NYC Motorcycle Sound Devil’s Advocate
Tuesday, December 23, 2008
New York City is requiring motorcycles to ride with EPA-approved exhaust systems. What a draconian measure! Fascist liberal elites! Oh, the humanity!
Hold on. Wait a second. At the risk of getting a serious beat down for playing devil’s advocate here, let’s take a dispassionate look at the issue.
NYC wants motorcycles to run with EPA-approved exhaust? Federal law already requires all motorcycles in the USofA to sport EPA-stamped exhaust systems for on-road use. Aftermarket “track-only” systems or straight pipes are illegal. There’s no nebulous grey area here. They are illegal on public roads.
Sound is the real issue here (and in other cities passing sound restrictions, like Denver). The AMA press release on the NYC ordinance describes the new restriction as the “city’s vaguely defined 80-decibel sound limit.” This is a murky statement. Really it is the EPA’s dB limit, as a pipe must be quieter than 80dB to meet EPA-approved street-legal status.
The problem is testing the 80dB mark is a complex procedure where a bike makes various passes at a prescribed distance from a recording device in a controlled setting... Not a practical test for law enforcement after pulling over a bike for loud exhaust. The much easier solution is to pull over a loud bike and take a look at the exhaust pipe. No EPA sticker and here’s your ticket for running an illegal exhaust.
The penalty under the new NYC law would be $500-1000 for a first violation. A second violation would be $1000-2500. The third time the fine jumps up to $2500-5000. The rider could also see his bike taken away.
The AMA is upset with the NYC process and claims the law is discriminatory. The following are links to the both sides of the issue. You be the judge, but it sounds like a lawsuit’s a brewin…
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