Motorcycle Noise Bill on Governor's Desk

Categories: Transportation
Would the T-101 have abided by a motorcycle noise reduction bill?
California doesn't have a budget, but it may soon have quieter choppers.

A bill aimed at cutting down the din of motorcycles passed out of the state Senate yesterday. If Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger -- who owns more than a few motorcycles and famously rode one around on film -- signs AB 435, it would require motorcycles sold in this state after Jan. 1, 2013 to display and maintain noise-reduction labels from the Environmental Protection Agency.

This bill, interestingly, started out as a measure to enforce state-mandated motorcycle smog checks. But, over the course of eight rounds of amendments, it evolved from an emissions bill to a noise emissions bill.

Incidentally, the state vehicle code already sets limits on how loud a motorcycle may be (86 decibels, tops). And the San Francisco Police periodically crack down on cyclists who have altered their rides to emit roars of 95 decibels or more.

Hopefully no Oakland cops motor over here -- the Oakland Police Department made headlines in 2008 when it adjusted its fleet of Harley-Davidsons to run louder out of so-called safety concerns. But at 93 decibels, it would appear the boys in blue blurred the line between safety and illegality -- let alone deafness.

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