End Obnoxious Motorcycle Noise by Enforcing Muffler Laws

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Your baby is sleeping at home when suddenly disturbed, awakened and starts crying by what sounds like a squadron of Apache helicopters rumbling over your house. 

You are sitting on the patio of a nice street-side café when it becomes impossible to hear your friend, or think about anything else other than what sounds like twenty World War 2 tanks rolling down the street.

You are getting married at a nice hillside venue just outside of Los Angeles when all of the sudden it sounds like an earthquake and a raging mudslide combined rolling down the hill.

These are a few examples of precious life moments ruined by illegally modified motorcycle mufflers.

The 17-time Emmy award winners, multiple Tony award winners behind the 'Book of Mormon', and grammy recipients, and creators of the the television cartoon South Park, Matt Stone and Trey Parker, captured what every single one of us thinks when motorcycles come rumbling through town. Here is the opening clip, http://southpark.cc.com/clips/254812/getting-away-from-it-all#source=473fef35-48a7-434c-afc6-207874c7f1a3:22968a5a-ed01-11e0-aca6-0026b9414f30&position=1&sort=playlist

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We, the citizens of Los Angeles and Ventura Counties, have nothing against LEGAL motorcycles, we are simply asking that Law Enforcement enforce the already existing muffler laws (VC 2510 & SB 435).  

If you are sick of being disturbed by what sounds like a warzone, the obnoxious noise pollution from illegal motorcycles, then please sign this petition. 

And most importantly, if you believe that no one is above the law then please sign this petition.  

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FAQ

Are there any existing laws that give law enforcement the authority to cite obnoxiously loud motorcyclists?

Yes.  VC-27151 and SB 435 make it illegal to ride an obnoxiously loud motorcycle. 

What type of enforcement shall be taken against vehicles emitting excessive noise? 

From CHP Bulletin 98-100: “Providing none of the disqualifying conditions listed in 40610 (b) are present, the use of CHP 281, “Notice to Correct,” or checking the Dismissible Violation “Yes” box on the CHP 215, “Notice to Appear (Arrest Citation),” would be appropriate for these violations.”

CHP Bulletin 98-100: http://www.bobsmuffler.com/chp.htm

Why are some motorcycles so loud and others are not?  

All newly manufactured motorcycles leave the dealer’s lot with an EPA certified muffler that is both state and federally required to limit exhaust emissions to 80 decibel levels.  But some motorcycle owners decide to then illegally modify their muffler to obnoxiously loud levels.

Why were the EPA, Federal and State Laws created in the first place?  

There are thousands of noise laws across the country for good reason. Because it’s a quality of life issue. Those laws protect us from noise.

For those who remember when smoking was allowed in airplanes and restaurants - this was an accepted form of pollution that has been eradicated. So, let’s enforce noise pollution laws too.  It is not "delusional" to complain about hearing the roar of motorcycles, just like it’s not “delusional” to complain about being stuck on a plane with the overpowering smell of cigarette smoke or second-hand smoke while you eat your lunch.

Why do police say that they can’t do anything about it?

"I do know that vehicular noise enforcement is NOT complicated and I have a 99.8% conviction rate for all noise citations coming before me for adjudication. Police Officers simply have to get off their butts and do their job...problem solved!!!" - Rick Holtsclaw, a retired Houston Police Officer.  

But law enforcement says that they need a decibel (DB) meter to pull over a motorcycle and they don’t have DB meters?

CHP Bulletin 98-100, VC 27151 and SB 435 do not mention the requirement of a DB meter to pull over a motorcycle.  The enforcement guidelines of CHP Bulletin 98-100 are as follows:

“The only drivers who should be cited are those whose vehicles:

1)    are not equipped with a muffler

2)    clearly emit an offensive, harsh, excessive noise, or;

3)    have a clearly defective exhaust system (holes, leaks, etc.)”

The bulletin goes on to instruct its officers to listen to the vehicle:

“Do I actually have to listen to a vehicle to cite it for a violation of either Section 27150 or 27151?

