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post #1 of 25 Old Aug 10th, 2009, 2:55 pm Thread Starter
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Motorcycle only roadblocks in Sterling MA

This past weekend, local and registry police had roadblocks set up at the route 140 / 62 area in Sterling. The officers were pulling over EVERY motorcycle (no cars) for "safety inspections".

Uh, I got mine this spring, officer. Look at the plate sticker.

Along with safety items (lights, horn, tires, etc) motorcyclists were ticketed for exhausts with no EPA imprint on them, and helmets that did not have DOT stickers.It is evidently a reaction to local residents complaining about loud pipes in the area.

Okay, fine. Pass a noise ordinance, stop every loud vehicle (including cars and trucks) that goes by and test them with a decible meter.

While I'm not a big fan of the "loud pipes saves lives" debate, this type of selective roadblock, targeting motorcycles of all types, has got to be illegal.

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post #2 of 25 Old Aug 10th, 2009, 5:41 pm
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Re: Motorcycle only roadblocks in Sterling MA

Time to write your elected representative...

or, should I say, "It's past time.."

It's all about revenue...

MA sounds like a real nice place... sorry all the kookiness is ruining it.....
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post #3 of 25 Old Aug 10th, 2009, 6:29 pm
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Re: Motorcycle only roadblocks in Sterling MA

Quote:
Originally Posted by cfell
Time to write your elected representative...

or, should I say, "It's past time.."

It's all about revenue...

MA sounds like a real nice place... sorry all the kookiness is ruining it.....
If you are noticing a common thread between this and, say, Professor Gates, let's just say that the police have had "their way" in Massachusetts for quite some time. And, this is really no surprise to anyone who has lived in the state for any length of time.

It is a really nice place, in spite of this.

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post #4 of 25 Old Aug 10th, 2009, 6:45 pm
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Re: Motorcycle only roadblocks in Sterling MA

Apparently you missed the "Inspection" stop at the exact same place 4 weeks ago. After all the rain this summer, they waited for the first nice Saturday. They had quite a parking lot full when I was pulled in at 1600 hours. Fortunately, my beautiful, full bodied pig passed all tests. Remember, this is "revenue enhancement", we don't use the word taxes anymore - it's just additional "revenue".
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post #5 of 25 Old Aug 10th, 2009, 7:02 pm
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Re: Motorcycle only roadblocks in Sterling MA

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Originally Posted by Tat_n_Telle
While I'm not a big fan of the "loud pipes saves lives" debate, this type of selective roadblock, targeting motorcycles of all types, has got to be illegal.
It may be illegal. But you can thank those with loud pipes for this attention to the rest of us by the authorities. And frankly I don't blame them. The noise is obnoxious and unnecessary.
However, I agree that the leos should be pulling over every vehicle that has loud obnoxious pipes not just bikes.

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post #6 of 25 Old Aug 10th, 2009, 7:07 pm
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Re: Motorcycle only roadblocks in Sterling MA

Regarding this:

"motorcyclists were ticketed for exhausts with no EPA imprint on them"

I never noticed an EPA imprint on the exhaust pipes. Has it been there all along?

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post #7 of 25 Old Aug 10th, 2009, 7:59 pm
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Re: Motorcycle only roadblocks in Sterling MA

My first M/C a 1969 Honda SL 90 had the compliance stamps on the exhaust system . Seems like it said something about US Forest Service spark arrester .

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post #8 of 25 Old Aug 11th, 2009, 7:30 am
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Re: Motorcycle only roadblocks in Sterling MA

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tat_n_Telle
While I'm not a big fan of the "loud pipes saves lives" debate, this type of selective roadblock, targeting motorcycles of all types, has got to be illegal.
I've often wondered if any of the "spot checks" are legal. They are detaining people, however briefly, when there is no evidence or reasonable suspicion of a crime having been committed. Not to mention that they are creating a nuisance and a danger on a public highway. If a mere citizen blocked a road and looked at every vehicle before allowing them to pass, how long do you reckon it would be before they were arrested?

If there is a manhunt (personhunt?) underway, then okay. But just barely.

