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Massachusetts Motorcycle Laws and Information

Legislature | State Motorcyclists Rights Organization (SMRO)

Motorcycle helmet law:

Chapter 90: Section 7. Brakes, braking systems, mufflers, horns, lights, audible warning systems, and other equipment; compliance with safety standards; stickers and emblems

... Every person operating a motorcycle or riding as a passenger on a motorcycle or in a sidecar attached to a motorcycle shall wear protective head gear conforming with such minimum standards of construction and performance as the registrar may prescribe, and no person operating a motorcycle shall permit any other person to ride as a passenger on such motorcycle or in a sidecar attached to such motorcycle unless such passenger is wearing such protective head gear, except that no protective head gear shall be required if the motorcyclist is participating in a properly permitted public parade and is 18 years of age or older. If a motorcycle is not equipped with a windshield or screen, the operator of such motorcycle shall wear eye glasses, goggles or a protective face shield when operating such vehicle. ...

Other motorcycle laws:

Chapter 90: Section 7J. Handlebars on motorcycles; rules and regulations; penalty

Section 7J. The registrar, after a hearing, may make, amend or rescind, rules and regulations relative to handlebars on motorcycles operated in the commonwealth. A copy of such rules and regulations attested by the registrar shall be prima facie evidence that they have been made as provided by law. Whoever violates any rule or regulation made under the provisions of this section shall be punished by a fine of not more than twenty-five dollars for the first offense and not more than fifty dollars for a second or subsequent offense.

Chapter 90: Section 7S. Motorcycle sound emissions; definitions

Section 7S. The following words used in this section twenty-four A to twenty-four C, inclusive, unless the context otherwise requires shall have the following meanings:—

“A-weighted sound level”, the sound level in decibels as measured on a sound level meter using the A-weighting network. The level is designated dB(A).

“Decibel (dB)”, a unit for measuring the volume of a sound, equal to twenty times the logarithm to the base 10 of the ratio of the pressure of the sound measured to the reference pressure; which is 20 micropascals or 20 micronewtons per square meter.

“Motorcycle”, any motor vehicle having a seat or saddle for the use of the rider and designed to travel on not more than three wheels in contact with the ground, including any bicycle with a motor or driving wheel attached, except a tractor or a motor vehicle designed for carrying golf clubs and not more than four persons, an industrial three-wheel truck, or a motor vehicle on which the operator and passengers ride within an enclosed cab.

“Person”, any individual, association, partnership, or corporation, and includes any officer, employee, department, agency or instrumentality of the commonwealth or any political subdivision of the commonwealth.

“Registrar”, the registrar of motor vehicles.

“Sound level”, the weighted sound pressure level obtained by the use of a sound level meter and frequency weighting network, such as A, B or C as specified in American National Standards Institute specifications for sound level meters (ANSI S1.4–1971). If the frequency weighting employed is not indicated, the A-weighting shall apply.

Chapter 90: Section 7T. Motorcycle sound levels; testing regulations

Section 7T. The registrar shall adopt regulations establishing test procedures and instrumentation to be utilized for measuring sound levels of in-use vehicles. Such regulation shall include site criteria and moving and stationary vehicle measurement procedures and shall take into consideration accepted scientific and professional methods for the measurement of vehicular sound levels. The measurement procedures shall include adjustment factors to be applied to the noise limit for measurement distances of other than fifty feet from the center of the lane of travel and shall allow the extent feasible sound level measurement and enforcement action to be accomplished in reasonably confined areas such as residential areas of urban cities and off highway locations. Test procedures established by the registrar shall be in substantial conformance with applicable standards and practices established or recommended by the United States Environmental Protection Agency.

Chapter 90: Section 7U. Motorcycles; maximum sound levels

Section 7U. No person shall operate a motorcycle intended for use on the highways of the commonwealth and registered under the provisions of section two of chapter ninety at any time or under any condition of grade, load, acceleration or deceleration in such a manner as to exceed eighty-two decibels when operated within a speed zone of forty-five miles per hour or less, or in such a manner as to exceed eighty-six decibels when operated within a speed zone of over forty-five miles per hour measured at fifty feet using the prescribed highway vehicle sound level measurement procedure.

No person shall operate a motorcycle intended for use off the highways of the commonwealth and registered under the provisions of section twenty-two of chapter ninety B at any time that exceeds one hundred and three decibels measured at twenty inches, or one-half meter, using the prescribed stationary vehicle sound level measurement procedure. For enforcement purposes a tolerance of plus two decibels shall be applied to all measured sound levels of in-use vehicles to provide for variances in equipment calibration, measurement site characteristics and measurement techniques.

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