Cops will be out in force in Napa, California this weekend, according to the Napa Valley Register. And what else is new? Using a motorcycle safety grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety through the National Highway Administration, they'll be specifically targeting motorcyclists. Of course, they claim that this crack-down will be in an effort to reduce motorcycle accidents and injuries.
Supposedly, the "motorcycle enforcement operation" will be aimed at "strictly enforcing traffic violations by motorcyclists." The primary causes of motorcycle-involved crashes include speeding, unsafe turning, alcohol or drug impairment, and inexperience, police said. They have also offered the statistic that in recent years, more than half of all motorcycle fatalities involve unlicensed riders. So they are aimed at curbing these problems.
Of course, it's our experience that what this often means is cops out there on a mission to write tickets for helmets that are not "DOT approved," or for loud pipes. And of course, these cops receive little (if any) training on what constitutes a legal helmet, and usually are not equipped to actually test whether or not your aftermarket exhaust is within spec for California noise ordinances. As a motorcycle accident lawyer, I can't possibly figure out what loud pipes have to do with motorcycle safety. (Other than the fact that loud pipes — along with safe, alert, defensive riding — save lives.)
According to the Napa Valley Register, the extra patrols will take place "in areas frequented by motorcyclists." Personally, if I was riding with aftermarket pipes (which I am), I would avoid Napa altogether this Sunday.