Motorcyclists get a bad rap. No matter what the statistics say, some people still adhere to the idea that the average rider is a speed demon, reckless beyond belief and probably involved with alcohol or drugs.
You know the biases run deep, but do you know what to do if you’re stopped by the police? Here are some practical tips you can use:
The worst thing you can do is try to fly off and evade the traffic stop. The police have even been known to engage in multi-agency “crackdowns” that target motorcyclists who are speeding, and they use aerial support to track those who try to run.
Turn off your bike. Keep your hands in plain sight. You may want to flip the visor up on your helmet, but think twice about taking it off (because the officer could mistakenly believe that you’re about to throw it). Turn your hazard lights on, if you have them.
You do not need to answer questions about where you came from, where you were going or why you thought you might have been pulled over (and you shouldn’t). You do need to give the police your identification, insurance card and registration. Wait until you’re directed to reach for those things, however, and tell the officer where you’re getting them from before you start. Again, this is to make sure that the officer doesn’t think you’re going for a weapon.
Will any of this prevent you from getting a ticket? Probably not. You could be let off with a warning, but you may end up with a traffic citation for a loud exhaust, a broken light, excessive speed or something else. If that happens, put your trust in an experienced attorney instead.