May 14, 2008
As of October 1st, anyone caught doing 30mph over the speed limit in Florida faces vehicle confiscation, five to ten years in prison and a ten-year license suspension. Bill HB 137, which was signed into law earlier today, was originally targeted at motorcyclists, but was amended at the last minute to include all vehicles. The full text of the bill follows the jump.
Originally introduced by State Rep. Carlos Lopez-Cantera, who developed an irrational fear of bikers after he witnessed some pulling wheelies and driving dangerously during a ride-along with Miami police, HB 137 has become known as the Anti-Biker Bill due to its discriminatory nature.
Defending motorcyclists during hearings at the state legislature, a representative of ABATE, a motorcycle lobby group, argued that the motorcycle specific penalties far outweighed those for motorists who violate a rider’s right of way, killing or injuring them.
While the bill was modified to include all vehicles before being passed into law, the anti-motorcycle language remains, specifically that referring to the revocation of a motorcycle endorsement, leading to some confusion. It’s not known if car drivers will face the same license suspension as bike riders.
Jalopnik does not endorse dangerous driving, but its our belief that the best way to make roads safer is through education, not draconian enforcement. After all, isn’t anyone with only a week or less of Driver’s Ed and very little idea of how to control their vehicle in an emergency driving dangerously? [Via Hell For Leather]
Update: It looks like we spoke too soon folks. While this bill has passed committee in the Florida House of Representatives, it hasn’t yet been voted into law. Let’s hope it isn’t.
Florida Bill HB 137, pre all-vehicles amendment:
F L O R I D A H O U S E O F R E P R E S E N T A T I V E S
A bill to be entitled
An act relating to offenses committed while operating a
motorcycle; creating s. 316.1926, F.S.; providing
additional penalties for certain offenses committed by a
person operating or in actual physical control of a motorcycle; requiring that the person be taken into
custody; providing for seizure and forfeiture of the
motorcycle; providing for revocation of the person’s
privilege to operate a motorcycle; providing an effective
Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida:
Section 1. Section 316.1926, Florida Statutes, is created
316.1926 Motorcycle offenses.—
(1) When a law enforcement officer charges a person with
reckless driving in violation of s. 316.192 or exceeding the speed limit by 30 miles per hour or more in violation of s. 316.183(2), s. 316.187, or s. 316.189 while operating or in actual physical control of a motorcycle, the officer shall arrest the person, take him or her into custody, and seize the motorcycle, which shall be subject to forfeiture under the Florida Contraband Forfeiture Act.
(2) Upon conviction, in addition to any other penalty provided by law, the court shall revoke the person’s
authorization and privilege to operate a motorcycle for a period of 10 years and order the person to surrender his or herdriver’s license.
(a) If the person holds a Class A, Class B, or Class C
driver’s license, the department shall issue a replacement
license, valid for the remainder of the person’s unexpired
license period, without the endorsement to operate a motorcycle.
(b) If the person holds a Class E driver’s license that is not restricted to motorcycle operation only, the department shall issue a replacement license, valid for the remainder of the person’s unexpired license period, without the authorization to operate a motorcycle.
(3) Revocation of the privilege to operate a motorcycle under this section shall not prohibit or restrict the issuance or renewal of a driver’s license for purposes other than the operation of a motorcycle.
Section 2. This act shall take effect October 1, 2008.