Maine bikers ready to rumble over new noise law

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Bikers in Waterville, Maine, are preparing to fight tickets they were issued for loud pipes over the weekend, saying the town’s police force is overzealous about enforcing the new state law.

Waterville police wrote 11 bike noise tickets over the weekend, pursuant to law that took effect July 12 forbids loud exhaust modifications. The police department gave motorists a two-week grace period before starting to issue citations that carry a $137 fine. Two more noise tickets were issued to people driving cars.

Among the motorcyclists cited was Gordon Austin, who told the Sentinel the group of Harley-Davidson owners he hangs out with are collecting signatures for a petition to change the law.

"Everyone's just ripping, roaring mad," he says.

David Lefebvre, who owns The Starting Line Speed and Custom, says the changes to the law effectively make it illegal to upgrade a motorcycle's exhaust system.

He says nothing in the law says how loud is too loud, while inspectors like him are only supposed to give out inspection stickers if bikes comply with noise regulations. That could put his license in jeopardy.

"It's our word against the officer's word," Lefebvre said. "I think they need to give us some language that's more definitive."

York County sheriff's deputies set up a checkpoint Sunday, stopping 116 motorcycles to make sure the bikes were inspected and that the riders were aware of the changes to the law; they issued 21 tickets for motorcycles that hadn't been inspected or weren't legally registered, according to the newspaper.

Posted by Holly Wagner