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Yarmouth Motorcycle Ban News - The MMA Responds

Published on 4/15/2015

Yarmouth Motorcycle Ban News - The MMA Responds

The Massachusetts Motorcycle Association has been following with interest the media coverage of the petitioned articles in the town of Yarmouth concerning Motorcycle Rides. The current article, Yarmouth Resident to Petition Town Meeting on Motorcycle Rides, Noise, (March 31, 2015: only confirms our position that this egregious action is the workings of an individual who is of an anti-motorcycle bent, and is based on his perception of motorcycles as the single aggressors of noise generation.

Although short, the article seems confused by 2 points: preventing motorcycle rides through the town, and targeting noise violations by motorcyclists. The Massachusetts Motorcycle Association responded to the article with the following, but would also like to remind riders that we must collectively remain vigilant in order to protect our right to ride; whether remaining aware of anti-motorcycle petitions and warrant articles in your town, or simply remaining respectful when in highly trafficked areas of places you visit.
Quoting the article, "Harris Contos said he doesn’t want any more permits granted for motorcycle rides in town and wants the number of citations from the noise by-law reported by police.”  Mr. Contos seems to have elected himself the arbiter of highway usage and auditor of local Law Enforcement. Apparently, he further believes that Law Enforcement has nothing better to do with your tax dollars than report largely meaningless statistics.
Mr. Contos asks, “Why are we allowing for processions from motorcyclists who are pretty much known to cause an awful lot of excess noise?” Mr Contos, Motorcycles are registered motor vehicles whose owners pay for roadway use just like anyone else. We pay taxes on our vehicles, we pay registration, annual inspection and license fees, and we pay other premiums not exposed to owners and operators of other vehicles. And while some motorcyclists may exhibit behaviors that some find offensive, we are not the only generators of noise – some cars and trucks do, some motorized recreational vehicles do, some utility vehicles do, and almost all lawn and maintenance equipment does. We can guess that your targets will shift until such time that someone buys you an iPod.
Mr. Contos then continues almost immediately, “Why are we not enforcing the law and then allowing motorcyclists, who have a stated position against noise control, the opportunity to parade around town?” The number of “parade rides” through Yarmouth is extremely small on an annual basis – what you’re after are all law-abiding motorcyclists who choose to enjoy the scenery of the beautiful town of Yarmouth that you so dearly wish to isolate yourself in. For a registered motorcycle to use a roadway paid for with public funds is a right granted under federal law.

Further, to claim motorcyclists have a “stated position against noise control” is an exaggeration to make your point. In fact, it’s quite the opposite; most motorcyclists and almost all motorcycling organizations have strong statements against unnecessary noise. Indeed the Massachusetts Motorcycle Association has been promoting a very successful "When in Town, Throttle Down!"© awareness campaign for a number of years. It encourages awareness of the laws and realities of noise generation, promoting better behavior among riders.
Further, the Massachusetts Motorcycle Association makes clear statements that we do not condone excessive noise, removal of mufflers, or modification to them that would increase the muffler’s exhaust emissions. These materials have been publicly available on our website for years, as have public positions by many national motorcycle organizations and companies – to imply that motorcyclists have a stated position against noise control is fear mongering and ignorant of the facts.
Yarmouth voters should choose to work with organizations, such as the Massachusetts Motorcycle Association, a nationally recognized leading authority in this matter, to promote harmony in their town, increasing the common welfare, not rise behind isolationists.

Dave Condon
Chairman, Massachusetts Motorcycle Association