Thursday, January 15, 2009

Traveling and Motorcycle Laws

A note went around with a link to a message from the mayor of Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. In the message the mayor delivered the news that Myrtle Beach would no longer host two long standing motorcycle events. As I read through the notice, two things came to mind. One, the mayor was delivering the message in a well written thought out manner. There were no harsh overtones, no read between the lines innuendos or suggestion that bikers were a bad lot. Number two, it was evident the residents had become weary. It’s understandable. Having a home on Cape Cod and realizing the economy depends on tourism doesn’t keep year-round residents from becoming weary of traffic jams and messy tourists.

From the letter I linked to the new rules and regulations for motorcycles in Myrtle Beach. As I read the list, all the items seemed reasonable. At first, I misread one line item as “no two motorcycles to one parking spot.” In reality, it is not MORE than two motorcycles to a parking spot. My reason for jumping to conclusion is that this is actually the case in some states and/or their local municipalities. I can not understand why two bikes can’t park in one spot. What doesn’t make sense to me obviously makes cents to the community. Revenue. It can be in the form of parking meter revenue, or ticket revenue.

If you are traveling around the country this coming season, it is a good idea to check the motorcycle laws in the areas you will be visiting. Here is a great link where you can check out any state to review the laws. Here is one to get you started.

Old Orchard Beach, Maine - they will be ticketed if parked in the wrong place.
Sec. 54-142. Parking at expired meters and overtime parking.
(b) No person shall park or stand any vehicle having fewer than four wheels at or in a metered parking space which is designated by a sign or by notice posted on or near the parking meter as restricted to parking of automobiles only. No person shall park or stand any vehicle other than a motorcycle at or in a metered parking space which is designated by a sign or by notice posted on or near the parking meter as restricted to parking of motorcycles only.
Sec. 54-160. Motorcycles.
(a) Spaces shall be designated by suitable signs and marked for motorcycle parking.
(b) This section shall be effective year round.

Traveling to Massachusetts? Did you know that helmet speakers are prohibited to use or possess? If visiting Vermont, do not ride two abreast. I personally do not like to ride abreast, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t done. Some of you like to ride “ape hangers.” If you do make sure the handlebar height is not above your shoulders in New York.

If you are traveling beyond the New England area there are other interesting laws to take into consideration. At some beach locations in California, you MUST back your vehicle into the spot. Motorcycles included. I’m sure this is to make it easy for them to check your inspection sticker. However, if the grade goes uphill it can be damn hard to back your 600 pound bike uphill.

I found other interesting reading on the Internet, which showed that just because motorcyclists are obeying the law, doesn’t mean drivers are. For example, one guy parked in a “one motorcycle per space” spot, and came back to find a ticket on his bike. Boxing him in was a small VW. The VW and piggybacked on the space, but the motorcyclist got the ticket. He was able to get it tossed out in court, because he had the foresight to photograph his bike with a time stamp. This last brings to mind the perception of non-riders and law enforcement officials that if there is a problem it has to be the motorcyclists fault. A rider is guilty before he can prove he’s innocent. But that is a story for another day.

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