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Massachusetts Motorcycle Association
Motorcycle Bills Public Hearings Tuesday September 24 at 1:00PM
The Massachusetts Motorcycle Association (MMA) alerts riders that the Joint Committee on Transportation has scheduled Public Hearings on Tuesday, September 24 for at least 10 Bills of interest to Massachusetts Motorcyclists. The MMA recommends support for 7 of the bills, and opposition to 3 as follows:
BILLS TO SUPPORT
Senate Bill 1677 (S.1677), An Act to Promote and Advance Motorcycle Safety
House Bill 3039 (H.3039), An Act relative to the clarification for the definition, testing regulations, and enforcement of motorcycle sound emissions
House Bill 3046 (H.3046), An Act adding motorcycle support to the Governor’s Highway Safety Committee
House Bill 3065 (H.3065), An Act relative to standards for protective headgear for operators or passengers on motorcycles
House Bill 3095 (H.3095), An Act relative to motorcycle helmet choice
House Bill 3140 (H.3140), An Act relative to motorcycle safety with malfunctioning traffic signals not detecting motorcycles
House Bill 3147 (H.3147), An Act relative to Motorcycle Safety
BILLS TO OPPOSE
Senate Bill 1663 (S.1663), An Act relative to motorcycle exhaust system sound levels
House Bill 3148 (H.3148), An Act relative to certain passengers on motorcycles
House Bill 3149 (H.3149), An Act further regulating motorcycle sound levels
Details of the bills follow, but riders are asked to immediately contact their State Representative and State Senator via phone, mail, or fax, to request support of a Favorable, Ought to Pass recommendation for the 7 Support Bills above and an Unfavorable, Ought not to Pass recommendation for the 3 Bills listed under Oppose.
For additional information, visit www.MassMotorcycle.org and click on the Legislation tab, or contact LegislativeDirector@MassMotorcycle.org
BILL SUMMARIES – SUPPORT
Senate Bill 1677 (S.1677), An Act to Promote and Advance Motorcycle Safety.
Senate Bill Number 1677 filed by Senator Thomas McGee on behalf of the MMA and 13 Formal Co-Sponsors seeks to help Junior Motorcycle Riders get affordable “MREP Basic Rider Course (BRC)” training.
Motorcycle riders are charged $2.00 annually to fund a Motorcycle Safety Fund that is supposed to be used solely for Motorcycle Safety Programs per MGL Chapter 90, Section 34, which states, “Notwithstanding the first paragraph, $2 from each motorcycle registration fee shall be paid by the registrar or by the person collecting the registration fee into the General Fund and shall be appropriated solely for the purpose of promoting and advancing motorcycle safety.”
Only motorcycle riders pay into this fund and since rider training is required for junior operators (under age 21), this bill proposes that 20% of the funds collected annually into the motorcycle safety fund be used to rebate not less than $150.00 towards the BRC for riders under age 21 who successfully complete the course.
House Bill 3039 (H.3039), An Act relative to the clarification for the definition, testing regulations, and enforcement of motorcycle sound emissions.
Massachusetts has two different laws on the books that address Motorcycle Sound Emissions. One of the laws (MGL Chapter 90, Section 16) is completely subjective and allows Law Enforcement Officers (LEOs) much leeway when determining how loud is too loud and that a citation is warranted. Usually the Officer states something like, “I can tell its’ too loud!” as the basis of their argument.
The second law (MGL Chapter 90, Sections 7S, 7T, and 7U) is completely objective and requires a series of controlled tests, done in a controlled area with properly calibrated sound equipment. This law eliminates subjective interpretation and relies on measurable limits.
House Bill Number 3039 filed by Representative Angelo D’Emilia and Senator Robert Hedlund on behalf of the MMA is supported by 10 Formal co-Sponsors and seeks to eliminate usage of the subjective 90-16 in favor of the controlled 90-7S, 7T, & 7U.
House Bill 3046 (H.3046), An Act adding motorcycle support to the Governor’s Highway Safety Committee.
In Massachusetts, there exists a Governor’s Highway Safety Committee; unfortunately, this committee has no representation by the Motorcycling Community, so the MMA has filed a Motorcycle Support to the Governor’s Highway Safety Committee Bill which increases the committee members by one giving a motorcycle perspective to this Committee via the Massachusetts Motorcycle Association (MMA).
