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Cali helmet law may be voided!!!

Discussion in 'Moto Club' started by fnfalman, Aug 17, 2006.

  1. fnfalman

    fnfalman Chicks Dig It

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    Rejoice, freedom lovers!!!

    http://www.santacruzsentinel.com/archive/2006/August/17/local/stories/04local.htm

    Judge rules helmet law is "unconstitutional" and "vague"
    By TOM RAGAN
    SENTINEL STAFF WRITER
    WATSONVILLE — It looks like Richard Quigley's legal home-schooling, not to mention the hundreds of hours of community service he's spent at the Santa Cruz Law Library, have paid dividends.

    A Santa Cruz County Superior Court judge ruled Wednesday that at least a dozen citations leveled against Quigley for not wearing a motorcycle helmet are unconstitutional because the California Highway Patrol has failed to properly define what constitutes a safe motorcycle helmet.

    In his seven-page ruling, Judge Michael Barton sided with Quigley, 61, of Aptos, whose argument in numerous court appearances over the years is that his soft leather baseball cap is just as much a helmet as the so-called standard hard-shelled helmets worn by most motorcycle riders.

    The California Highway Patrol must define what a helmet is or any citations written by officers are unconstitutional, Barton ruled.

    The interpretation of what constitutes a helmet, the judge wrote, is unfairly left up to the CHP officer's "subjective opinion," and the set of guidelines and safety standards are "vague."

    Quigley, who's been fighting the helmet law for 15 years, since it first went into effect, was elated at the judge's detailed clarification of a ruling last month.

    "I finally feel a sense of victory," said Quigley, who's received dozens of citations for wearing a baseball cap as a helmet for more than a decade. "The point in all this is that the CHP doesn't have any idea what a helmet is, and until they figure it out, they shouldn't be issuing tickets."

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    In July, Barton sided with Quigley and dismissed nine helmet citations against him on the premise the law was too vague. Wednesday, he dismissed the final two citations against Quigley, ruling that "The CHP is the only state agency authorized by the statutes to adopt reasonable regulations establishing specifications and standards for motorcycle safety helmets. The CHP's failure to adopt such regulations, and make them available to the public, has rendered the helmet law statutes void for vagueness as applied."

    The judge's order and its implications caught the California Highway Patrol off guard, and the agency's general counsel was seeking legal advice late Wednesday, said Tom Marshall, a spokesman for the CHP.

    "We're going to review the decision to determine what, if any actions, we will take," said Marshall.

    Closer to home, the California Highway Patrol office in Aptos was waiting on a decision from Sacramento.

    "It's going to be interesting to see what happens from here," Quigley said, adding, "If I were a cop, I wouldn't be writing any more tickets. They might get sued if it's unconstitutional."

    Since the motorcycle law went into effect, Quigley said he has never paid any fines as a result of a citation. Instead, he said, he has served hours of community work at the Santa Cruz Law Library.

    Contact Tom Ragan at tragan@santacruzsentinel.com.
     
  2. fnfalman

    fnfalman Chicks Dig It

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    I will be in full gear as I always have been. But a strike against nanny law is a bell rung for freedom.

    Adult Americans should have the right to choose what's best for their bodies as long as it doesn't affect others. If you wanna ride with a Harley bandana on or a Corona T-shirt, then by God, you should be able to.
     

  3. MStarmer

    MStarmer In Jail...

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    As long as I can still ride in my flip flops! :supergrin:
     
  4. freakshow10mm

    freakshow10mm 10mm Advocate

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    I am pro choice on everything. I think adults (16+) shoud be able to choose if they want to wear a helmet. SIXTEEN?!? you say? Why not? Society trusts them to maturely handle a 3K pound weapon at 70mph. Why not let them make a mature choice on whether to wear a helmet or not?

    I choose to wear gear all the time. I do not force it upon others. We have a helmet law here in MI. I think it should be pro choice like my home state (WI), but I will always wear a helmet regardless if it is mandated by the state or not.