Local bikers protest checkpoint - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

Local bikers protest checkpoint

Posted: Updated:

By Tim Guidera - bio | email 

SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) – The state asked bikers to pull off the road Wednesday and they did in unison, less in compliance with than objection to the mandatory checkpoint for all motorcycles traveling south on I-95 in Chatham County.

"It's a waste of time and a waste of taxpayer's money,'' said Don Hodges, president of the Sons of Liberty Riders, a local biker group that showed its displeasure with the checkpoint. "We just feel it's a violation of our rights.''

The Department of Public Safety set up the safety check, it said, to ensure motorcycles were properly licensed and their bikes were in proper working condition.

But to the dozen bikers pulling into the Chatham County weigh station together and in protest, it was a case of discrimination and harassment. And it was a cause to rally around.

"What we're hoping to accomplish is raise people's awareness of their rights being eroded,'' said Todd Odom, Chapter 1 captain of the Sons of Liberty Riders. "We've been singled out because our mode of transportation has two wheels, nothing else, no probably cause.''

"Yeah, it's a protest,'' added Norman Ward, of ABATE, American Bikers Active Toward Education. "We just want to be treated like everybody else. If they want to pull automobiles in here, I have no problem with that.''

The bikers, while going along with the safety check in an orderly fashion, also challenged its validity and its funding through a federal grant.

"These things on their list are completely arbitrary to motorcycle safety,'' Odom said of the checks for properly working headlights, taillights and direction signals. "If you want to make motorcycles safer, educate soccer moms in their white mini-vans on their cell phones.''

"Behind us now are 17 police cars and 19 police officers down here,'' added Hodges. "So we figure that's about $10,000 of pay roll just in these few hours.''

State troopers conducting the checks said the local protest was the only negative response they witnessed.

And reaction from out-of-town bikers was more mixed.

"It's a great idea,'' said Larry Overby, of Irwin, N.C. "I think it's super. I'm glad to see them doing it. If you haven't done anything wrong, you don't have anything to worry about.''

Michael Tribble, of Columbia, S.C, was equally surprised, but did not share Overby's opinion.

"I don't understand this at all. This is absolutely ridiculous,'' said Tribble. "I mean is this not the United States of America when you can have a motorcycle and ride down the road? Is that not profiling?''

According to the DPS, the intention was not to single out bikers, but to make the roads safe for everyone.

"We're actually protecting them as much as anything,'' said Senior Trooper Andy Sinquefield, of the Georgia State Patrol. "We're making sure they're compliant, but at the same time, it's making the motorists around them more aware by seeing them in here that motorcycles are on the road.''

Copyright 2011 WTOC. All rights reserved.

Powered by WorldNow