Yes.  Drivers of vehicles should not be cited for violation of either Section 27150 or 27151 VC unless the officer has personally listened to the vehicle in operation.  This can be either under actual driving conditions or with the vehicle stationary and the engine running.  Even if the officer has inspected the exhaust system and does not see a muffler present, the officer should listen to the vehicle.” 

What about SB 435, the Motorcycle Anti-Tampering Act passed in 2010?  

Whereas VC 27151 gives offers Law Enforcement Officers the ability to pull over a motorcycle if it sounds obnoxiously loud (“clearly emitting an offensive, harsh, excessive noise”), and then cite them with a fix-it-ticket, SB 435 adds more teeth to the citation. 

Prior to SB 435 an officer could pull over a motorcyclist if the officer think’s the exhaust is too loud, and cite them as long as one of the following is true:

1)    not equipped with a muffler

2)    clearly emitting an offensive, harsh, excessive noise, or;

3)    have a clearly defective exhaust system (holes, leaks, etc.) and thanks to SB 435, a fourth law can now be added:

4)    not equipped with a readily-visible EPA stamp that certifies federal emissions compliance (for motorcycles or after-market exhaust system equipment manufactured after 2013)

If the EPA muffler is in fact there, then the motorcyclist only gets cited for a fix-it-ticket for one of the other three above mentioned laws. 

Is there a big motorcycle lobby changing the noise laws so that they can have maintain and have louder motorcycles?

Yes, and they are dangerously powerful enough to change our state’s laws.  Before 1980, ANY modifications that made the factory equipped motorcycle louder were ILLEGAL, but the motorcycle lobby succeeded with a small text change and limited the efficacy of the law.

Instead of Section 27151 VC prohibiting all modifications that increase the noise level of the exhaust system over that of the factory-installed motorcycle exhaust system (as it did until 1980) Section 27151 VC was changed to only prohibit the modification of the exhaust system to amplify or increase the noise emitted by the vehicle….. making the vehicle not in compliance with section 27150 VC or exceeding the noise limits established in Sections 27201-27206 VC.

It’s just a small text change, but one that allows the motorcyclist to defraud the court in the following way: The motorcyclist gets pulled over and cited for a) clearly emitting an offensive, harsh, excessive noise, or b) lack of a muffler, or c) a clearly defective exhaust system, and is cited with a fix-it-ticket to correct the deficient exhaust system.  Then the violator will correct the deficiency by simply reinstalling the factory installed muffler, get the fix-it-ticket signed off, and then simply reinstall the illegal equipment that got them the ticket in the first place…. and then measure the decibel level with a DB meter and get it dismissed in court.  Then, the violator will simply reinstall the illegal equipment that got them the ticket in the first place.   

Furthermore, the motorcycle lobby cut the funding for the Muffler Certification and the Licensed Muffler Certification Station Programs in 1979. 

More recently, Senator Fran Pavley submitted her bill SB 435, the Motorcycle Anti-Tampering Act, but the motorcycle lobby watered down the original bill, which had teeth.  The original bill made it a violation to not have a readily-visible EPA stamp that certifies federal emissions compliance for all motorcycles manufactured after 1985 (this is the year the EPA made it a law that all manufactures must certify that their mufflers do not exceed a decibel level over 80 dBa).  Instead, the motorcycle lobby was successful in changing it to “motorcycles manufactured after 2013” – exempting the majority of motorcycles on our highways. 

In addition, the motorcycle lobby was successful in reducing the ticket from a proposed $300 fine to a $50 fine, and removing the moving violation that goes as a point against your driving record to a simple fix-it-ticket and lastly removing the biennial smog-check for motorcycles.

According to the Air Resources Board, which backed the smog-check version of SB 435, motorcycles account for less than 1% of vehicle-miles traveled in the state yet account for 10% of passenger vehicles' smog-forming emissions; swapping a compliant tailpipe equipped with a catalytic converter for one without emissions controls can emit as many as 10 times more smog-forming pollutants per mile.

Senator Fran Pavley should be commended for at least getting SB 435 signed into law despite the powerful motorcycle lobby successfully weakening the bill.  At least someone is sticking their neck out against the powerful lobby and moving the ball forward.

 



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