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Motorcycle Riders--Watch Your Backs

Okay, we all remember the joke where some unlucky kid in our school was walking around with a sign on his back reading, "Kick Me." In case no one told you, riding a motorcycle is a lot like being that kid, and a lot of police officers have very little tolerance for your rights to ride a bike around town making noise and burning gas. If your colors are "in your face," advertising your membership in the "Satan's Rascally Riders" motorcycle club, your chances of being detained are high.

In other words, YOU ARE A TARGET FOR POLICE OFFICERS if you ride a motorcycle. There is no such thing as safety in numbers, nor does it much matter that you didn't actually touch the lane marker--you stand a better than average chance of getting stopped by law enforcement than your grandfather did in his Buick.

In Reno, we are currently in the midst of the motorcycle festival, Street Vibrations. As a DUI Defense lawyer, I have seen a number of "iffy" stops of motorcycle riders, along with illegal seizures and arrests. If you are detained while riding a motorcycle, expect to be treated with something like disdain. Certain defenses are not available to you if you are on a bike, rather than in a car. If you look like a badass, you will be treated as a badass, and it is quite possible that you could be subjected to unreasonable police conduct, just because the officer doesn't like motorcyclists. If you are stopped, you ARE NOT REQUIRED to perform any of the "stupid human tricks" or field tests that are offered. You ARE REQUIRED to submit to either a breath or blood test if ordered to do so by a law enforcement officer.

Drive carefully, without lane splitting, and be sensible. Don't ride after drinking or indulging in any controlled substances. Have a great time, and if the police try to ruin your day by arresting you, call the office of Walter B. Fey, Attorney at Law.