Royal Gorge Bridge and Park (RGB&P), located near Cañon City, Colorado, recently adopted an over broad policy of discrimination against any individual wearing motorcycle-related patches or colors. So the National Council of Clubs (NCOC), an organization representing the interests of motorcyclists nationwide, immediately protested the decision in the form of a written complaint to RGB&P management. Normally, private actors such as RGB&P cannot be sued for 1st Amendment restrictions because there is nothing unconstitutional about private actors discriminating. However, RGB&P leases the land from Canon City exposing the government actor to civil rights liability for the discriminatory acts of the private party. After receiving the NCOC’s letter of complaint, RGB&P management contacted NCOC attorney Wade Eldridge and informed him that all “no motorcycle club colors” signs had been removed from the park and that the park reversed its policy. The NCOC verified on June 10th that all signs have been removed. NCOC participants, members of motorcycle clubs including 1%’ers, have been granted access to the Park. This is an important win for the NCOC and the motorcycle club community generally. Many motorcyclists frequent RGB&P and some club members have even had their ashes spread at the park. Silence is consent. Grassroots political opposition is one of the most effective strategies for tangible change, as demonstrated by the NCOC.
Motorcyclists from Colorado and around the US wearing motorcycle-related patches and colors, including members of the Colorado Confederation of Clubs and National Council of Clubs, regularly visit the Royal Gorge Bridge (RGB&P) and Park in Fremont County, Colorado. Recently, the RGB&P adopted a broad policy of discrimination against any individual wearing motorcycle- related patches or colors. RGB&P’s discriminatory actions involve significant state involvement sufficient to establish a claim under 42 USC Section 1983. The nature of RGB&P’s lease with Cañon City and its proximity and dependence on Fremont County roads for access, puts the city and county into such positions of interdependence that they must be recognized as “joint participants” in acts of discrimination. It is settled law that motorcycle patches and colors are Constitutionally protected by the 1st Amendment from acts of government discrimination.
WASHINGTON, DC – Today, Representatives Tim Walberg (R-Mich.), Mark Pocan (D-Wisc.), Michael Burgess (R-Texas) and Collin Peterson (D-Minn.) along with Senators Ron Johnson (R-Wisc.) Jeanne Shaheen (D-New Hamp.) jointly introduced a bipartisan and bicameral resolution concerning the profiling of motorcyclists. The bill defines the practice of motorcycle profiling and expresses the sentiments of the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives on the issue of motorcycle profiling. Additionally, the bill promotes increased public awareness on the issue and encourages collaboration, education and training for the motorcycle and law enforcement communities in order to end instances of profiling. The Motorcycle Riders Foundation (MRF), which has been advocating for a national solution to address motorcycle profiling with the support of the Motorcycle Profiling Project, will work over the coming months with states’ motorcyclists’ rights organizations as well as motorcycle clubs and individual riders to advance the measure. President of the Motorcycle Riders Foundation, Kirk ‘Hardtail’ Willard, stated this with the bill’s release: “For too long motorcyclists have felt the effects of discrimination from law enforcement. Riding a motorcycle doesn’t make me suspect. We hope that, with this bill’s introduction, we can shine a national spotlight on this issue that affects every rider in every state, and helps put an end to this unconstitutional practice.”
About Motorcycle Riders Foundation
The Motorcycle Riders Foundation (MRF) provides leadership at the federal level for states’ motorcyclists’ rights organizations as well as motorcycle clubs and individual riders. The MRF is chiefly concerned with issues at the national and international levels that impact the freedom and safety of American street motorcyclists. The MRF is committed to being a national advocate for the advancement of motorcycling and its associated lifestyle and works in conjunction with its partners to help educate elected officials and policymakers in Washington and beyond.