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This BOLTofCA  page was last updated  1/9/2017
If you were wearing a helmet, but a
police officer wrote a helmet ticket
to you anyway, scan and send a
copy of that ticket to the
It is important to realize your helmet
ticket is worth its weight in gold. If
you plan on paying it
or fighting it,
email a copy of the ticket to BOLT of
There is a core group represented here that had vowed to do "whatever it takes" to
protect themselves against bad laws and bad cops. This began BOLT of California.

At this HLDL/BOLT Summit we also hammered out the well known
list of
12 questions for the NHTSA/DOT.
May 1993.    

Later, this jokingly became our salute.
Proceeds from this 3" x 5 1/2" patch go to the costs and fees for the
current legal challenge to help stop the improper enforcement of the
helmet law by the Sacramento Sheriff and the Rancho Cordova PD.  
Quigley is Gone But Not Forgotten.

You may also simply donate any amount to the fund to pay for the fees and costs
of the law suit.  To do this, contact the BOLT of California webmaster, using the
link at the top of this page.
BOLT appreciates the donations and support Freedom minded riders in
California and across the country have provided by contributing to this fund.

Thomas Jefferson said the price of Liberty is eternal vigilance.
This website explains what that vigilance is, and what you can
do to BE

How much of your own freedom are you willing to earn?
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3"  x  10" bumper sicker  - $3.00
As a result of our 2008 legal action against the California Highway Patrol, Quigley v. CHP and our
2006 case that evolved into CHP v. Superior Court, the CHP negotiated a 2009 enforcement policy
change with us.

Management Memorandum  08-071 represents one of three aspects of this negotiated settlement.

The CHP petitioning of the California Judicial Counsel represents the second of the three aspects of
this negotiated settlement.  
This resulted in the change to the
Bail & Penalty schedule. Helmet violations ARE correctable. If a
rider is wearing no helmet at all - it is not considered correctable.

The CHP dropping their demand for additional court costs was the third of three aspects of this
negotiated settlement.

Why did we sue the CHP?
Article by Don Blanscet in 2009

What does this mean for motorcyclists in California?
We don't know the future, but we can give our opinion.  
It is important to note that this policy change is by the CHP and only effects their officers, but it
does, in fact, reflect the changes to the Bail and Penalty schedule which sets penalties statewide.  
Therefore, we would expect all allied enforcement agencies to align their policy with the CHP.

However, this new CHP policy ignores the ruling from
Buhl v. Hannigan, that says neither an
officer nor a consumer is expected to be able to determine compliance by visual inspection, a
proposition that the Buhl court said was "
Note the reference in
08-071 to the phrase "obviously not a motorcycle helmet," which assumes a
visual inspection enables one to determine proper fabrication.  It assumes a motorcycle
manufacturer cannot fabricate a helmet that visually resembles another type of headgear.  

Also ignored are the intent requirements (burden of proof on the people) established in
Bianco V.
CHP, which requires the following:
determination of non compliance and proof that the rider knows their helmet is non
compliant, regardless of whether LEO is writing a "fix it ticket" or a straight violation.  Buhl and
are still in effect and no citation should be issued without  the ability to meet the
requirements of Buhl and Bianco.

While we have no doubt that the CHP is stuck between a rock and a hard place when it comes to
helmet law enforcement, we also see the good faith effort they are showing in an attempt to legally
enforce a vague and ambiguous law, both as written and applied.

The new policy does take steps to minimize Rights violations by LEO, but it does not fix the
problem.  The only fix in our opinion would be a
of compliant helmets;  thus we continue to say: No list? No Law!
The Judge in Quigley v CHP did not rule that the helmet law was not vague, only that we had not
presented ENOUGH EVIDENCE TO MAKE THE CASE.   The vagueness issue is still viable.  The
Judge stated that the law needs to be "cleaned up."  

Those requirements in Buhl and Bianco are reiterated by Federal Judge Napoleon Jones in the
EasyRiders v. Hannigan case.

On May 25, 1995, the district court issued its decision on Easyriders' request for a permanent
Easyriders Freedom F.I.G.H.T. v. Hannigan, 887 F. Supp. 240 (S.D. Cal. 1995). The
district court found that under the California helmet law as interpreted by Buhl and Bianco, a
motorcyclist wearing a helmet that does not comply with Standard 218 can violate the helmet law in
two situations:

(1)  where the helmet did not bear a certification of compliance at the time of sale, or
(2)  where the helmet did bear a certification but
(a)  the helmet has been shown, by failing a FMVSS 218 test, not to conform with federal safety
(b)  the person being cited has actual knowledge of a showing of non-conformity with federal

Scan and send a copy of any and every helmet ticket
whether you want to fight it, or pay the fine without a defense.
The New Law Suit in California:
B.O.L.T. vs Sacramento Sheriff's Department and the
Rancho Cordova Police Department
It has been 21 years since the federal Judge agreed with motorcyclists that law enforcement
officers had been writing helmet tickets without Probable Cause, violating riders' Rights.

The 1995 Easyriders v. Hannigan federal lawsuit resulted in an Injunction against writing
helmet tickets unless the citing officer has a recall notice from the manufacturer or has test
results proving non-compliance. This documentation must be in the citing officer's hand before
he writes the ticket. It must be specific to that exact helmet manufacturer, size, and model
number. The officer must have proof that the helmet wearer knew of the recall and/or knew of
the de-certification due to failure during the testing process - AND proof that the rider knew
the helmet was not legal.

What has changed since 1995?

Have police officers across the state stopped writing tickets in violation of the injunction and
federal case law?
No, in fact Rancho Cordova Police Department averages 30 helmet tickets per year.
The false arrests have not stopped. This violates Constitution and the 4th and 14th Amendment
protections of motorcycle riders.  B.O.L.T. filed a Class Action law suit in federal court on
July 4, 2014.

The two biggest problems that lead to the 4th Amendment violations are:
1.)  Most riders and officers misunderstand how federal preemption, and case law, control
what determines if a helmet is legal, or illegal.
2.)  Most riders honestly
believe the federal government has approved the sale of certain
helmets based on what they look like (though it doesn't), and they think a DOT sticker is issued
by the Department of Transportation (but it isn't). In other words, many believe you must wear
a "DOT approved" helmet. The earth is not flat, but it's not easy convincing some people who
learned the earth is flat. It's hard to un-learn something you have believed so long:  
does not issue the certification stickers, and the DOT does not stamp approval on
ANY helmets, or any other product.

BOLT has learned how many tickets were written by each police department in California in
2012 and in 2013. We have begun to act on this information, because we also know those
same departments did not write any of those tickets based on the recall notices or test results
described above by the federal court system as Probable Cause.
Sacramento Sheriff's Department and Rancho Cordova PD are first.  Who's next?
Donate now to help support our lawsuit filed
in federal court on the Fourth of July, 2014.
B.O.L.T of California

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