Changes to Massachusetts Motorcycle Inspections
Bob Stewart, the owner of Stewy's Customs in Wakefield, gave us a call to share with us the recent changes to the Motorcycle Inspection program in Massachusetts. "Quite a bit has changed", said Stewart. "The biggest change is that your inspection will be recorded electronically instead of the paper records we have used for years".
All motorcycle inspections will now be entered directly in a computer, transmitted to the Registry of Motor Vehicles, and only then the sticker is ready for your bike. But I'm getting ahead of myself....
Beginning on February 1st the Registry of Motor Vehicles instituted a new inspection program where recording and reporting will be done via the internet – all motorcycle inspection information will be uploaded to RMV computers. During inspection, customers will not be allowed in the inspection bay. I always thought that this was an insurance requirement that the shop owner had to adhere to, but it seems that the state is driving this requirement.
At the beginning of the inspection, the plate number, VIN, and inspector number are entered into the computer. Any mismatch will block the inspection from proceeding. The inspector is them prompted to confirm the motorcycle info by checking that the information on the registration match the bike (Year, Make, Model, VIN, Plate number, Plate type, and State of registration). The inspector is then prompted to confirm the options on the bike and record them in the computer.
- Presence of a swing arm (or is the bike a rigid frame)
- Are there rear shocks installed
- Is there an odometer
- Are there turn signals and reflectors
- Any auxiliary lamps
- Is there a side car
- Does the bike have a windshield
Once these are recorded in the computer the inspector is prompted, step-by-step to perform the inspection. Here is another new item... The license plate must be mounted horizontally! Any bike with a vertical plate will be rejected.
Exhaust... Motorcycle muffler(s) must minimize noise and be functioning properly. It will be rejected if, the bike has cut-outs or bypass of baffle plates, screens, or other original internal parts that have been removed and not replaced. If a tailpipe is pinched or restricted or if the exhaust system components are not securely fastened with proper clamps/hangers. Lastly, the bike will be rejected if there is a straight pipe (none are allowed). The Registry defines Unnecessary Noise as "any noise which is louder than that emitted by the motorcycle with original manufacturer muffler and exhaust system equipment."
Handlebars.... The height of the grips cannot be higher than the operator’s shoulder level when they are seated on the bike. Additionally, a minimum of 18 inches is required between grip ends.
These are only a few highlights of the inspection requirements. After the inspection, the motorcyclist will be given a comprehensive Motorcycle Inspection Report (MIR) at the end of the inspection. This will be similar to the inspection reports that you get when you have your car/truck inspected today.
If your bike fails the inspection, then you can have a free retest at the same testing inspection station within 20 days (as determined by the computer system). Only the failed items will need to be re-tested.
The online inspection report will be available to law enforcement. What this means is that if your bike fails inspection and you are stopped then the officer gets to see everything about your inspection. This is only a problem if your bike fails (lets say for bad tires and you haven't changed them), the officer knows this and now has you over a barrel. You cannot ride your bike if it failed for a safety related item and you have not yet repaired it.