Clarksville, TN – Tennessee State representative John Tidwell has entered into a battle with Tennessee state troopers that unfairly ticketed motorcyclists while incorrectly citing a law that Tidwell authored.
A group of riders complained to Tidwell about a recent incident in which they were pulled over by a state trooper for allegedly not wearing Department of Transportation-approved helmets.
The trooper then made the riders wait on the shoulder of the interstate for 45 minutes, while a friend brought the appropriate helmets from Nashville.Tennessee law does not require a DOT-approved helmet in all cases.
For riders over the age of 21 meeting certain requirements, helmets with other certifications may be legal for wear.
Tidwell visited the Clarksville clubhouse of the Bikers Who Care organization on the campaign trail with US congressional candidate Dan Cramer on August 23rd, in order to get in touch with bikers and learn their experiences on this issue.
“Many bikers I have spoken to have expressed annoyance at the way troopers have been enforcing the helmet law,” Tidwell explained. “As a member of the transportation committee, I helped write these laws and I know that the narrow standard that some troopers have been enforcing is not written in the law. I can understand why someone would be upset about being pulled over for no reason.”
Cramer said that the helmet law was a hot topic among the riders.
“As we met people and asked them what issues were important to them, the treatment of veterans and low wages were mentioned quite a bit” said Cramer. “But almost as many people wanted to speak with John about the helmet law issue.”
Tidwell contacted Chief Dereck Stewart of the Tennessee state troopers to find out why the law was not being enforced correctly, and also why a state trooper was imposing a punishment rather than just writing citations.
Tidwell received a letter from Stewart stating that all troopers will be retrained on the specifics of Tennessee’s helmet law and the appropriate way to enforce those laws. All state troopers will be required to read the letter from the chief about the helmet laws.
“I hope this will be the end of this issue, but I will keep in touch with the Bikers Who Care and other riders to make sure that bikers who follow the law aren’t unfairly targeted,” Tidwell said.