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post #9 of 25 Old Aug 11th, 2009, 8:07 am
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Re: Motorcycle only roadblocks in Sterling MA

My understanding is that spot checks are legal as long as they are systematic in nature. You can stop every vehicle, every third or tenth vehicle, every truck or motorcycle, etc. What you can't do is profile. For example; "Hey that guy has long hair and a marijuana sticker on his bumper. Get him!"

I have some understanding of this as unfortunately I used to have to do them regularly. In all fairness the motorcycle community as a whole needs to straighten up since there is such a high instance of illegal equipment, no insurance, and no motorcycle endorsements on the operators licenses. While it's a pain in the ass for us legal riders we have to be included in the process to make it work.

However make no mistake about it, tickets are always about money for the government. Otherwise there would be a graduated fine schedule. There's good reason that those little "speed trap" towns we've all seen are usually so picturesque. Their tickets cost an arm and a leg so they have extra revenue to paint those curbs and mow their parks!


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post #10 of 25 Old Aug 11th, 2009, 8:45 am Thread Starter
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Re: Motorcycle only roadblocks in Sterling MA

Quote:
Originally Posted by deanwoolsey
My understanding is that spot checks are legal as long as they are systematic in nature. You can stop every vehicle, every third or tenth vehicle, every truck or motorcycle, etc. What you can't do is profile. For example; "Hey that guy has long hair and a marijuana sticker on his bumper. Get him!"
Truck stops are legal, as they are regulated by DOT and are therefore subject to checks for weight, height, permits for dangerous loads, etc. Sobriety checks have also been deemed legal. Every vehicle is stopped. If there is no suspicion, you pass through. However, this stop targeted motorcycles - period. You could be under the speed limit, on a completely stock bike with full gear and a DOT full face helmet. It didn't matter. Because you were on two wheels, you were suspect. Isn't that a form of profiling?

I understand the residents are sick and tired of the loud bikes that roll through town. I'm not crazy about the ones that blast down my street, either. I have no problem with a roadside stop for vehicles (bikes with straight pipes, cars with aftermarket exhausts,etc) that are making a lot of noise for a decible check. From what I hear, the MMA lawyers are now looking into this stop and may plan a lawsuit against the town. I wonder how much that will cost the good citizens of Sterling should the courts rule against them?

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post #11 of 25 Old Aug 11th, 2009, 8:52 am Thread Starter
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Re: Motorcycle only roadblocks in Sterling MA

Quote:
Originally Posted by jbrown
Regarding this:

"motorcyclists were ticketed for exhausts with no EPA imprint on them"

I never noticed an EPA imprint on the exhaust pipes. Has it been there all along?
Boston now has an ordinance that allows the ticketing of bikes that do not exhibit the EPA stamp on the exhaust. It's a $300 fine, and it can be written even if the bike is NOT RUNNING!

I wonder what would happen if your stock exhaust rotted out, and you installed a less expensive aftermarket system that was actually quieter than stock?

If that same ordinance applied to cars, the Boston police could park themselves outside every muffler shop and write tickets as soon as the cars pulled out of the bays, since only factory exhaust systems have the EPA stamp.

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post #12 of 25 Old Aug 11th, 2009, 8:55 am Thread Starter
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Re: Motorcycle only roadblocks in Sterling MA

Quote:
Originally Posted by BigGeo
Apparently you missed the "Inspection" stop at the exact same place 4 weeks ago. After all the rain this summer, they waited for the first nice Saturday. They had quite a parking lot full when I was pulled in at 1600 hours. Fortunately, my beautiful, full bodied pig passed all tests. Remember, this is "revenue enhancement", we don't use the word taxes anymore - it's just additional "revenue".
I don't blame them for pulling you over. You look a little suspicious to me...... :-)

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post #13 of 25 Old Aug 11th, 2009, 10:42 am
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Re: Motorcycle only roadblocks in Sterling MA

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However make no mistake about it, tickets are always about money for the government.




Now that's the funniest thing I've heard all day...

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post #14 of 25 Old Aug 11th, 2009, 10:50 am
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Re: Motorcycle only roadblocks in Sterling MA

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tat_n_Telle
Boston now has an ordinance that allows the ticketing of bikes that do not exhibit the EPA stamp on the exhaust.
I'll have to examine the exhaust of my completely stock '08 RT. Can't say I remember seeing anything written on it.

I presume that people who ride older bikes, which pre-date these laws, are exempted. Of course that assumes the officer can tell the model year of any given motorcycle.

