Many motorcyclists in Maine may be still hibernating with temperatures dipping below freezing at night and a chance of snow forecast for later in the week but that isn't stopping Rep. Diane Russel from pushing her anti-motorcycle agenda in the State Senate.
Russell who admits her noise legislation is personal says motorcyclists who ride with modified exhaust are "stupid." She has introduced two bills aimed at increasing the fine for non-EPA approved exhaust to $999 for a third offense.
Russell told the media, "If they want to drive a motorcyle and make a lot of noise and if they get zinged for it and have to pay $500 bucks, that's their problem and I don't feel sorry for them--if they're that stupid then they deserve to pay $500 bucks," he said. "But why should the rest of Maine suffer because some cowboy wants to put a great big thing and drive like anything?"
Motorcycle rights group oppose the bill on several grounds, one of which is that the fines exceed those of "life threatening injuries."
Eric Fuller of Jay, who chairs the Maine Motorcyclists Political Action Committee said, "While it may be nice to target certain actions or people we dislike, the judicial systems of this nation have held a system of equality for this country."
Senator Russel says that a group of motorcycle riders momentarily disrupted a party at her house and that is what gave her the incentive to try to punish those with loud pipes.
"The reason I got involved with this: I was having a family get together at my house and I had grandchildren there and great grandchildren there. Four motorcycles came by--boom, boom, boom," he told lawmakers. "All of us except one grabbed their ears. That's common sense and common knowledge--except the six-month-old in the stroller. For some reason he wasn't smart enough to do that. I'm asking you people here to protect us citizens of the state of Maine."