City ordinance hazardous to dealer's motorcycle safety signs

Publish Date: 
May 20, 2013

NORTON SHORES, Mich. - Everybody is in favor of motorcycle safety, right? But promoting it is pitting a dealer against a city ordinance prohibiting off-site advertising.

Hot Rod Harley-Davidson makes and distributes free, black-and-white lawn signs that say “Watch Out for Motorcycles” in large letters above the dealership’s logo. Norton Shores Fire Chief Dave Purchase says it's advertising and violates the city ordinance.

"What we do when we see these signs is pull them from city right-of-way and contact the [property] owner to advise them what the city ordinance is,” Purchase told WZZM. If a sign is on residential property, the department asks the resident to remove it, then removes it if the resident doesn’t. "The city has allowed homeowners to cut off the advertising logo from the bottom of the sign” and keep them in place, he said.

Dealer principal Clyde Whitehouse disputes that the signs are advertising. "There's no phone number, there's no website, there's no directions on how to get here," he told the station.

Resident and rider Joe Kidd has gathered 100 signatures on a petition seeking to have the ordinance changed, or an exemption granted for Hot Rod’s signs.

"It's kind of ridiculous when we're putting three people in the ground in one week, the same week I'm being harassed for a sign that says 'Watch out for motorcycles,’" he said.

Either way, Whitehouse plans to continue to distribute the signs. "If it saves one incident, one accident, it's definitely worth the effort," he said.

Posted by Holly Wagner