Arizona Motorcycle Profiling & You
In early March 2016, a chapter of the Arizona Hell’s Angels rented out a movie theater in Tempe to celebrate their 68th anniversary. It was Saturday afternoon and the marquee film was Hell’s Angels Forever, a 1983 documentary that chronicled the history of the club. Roughly 100 people attended the screening at Pollack Tempe Cinemas. The screening went on at exactly noon, ran its allotted time, and as a statement by the group explained: “Not only were there no issues or incidents at the first screening, there has never been a problem at any H-A event in the state of Arizona.”
But despite the Arizona Hell’s Angels’ seemingly spotless record and relatively harmless intentions, the entire neighborhood, as well as the Tempe PD, was on high alert. Police patrols were doubled for the area and nearby business owners were put on high alert. In the end nothing happened, yet an entire community was on edge. Why? What is it about a group of individuals on bikes that can send parents scrambling for their children and police departments reinforcing their traffic divisions?
This fear stems from an image issue. Since the end of World War II, when young veterans came home and began riding around in packs, there has been a clear divide amongst motorcycle enthusiasts. There are those that prefer gathering together, enjoying a day on the road and attending the occasional movie, cookout or charity ride. Then there are those who choose to commit crimes and act as roving gangs. It is the latter group that has been burned into the popular unconscious by movies such as The Wild One and the frightening documentary Gimme Shelter. Because of this popular image, all motorcyclists have been branded to some degree – even those who have done nothing wrong.
There have been numerous attempts to combat motorcycle profiling in the state of Arizona. Bills have been proposed and measures have been considered. But, the fact is police officers, and the public at large, still have that “easy rider” view of most motorcycle enthusiasts. Which means if you are involved in an accident while riding, you could face an uphill battle proving your case.
To ensure your rights are preserved, be sure to contact the Phoenix motorcycle injury attorneys at the Breyer Law Office, P.C. You can reach us at (602) 267-1280.
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Confidentially reviewed by Attorney Mark Breyer