August 18, 2013

Letters to the editor: Authorities could silence loud bikes

Maine law mandates that all motorcycles (with few exceptions) on public roads must have quiet factory-installed exhaust systems or systems not louder than the original factory version.

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Police checkpoints on sunny summer weekends could take riders who violate motorcycle noise laws off the roads, a reader says.

2003 file photo/The Associated Press

Operating motorcycles heard from 200-plus feet away and/or above moving traffic are illegal. Removing Environmental Protection Agency-approved mufflers or installing loud exhausts is a Class E crime in Maine and automatically disqualifies motorcycles from receiving a safety inspection sticker-which disqualifies them from obtaining a lawful registration and insurance policy.

Today, illegally loud motorbikes are a scourge in all Maine communities. Why do these flagrant, unhealthy and illegal noise assaults perpetrated by scofflaw bikers on our children, our elderly and communities continue to occur?

Scofflaw bikers know they can get away with it; an inexplicable, outrageous lack of enforcement from most law officers in Maine; and a badly flawed motorcycle inspection system.

A valid sticker given to an illegal motorcycle allows unlawful registration and insurance. Many thousands of unlawful, technically uninsured motorcycles evidently then are on Maine roads today. Yet most police do little or nothing about this!

State police (local police within their jurisdictions) should initiate motorcycle checkpoints on roadsides one or two sunny weekend days a month during motorcycle season. Truck inspection areas on the highways could be used. Lawful riders would not be there long. Scofflaws would be taken off our roads.

Incompetent or negligent inspection station mechanics would be identified. News media reporting and broadcasting the operation would send a positive public message -- officers doing their job -- scofflaws getting the point!

Illegally loud motorcycles and lack of law enforcement about it are national issues. It's guaranteed the operation would create positive national headlines for Maine.

Maine citizens are lawfully entitled to quiet days and peaceful nights and safety. Maine authorities must eradicate these scofflaws from all public roads -- now!

Those wanting to get illegal motorcycles off public roads can reach me at

Joe Skalecki


Paper's coverage downplays beach plan's risk of failure

I think the article by North Cairn ("Camp Ellis fix moving forward on a wave of uncertainty," Aug. 11) is a bit thin on detail and one-sided in its slant to how beneficial the proposed Army Corps of Engineers project will be in Saco/Camp Ellis.

This is an exceptionally costly proposal that has serious risk of failure or even worse, collateral damage, as all other Army Corps efforts in the area have historically been.

I am sure that any sampling of Maine citizens would oppose a $20 million expenditure to save properties worth far less and bought by owners who knew in advance that the land was eroding. (Anyone who bought after 1900 was aware of the erosion.)

One can only hope that Gov. LePage, known for his frugality with public money, will see through this attempt to put Maine taxpayers at risk of bailing out this project when it fails!

Dr. Joseph T. Kelley


Charter schools benefit kids; virtual ones won't do the job

Just as George W. Bush hoped to privatize Social Security, his brother Jeb Bush hopes to privatize education. Billions of dollars are spent on public education by towns, states and the federal government, and people like Jeb Bush see the possibility of windfall profits for private, for-profit companies if they can siphon off that money. 

Jeb Bush continues to support Gov. LePage in the hopes that the money we spend in Maine for our children's education can be diverted out of state by for-profit charter schools. Some of the applications the Maine Charter School Commission has rejected were for such virtual charter schools.

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