Three law enforcement agencies are teaming up Sunday to conduct a motorcycle inspection checkpoint focused on noise.

The effort involves police from Kennebunk and Kennebunkport and the York County Sheriff’s Office. The checkpoint’s location and schedule were not disclosed.

The checkpoint — the first of three that are planned — follows changes in state law related to motor vehicle noise that went into effect July 12.

One rule now prohibits motor vehicles from being noticeably louder than others in the environment. The earlier version only prohibited excessive and unusual noise without comparison to other vehicles.

Another rule now prohibits modifications that result in amplified noise. Previously, that rule prohibited modifications intended to create more noise.

The changes make the violations clearer, said William King, acting deputy chief of the York County Sheriff’s Office.

“If someone has, for example, their exhaust amplified, they would be subject to a citation,” he said.

A ticket for excessive noise carries a fine of $137.

King and Kennebunk Police Chief Robert MacKenzie said the main purpose of the checkpoint is educational. MacKenzie characterized the checkpoint as an extension of educational efforts about motorcycle noise, which have included road signs and brochures distributed to local businesses.

“We’ll tell them it’s an inspection checkpoint and we’ll request their documentation,” MacKenzie said. “And obviously, if they provide the documentation and we don’t see any obvious violations, we’ll make it as quick and painless as possible and have them go on their way.”

He said a motorcycle that has passed inspection and has a proper muffler shouldn’t be excessively loud.

Motorcycles are required to undergo annual inspections, but motorcyclists aren’t required to display an inspection sticker on their bikes.

Traffic tie-ups aren’t expected around the checkpoint, MacKenzie said.

“We’ve got the detail down pretty well where it’s going to be marked well, (with) plenty of personnel on scene to accommodate that,” he said. “Our goal is to keep it very safe and as efficient as possible.”

It’s too soon to know whether the changes in the law are affecting enforcement, said Maine State Police Lt. Brian Scott, commander of the traffic safety unit.

The law requires state police to form a working group on the measure and report to the Legislature’s Transportation Committee in January.

Scott said that while most motorcyclists are law-abiding, the few with illegal exhausts are generating complaints that prompt legislative changes.

Staff Writer Ann S. Kim can be contacted at 791-6383 or at:

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