In March 2016, a month after its creation, a fake news site named Associated Media Coverage announced that eleven states were implementing motorcycle curfews with stiff penalties for violators.
Around the same time, the merry pranksters at AMC also announced that the Food and Drug Administration was about to ban vape pens; that politicians in Texas, Arizona, and Missouri had passed laws that would limit people to a maximum of two pets and mandate the killing of the extra ones; that a transgender woman in Colorado had been shot and killed in a department store bathroom; that the Obama Administration intended to restrict hunting for minors; that an Idaho woman was being sent to prison for breast feeding; and that Jodi Arias was getting out of prison after some sort of “incident” with multiple prison guards.
The motorcycle curfew claim had a little more staying power than the other bogus news stories. About six weeks after AMC’s claim, the story had taken on a life of its own. In May a site called Iron Demons was reporting that “28 states working in conjunction with the U.S. Department of Transportation have agreed to implement an ordinance requiring motorcyclists to adhere to a mandatory curfew between the hours of 11 p.m. and 6 a.m.”
Hilarious, right? At least until an almost identical proposal made it all the way to the agenda of the February 6 meeting of the Quincy, Massachusetts City Council.
Quincy, founded in 1625, is an historic city just south of Boston. It was the birthplace of two early Presidents and John Hancock and it was once a hotbed of libertarian zeal but apparently that was then.
An appointed city councilmen named William P. Harris, who is also the chairman of the city’s Environmental and Public Health Committee introduced Order Number 2017-20 which read, in full:
“Be it ordained by the City Council that the Quincy Municipal Code is hereby amended as follows: In Title 10 Vehicle and Traffic, Section 8.0 Rules of the Road is hereby amended by adding the following new section: 10.08.400 Operations of Vehicles — Motorcycle Restrictions
“A. Licensed motorcycle operators are not allowed to drive between midnight and 5 a.m. unless exempted from the restricted driving hours for employment or emergency situations.
“B. Enforcement of said ordinance shall take place 30 days after public notification.
“C. Minimum penalty for first offense $250.00 repeat offenders $500.00
“D. Law enforcement or rescue vehicles excluded.”
The new law was not voted on by the Council, let alone passed. Harris pulled the measure for “further study” when it came up for discussion and vote about 20 minutes into the meeting. As of this morning, Harris’ new law was not on the agenda for any future city meetings and appears to be dead.
But it was a close call and it raises some questions that should probably be on somebody’s agenda. Like do politicians really know the difference between fantasy and reality? And should they know the difference in an age when new laws and regulations fall from the sky like hail? And, if Harris’ regulation had passed, would it have been a real law enforced by real police?
Harris is the United States Postmaster in Woburn, Massachusetts. The Aging Rebel was unable to reach him this morning to ask him where he got the idea for his motorcycle curfew.