We hope that by having a voice we can reduce decisions that affect motorcycles and motorcyclists such as using cable barriers next to heavily trafficked roadways, or creating barriers for safe motorcycle passage.
House Bill 3065 (H.3065), An Act relative to standards for protective headgear for operators or passengers on motorcycles.
“Freedom of Choice” for the adult motorcyclist. Riders 21 and over have the right to bear arms, have served or are serving in the Military, yet they are not allowed to ride helmet-free if they so choose to.
House Bill Number 3065 filed by Representative Anne Gobi on behalf of the MMA is supported by 10 Formal Co-Sponsors and seeks to remove language in the law requiring mandatory helmet usage. Riders under the age of 21 would still be required to wear a helmet.
A benefit to the Commonwealth of Massachusetts would include reclaiming the tourism dollars motorcyclists currently spend in border States. People are riding through Massachusetts to get to NH, ME, CT, or RI to spend their tourism dollars – this includes people from MA. If MA had freedom of choice, we believe most people who already wear a helmet would continue to do so, but more people would consider MA a destination stop to spend their money, helping to reduce the commonwealth’s budget deficit and revitalize our communities.
There are more than 250,000 motorcycle riders in MA and if only 10% of them are leaving the state to go riding, spending at least $50 per day in gas, food, etc., that’s $1.25 MILLION per day leaving Massachusetts!
House Bill 3095 (H.3095), An Act relative to motorcycle helmet choice.
This Bill filed by State Representative Marc Lombardo is also a “Helmet Choice” Bill but uses the age of eighteen (18) whereas H.3065 uses the age of twenty-one (21).
House Bill 3140 (H.3140), An Act relative to motorcycle safety with malfunctioning traffic signals not detecting motorcycles.
Throughout the Commonwealth, Motorcyclists, Bicyclists and other roadway users find themselves “stuck” at Traffic Actuated Control Signals that do not recognize their presence resulting in often illegal and potentially dangerous results. H.3140 creates a set of guidelines which can create consistent behavior and safe passage should a traffic signal malfunction in the Commonwealth.
House Bill 3147 (H.3147), An Act relative to Motorcycle Safety.
Motorcycle riders often ride with other motorcyclists for the enjoyment of the ride or within organized rides for charities or other noble events. H.3147 would seek to eliminate motorists “cutting through” the group of motorcyclists, creating unsafe riding conditions.
BILL SUMMARIES – OPPOSE
Senate Bill 1663 (S.1663), An Act relative to motorcycle exhaust system sound levels.
This Bill, filed “by request”, would require the embossed EPA “stamp” on a motorcycle exhaust system for “every motorcycle parked or operating in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts” and “such labeling shall be clearly visible to inspection without the necessity of removing any equipment…or requiring the use of any inspection mirrors or other optical aids.”
The majority of motorcycle exhaust systems produced by popular manufacturers such as Ducati, Harley Davidson, Honda, Suzuki, and Yamaha have this EPA “stamp” under a heat shield likely under a saddlebag or seat. Additionally, many owners of motorcycles from 1983+ simply cannot purchase OEM exhaust systems anymore and this Bill would render these antique motorcycles illegal.
Most significantly, the EPA stamp, as defined in the Federal Definition, is a consumer protection mechanism, not a law enforcement tool, and expires in 1 year or 3,729 miles, whichever comes first!
House Bill 3148 (H.3148), An Act relative to certain passengers on motorcycles.
This Bill regulates a minimum age and weight requirement for passengers on motorcycles. There is simply no justification to violate a parent’s rights to be a parent and involve their children in their lifestyle; there are no cases of children being harmed by their parents on motorcycles. The MMA believes the Parent should responsibly make decisions regarding their children and further Legislative action is unnecessary.
House Bill 3149 (H.3149), An Act further regulating motorcycle sound levels.
H.3149 duplicates the existing M.G.L. Chapter 90, Section 7S, 7T, and 7U laws and Massachusetts Regulations 540 CMR 3.02 and 540 CMR 3.03 already on the books.
Adding additional specifications regarding motorcycle sound levels is simply confusing and un-manageable to the Law Enforcement Community.
Massachusetts Motorcycle Association