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post #15 of 25 Old Aug 11th, 2009, 2:14 pm
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Re: Motorcycle only roadblocks in Sterling MA

The very idea of being stopped by the Police arbitrarily is offensive to me, and as far as I'm concerned, against everything this country is supposed to stand for.
The scary part is that our fellow citizens will support such power over The People under the guise of "safety" or somesuch ridiculous reason.
It should not be considered reasonable to stop citizens in the normal course of their travels on the off chance they could be in violation of any law - that my friends, is Communism.
"papers please"

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post #16 of 25 Old Aug 11th, 2009, 3:06 pm
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Re: Motorcycle only roadblocks in Sterling MA

Be sure to look on the underside of the stock exhaust for the EPA stamp. That's also the place where H-D used to put the "For off-road use only" stamp on their Screamin' Eagle exhausts.
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post #17 of 25 Old Aug 11th, 2009, 5:14 pm
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Re: Motorcycle only roadblocks in Sterling MA

Quote:
Originally Posted by deanwoolsey
My understanding is that spot checks are legal as long as they are systematic in nature. You can stop every vehicle, every third or tenth vehicle, every truck or motorcycle, etc. What you can't do is profile. For example; "Hey that guy has long hair and a marijuana sticker on his bumper. Get him!"

I have some understanding of this as unfortunately I used to have to do them regularly. In all fairness the motorcycle community as a whole needs to straighten up since there is such a high instance of illegal equipment, no insurance, and no motorcycle endorsements on the operators licenses. While it's a pain in the ass for us legal riders we have to be included in the process to make it work.

However make no mistake about it, tickets are always about money for the government. Otherwise there would be a graduated fine schedule. There's good reason that those little "speed trap" towns we've all seen are usually so picturesque. Their tickets cost an arm and a leg so they have extra revenue to paint those curbs and mow their parks!
And it's still the way it is in your first paragraph. So long as it's systematic and decided on the pattern of stops on the check BEFOREHAND. It can be anything from every vehicle to every other blue vehicle. Random picking is not allowed. And courts have long upheld that driving on a public roadway is a privelage and not a right.

Yes it can be inconvenient but even if you leave the revenue part out the benefits outweigh inconvenience. You litterally would not beleive how many people with no insurance or outstanding arrest warrants get caught in those stops. I stopped by one with my PD a few years ago where they were stopping every vehicle. While the Officer checke license and insurance I would walk around as many cars as I could. In about 20 minutes I found 3 cars with obvious altered VIN plates.

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post #18 of 25 Old Aug 11th, 2009, 5:58 pm Thread Starter
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Re: Motorcycle only roadblocks in Sterling MA

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Originally Posted by blueknightga6
And it's still the way it is in your first paragraph. So long as it's systematic and decided on the pattern of stops on the check BEFOREHAND. It can be anything from every vehicle to every other blue vehicle. Random picking is not allowed. And courts have long upheld that driving on a public roadway is a privelage and not a right.
It seems to me that there is some type of fine line being crossed. Every other blue vehicle, every tenth vehicle - yes, random. Every motorcycle? How about deciding beforehand to stop every vehicle with out of state plates? Every vehicle driven by a minority? Bet you'd find a lot of unlicensed, uninsured, and illegal immigrants at that stop! And, you'd probably be fired and sued as well.

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post #19 of 25 Old Aug 11th, 2009, 6:34 pm
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Re: Motorcycle only roadblocks in Sterling MA

Quote:
Originally Posted by blueknightga6
And it's still the way it is in your first paragraph. So long as it's systematic and decided on the pattern of stops on the check BEFOREHAND. It can be anything from every vehicle to every other blue vehicle. Random picking is not allowed. And courts have long upheld that driving on a public roadway is a privelage and not a right.

Yes it can be inconvenient but even if you leave the revenue part out the benefits outweigh inconvenience. You litterally would not beleive how many people with no insurance or outstanding arrest warrants get caught in those stops. I stopped by one with my PD a few years ago where they were stopping every vehicle. While the Officer checke license and insurance I would walk around as many cars as I could. In about 20 minutes I found 3 cars with obvious altered VIN plates.
I"m not arguing the legality, because as you've clearly (and accurately to my knowledge) outlined, it's already been through the "justice system" and these parameters have been upheld. The issue I have, is that we as a people, are idly sitting by, allowing this oppressive police state behavior to occur in America. In OUR country.
It's revolting to me, and I don't care how many people are caught in these "checks" without insurance, etc.
I honestly wish I didn't have to work so much, so that I could be more involved in politics instead of being on the sideline so much.

