Keller @ Large: Debate Revs Up Over Motorcycle Noise Law
BOSTON (CBS) – Motorcycles are one of the most common sources of noise pollution complaints but enforcement of state and local laws regarding it is minimal.
But bikers are lobbying Beacon Hill to loosen the motorcycle noise rules even further.
The motorcyclists’ arrival at the State House was a loud one that highlighted the perennial political controversy over the noise pollution issue that won’t quiet down.
State Sen. Bob Hedlund (R-Weymouth) is a motorcycle rider himself and he supports the Mass. Motorcycle Association’s push to repeal a state law that gives police broad leeway to determine how loud is too loud.
“This is something that would clarify the situation, I think, and make something uniform statewide, and maybe give police who want to do something about it a tool,” Hedlund said.
Rick Gleason, the motorcycle group’s lobbyist, prefers another state law requiring a strict procedure police must follow before writing a ticket.
“Without a test, how can there be a ticket?” he asked. Gleason wants standards spelled out such as what noise meter has to be used, how far away it is from the motorcycle, how fast the bike is going.
State Rep. Aaron Michlewitz (D-Boston), who represents the North End, says motorcycle noise is a real problem for residents and patrons at the neighborhood’s many restaurants.
“If you come down on Hanover Street on a Friday or a Saturday night, it’s just an uncomfortable situation sometimes where people just want to come down and make noise,” Michlewitz said.
Michlewitz said the law forces police to catch a noisemaker in the act, and he holds out little hope that riders will police themselves.
“There are always going to be rogue individuals who decide they’re going to make as much noise as they can,” he said.
Boston requires motorcycles to carry an EPA stamp certifying that they meet noise-mitigation standards, but that stamp is difficult for police to spot on the fly.
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