This year, a significant number of cases have been reported of Law Enforcement creating their own versions of Massachusetts General Law concerning Sound Enforcement for Motorcycles. This has taken the form of roadside stops and warnings, to the recently enacted City Ordinance in Boston, to a recent “Motorcycle-Only Safety Check” in the small hamlet of Sterling, Massachusetts. The Massachusetts Motorcycle Association is working with our members to be more aware of these incidents as well as help our members fight unlawful citations.
In the latter case, Police have worked diligently over the past few weeks to stop only Motorcycles around the intersection of Routes 140 and 62 in Sterling to perform “Safety Checks”. Reports of “hundreds” of Motorcycles being stopped and cited for anything from illegal Helmets to a lack of EPA stamp on their Motorcycle Exhaust or other safety equipment violations. More than a dozen MMA members have corroborated this report and the MMA is providing them with Information Kits concerning the “real” Massachusetts General Law. We encourage all Motorcyclists to join the MMA to obtain this information and fight any citations issued that they feel are unjust.
In order to collect and provide more information, the MMA invites all Motorcyclists - Members and Friends - to attend the next monthly Worcester County meeting at the Singletary Rod and Gun Club 300 Sutton Ave Oxford MA on Tuesday, August 11, 2009 at 730 PM. This issue will be the main focus topic of discussion - more background on the issues, the "real" Massachusetts General Law, and how to respond. Several MMA Board Members will be in attendance to address these and any questions.
In the interim, if you are stopped, without question, you want to be respectful and cooperative. While perhaps ill informed, these are still Law Enforcement Officers. Please remember to:
- Obtain the officer’s name and department – he or she should be wearing and/or carrying identification. You have every right to it. If the officer refuses to provide any, you have the right to call 911 and inform them you’ve been stopped by someone who has refused to identify themselves.
- Make notes (and if possible take pictures – many cell phones have cameras today) of the procedures being used to inspect and test your motorcycle. You are NOT legally required to assist in those tests.
- You are NOT legally required to answer any unreasonable questions without advice of legal counsel.
- Contact the MMA with the name and description of the officer and any other details you can provide regarding the incident. If you are issued a warning or citation, we would like a copy of that document and will work with you to fight it in a Massachusetts court of law.
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