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post #20 of 25 Old Aug 11th, 2009, 9:58 pm
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Re: Motorcycle only roadblocks in Sterling MA

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tat_n_Telle
It seems to me that there is some type of fine line being crossed. Every other blue vehicle, every tenth vehicle - yes, random. Every motorcycle? How about deciding beforehand to stop every vehicle with out of state plates? Every vehicle driven by a minority? Bet you'd find a lot of unlicensed, uninsured, and illegal immigrants at that stop! And, you'd probably be fired and sued as well.
Well something like every blue vehicle is a sarcastic example and I think it was taken that way. Stopping vehicles on a checkpoint based upon the race, nationality or sex of a driver or passenger is just plain wrong. Out of state plates would be odd and personally considered questionable.

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post #21 of 25 Old Aug 14th, 2009, 6:51 am
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Re: Motorcycle only roadblocks in Sterling MA

Quote:
Originally Posted by KMC1
The very idea of being stopped by the Police arbitrarily is offensive to me, and as far as I'm concerned, against everything this country is supposed to stand for.
The scary part is that our fellow citizens will support such power over The People under the guise of "safety" or somesuch ridiculous reason.
It should not be considered reasonable to stop citizens in the normal course of their travels on the off chance they could be in violation of any law - that my friends, is Communism.
"papers please"

If it was Communism Kev, they would stop everyone (actually they would stop themselves for the good of the community!). This is more like the Third Reich...

MMA ALERT: Motorcycle-Only Safety Checks in Sterling, MA
Friday, July 24, 2009

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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post #22 of 25 Old Aug 14th, 2009, 10:07 am
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Re: Motorcycle only roadblocks in Sterling MA

They are starting to check or look closely up here in Haverhill to.
News from the Gazette...

Recent complaints from residents regarding excessive noise, not only in downtown but outlying neighborhoods, as well, prompted Mayor James Fiorentini to tell police to step up enforcement of a noise ordinance on the books for several years.

"Being able to get a good night's sleep is a quality of life issue," Fiorentini said.

Fiorentini said he had communicated his concern to police Chief Alan DeNaro, who had, in turn, relayed orders to all shift commanders to step up enforcement of the noise ordinance.

A few years ago, Haverhill passed a more comprehensive noise ordinance designed to make enforcement easier and to establish maximum decibel levels for noise. The city then bought two noise meters.

The ordinance defines excessive noise as being louder than 50 decibels between 11 p.m. and 7 a.m., and greater than 70 decibels at all other times. Excessive noise is also defined as "plainly audible" from 100 feet away. Violations carry a fine of $50.

A dozen police officers are trained to use the hand-held noise meters, which are about the size of their portable radios. The training for these devices takes about a half day.

Fiorentini said that despite these efforts, he's received a number of complaints from citizens concerning noise late at night.

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post #23 of 25 Old Aug 14th, 2009, 10:08 am
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Re: Motorcycle only roadblocks in Sterling MA

I wonder if they would give you a ticket if you LT's radio was to loud?

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post #24 of 25 Old Aug 14th, 2009, 12:15 pm
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Re: Motorcycle only roadblocks in Sterling MA

New Hampshire has also been performing these checks this season. The two I knowof were in Portsmouth and Rochester. They were looking for loud bikes.

As stated by others, this has all been brought on by some of our own, the loud vtwins and the loud sport bikes. Until these riders decide to be respectful of their neighbors, these checks will continue and increase, and more laws will be passed.

Tony

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post #25 of 25 Old Aug 14th, 2009, 12:38 pm Thread Starter
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Re: Motorcycle only roadblocks in Sterling MA

Quote:
Originally Posted by blankshot
The ordinance defines excessive noise as being louder than 50 decibels between 11 p.m. and 7 a.m., and greater than 70 decibels at all other times. Excessive noise is also defined as "plainly audible" from 100 feet away. Violations carry a fine of $50.
50 dB? I think I can break that threshold after a good bean burrito!

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