff's Office.

Currently, the New York Freedom Riders has received over 30 responses,
including the New York State Police. All responses stated that they do
not have any recall notices; they have not done any tests on motorcycle
helmets nor have any NHTSA certification of non-compliant helmets. The
responses can be viewed on our website at:

If the New York State Police, local police departments, and sheriff's
offices do not know which helmets are DOT compliant, then they do not
have the right to pull over any motorcyclist or issue tickets for
non-compliant helmets at checkpoints. This constant harassment of
motorcyclists is being accepted in the name of safety but law
enforcement agencies don't know which helmets are compliant and "safe".
Also, if you are pulled over and told that it was for not having a DOT
sticker on your helmet then the stop was illegal. They do not have
"Probable Cause". This practice of insuring our safety through the use
of compliant motorcycle helmets should cease immediately and we would
encourage everyone to fight these helmet tickets and use the responses
we received in court.

We would like to remind you to review NYFR's "Motorcycle Checkpoints and
Your Rights" at

If you would like us to contact your local police department or have any
questions, please contact us at:

New York Freedom Riders
Riders Against Constitutional Erosion
"Freedom Is NOT A Spectator Sport"

1- New York State 2009 Highway Safety Annual Report:
2- Motorcycle Enforcement Training - Practical Guidelines for Motorcycle
3 - Letter to Mr. William Gannon II from NHTSA Regarding DOT Stickers on
Motorcycle Helmets PDFs/NHTSA on DOT stick