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MMA Announces “When in Town, Throttle Down!”

Published on 7/15/2010

MMA: “When in Town, Throttle Down!” ©


Over the past couple of years, the Massachusetts Motorcycle Association  (MMA) has been hard at work fighting Noise Ordinances in various cities and towns throughout the Commonwealth.  The issue of excessive noise is certainly not a new issue, but has escalated in recent years with the increase in the number of motorcycles on the road.


Indeed, some of the “noise” isn’t just motorcycles.  In fact, in a recent “sound enforcement” exercise in one northeastern Massachusetts Community – 25 vehicles were cited, but only ONE was a Motorcycle!


However, while indeed some of the “noise” can be attributed to sources other than Motorcycles, our biggest enemy, unfortunately, is ourselves!


In some cases, “altered exhaust” doesn’t simply mean an after-market manufacturer, it means removing baffles and/or using pipes meant for off-road use.  In other cases, we can observe other bikes on the road who just seem to want to throttle-up in the center of a quiet neighborhood and/or under an overpass; these seemingly innocent acts add up creating anxiety and anger in everyone involved.


As a result, some cities and towns have been reacting to public pressure to clamp down on motorcycle noise by leveraging statutes and regulations that really are not designed for enforcement nor applicable to consumers.  Indeed the MMA has been actively involved in helping defeat or curb warrants and ordinances in Hingham, Falmouth, North Reading, Sterling, and Lynnfield, to name a few.


In Falmouth, although the town enacted a warrant after vigorous debate, the Attorney General’s office struck it down because it’s in conflict with Massachusetts General Law, and in Boston, despite a lawsuit and its subsequent appeal filed by a group of independent motorcycle advocates having been dismissed, the now 1+ year old ordinance remains unenforced.  In other towns, warrants and ordinances have been struck down by smarter & cooler heads, but the threat remains.


The MMA is actively engaged in a campaign to help stem the tide.  Our mantra is, “Education, not Legislation”, with an emphasis on sharing what we can do to help people on both sides of the issue become more aware, understanding, as well as respectful of their opinion and rights.


As part of this campaign, the MMA is releasing a pamphlet, entitled, MMA: "When in Town, Throttle Down!" ©  Please contact your District Manager and/or Representatives for a copy, or you can download and print your own by clicking on the following link:


"When in Town, Throttle Down!" ©

This pamphlet contains information concerning “What’s all the Noise about Noise?” and explains the issues and the actual Massachusetts Law.  By creating more awareness of the issues facing us as Motorcyclists, we hope that more riders will ride with respect in residential areas and local communities they visit.  Keeping the Throttle Down can potentially make all the difference in the world.


For example, a major brand motorcycle with after-market pipes was recently tested within the legal limits at 96dB.  Yet this motorcycle would idle at about 84dB and maintaining a low throttle resulted in an average dB measurement of about 90dB (88 – 92dB).  In contrast, cranking the throttle to “highway” RPM raised the dB beyond the Massachusetts Legal limit to 104dB…


At 88dB, hearing loss can occur after about 20 hours of continuous exposure; at 104dB, hearing loss can occur in about 40 minutes.  The difference between 88dB and 104dB is the difference between enjoying a stereo playing in the background at a party vs sitting next to a live band’s amplifiers at a bar.


Throttling down can also realistically be the difference between someone not hearing you drive by their home vs wishing they were part of one of these anti-motorcycle campaigns.


The MMA asks its Members and all Riders to ride with respect.


"When in Town, Throttle Down!" ©

For more information, please see: or contact