By Tim Aloisio of RIDE-CT.com
I would like to address several issues that non-motorcyclists have recently contacted me about concerning such things as speeding bikes, loud bikes, and the interference of traffic during a large motorcycle ride or event. One gentleman contacted me (and he is not the first) to ask me why there are so many speeding motorcyclists zig-zagging in and out of traffic, he even goes as far as saying that law enforcement does not even bother to chase them because they cannot be caught.
Okay, let me start by saying that the overwhelming majority of bikers obey traffic laws like everybody else. Granted, as long as there has been motorized vehicles (whether it be a car or a motorcycle), there have been those that drive fast and loose. Statistics bear out that they are the ones that get into the majority of accidents.
Young adults on uber-fast sport bikes are nothing new as were young men in hot rods back in the day right through present times. I don’t think that speeding or reckless driving is limited to just motorcycles. To say that law enforcement would not stop them is going a little bit out on a limb. On the contrary, I believe that motorcycles are more of a traffic target to most police simply because they have seen the damage that can be inflicted during a motorcycle accident as opposed to an automobile.
Remember, you are 37 times more likely to die in a motorcycle accident than a car. Not to put the onus completely on sport bikes, either, but older Harley and sport-tourer guys (and gals) like myself rank right up there in the number of motorcycle accidents incurred simply because there are more of us. There will always be people that abuse the privilege of driving whether on two wheels or four.
Moving on to the noise issue, there are loud motorcycles, there are loud cars, there are loud trucks. Are many motorcycles louder than they should be? That depends who you ask. That being said, as long as there is no cohesive noise ordinance covering motorcycles, then you will continue to get loud bikes. I am opposed to obnoxiously loud motorcycles as much as anyone especially when they go by my house at 1 a.m. I am also a firm believer that you can have a good sounding high performance exhaust without puncturing someone’s ear drums.
Until there is a well-defined testing method available, you won’t see law enforcement be able to crack down, although in Massachusetts and many other states it is becoming increasingly harder to come by an inspection sticker (in states that require them) if you have loud pipes. What does annoy me is that when someone lives on a busy road and thinks that it should be quiet no matter what.
Recently, the very successful inaugural running of the Holyoke Soldiers Home ride in Holyoke, Mass., was held with some 700 motorcycles participating. A Belchertown resident that lives right on Route 9 near the center of town (one of the most high volume traffic areas in the state) protested that the ride would be going by his residence and that everyone should be stopped and ticketed for loud pipes. In this particular case it’s like living on an island and complaining that there is too much water. The truck noise alone on this stretch of road is much more prevalent than motorcycle noise.
While we are on the subject of large rides, please remember that sometimes these events can cause traffic delays while passing intersections and cross streets, that is why most of the bigger rides are police escorted and planned with the cooperation of town officials in many cases. These larger rides raise untold amounts of money that benefit many charitable organizations and deserving individuals. I would ask that since these occur very infrequently, that the general public be patient and understand why we do what we do. It very well may be you or someone you know that we will be helping out someday.
(Originally published in “The Republican” newspaper in Springfield, Mass. and masslive.com.)