BATON ROUGE, LA – Riders ticketed for wearing helmets? Odd as it sounds, there’s a bill currently in the state legislature in Louisiana aimed at stopping police officers from ticketing motorcyclists for wearing helmets when operating their machines. The bill, authored by Rep. Alan Seabaugh (R-Shreveport), would exempt riders from the state’s prohibition on wearing masks in public.
According to “The Times-Pacayune” newspaper, Seabaugh’s bill “arose out of complaints from motorcyclists in his district who say they’ve been harassed by ‘overzealous law enforcement officers.’ Those bikers, Seabaugh said, said they have been pulled over and ticketed under the mask-wearing law because, they said, they were wearing helmets that concealed their faces.”
State law in Louisiana bars anyone from concealing their face with a mask or hood, except during Mardi Gas, Halloween or for religious reasons.
The newspaper reported Wednesday that “Cecil Crawford, a member of the advocacy group American Bikers Active Towards Education, said one officer in particular had been targeting bikers. He did not know the officer’s name, but claimed the officer had been stopping motorcyclists ‘at random’ and ticketing them for having the helmet’s visor pulled down – even though state law requires the visors.”
Members of the legislature’s Committee on Administration of Criminal Justice unanimously agreed that the existing law banning masks needed a tweak, and recommended that the full House approve it. The newspaper’s story is posted here.