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Motorcycle dealer offers Portland 'pipe down' signs

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Motorcycle dealer offers Portland 'pipe down' signs

PORTLAND — A local Harley-Davidson dealer has offered to purchase and install signs urging motorcyclists to reduce street noise in the city.

Peter Curless, general manager of Big Moose Harley-Davidson, said he has been working with the motorcycle company's corporate office to find a way to proactively address concerns about excessive noise coming from motorcycles.

"This is actually a program that Harley corporate uses," Curless said. "It is the initiative they recommended."

The signs say, "Help Us Respect Our Community. Throttle Down In Town," and feature a silhouette of a person on a motorcycle.

Curless said Tuesday he has not heard back from any city councilors about the business' offer. He said the signs and installation would come at no expense to the city. The Harley-provided signs are already posted in Boston and Denver.

 "These signs make bikers aware to be respectful in neighborhoods," Curless said.

Curless said he also spoke with Kennebunkport Police Chief Joseph Bruni, who recently created and posted signs in that town asking bikers to keep the noise down.

Motorcycle noise in Portland has come under City Council scrutiny in the past few months and was the subject of a proposed ordinance that would have fined bikers whose motorcycles did not have EPA stickers on their mufflers.

The city's Public Safety Committee also recently considered proposing to the full City Council that the city start ticketing parked motorcycles that do not have EPA stickers. The discussion was put on hold to give the city's legal team time to research such a proposal.

State Rep. Diane Russell, D-Portland, has also unsuccessfully tried to get the state Legislature to pass a bill that would allow ticketing and fines for bikers who do not have the EPA sticker on their motorcycle exhaust systems. 

City Councilor John Anton said he thought the offer from Big Moose is nice, but he would like to see local biker organizations, like United Bikers of Maine, propose legislation addressing after-market exhaust systems and inspections.

Anton said only 40 percent of motorcycles in Maine are inspected. He said he'd like the state to require motorcycles to have inspection stickers on their license plates. Currently, bikers just have to carry proof of inspection.

"I'd like to see the motorcyclist community work with legislators who are concerned about this issue," Anton said.

City Councilor Dan Skolnik, chairman of the Public Safety Committee, did not respond to requests for comment.

Kate Bucklin can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 106 or kbucklin@theforecaster.net