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Running on Fumes

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…

http://webdocs.nyccouncil.info/attachments/86212.htm  
http://www.motorcycle-usa.com/2/1928/Motorcycle-Article/NY-City-Council-Targets-Motorcycle-Sound.aspx  

Post Tags: NYC Motorcycles, Motorcycle Sound Rules
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Comments
WilCon -Exhaust December 30, 2008 10:36 AM
One of the issues that the AMA has is that if you are not a resident in NYC you can be ticketed. So in effect the NYC law would have extremely far reaching consequences. Want to take a trip North through NYC? Don't do it if you're bike isn't stock. Yet I can take my modified street car and drive around all I want?
Jaime -Stupid law December 30, 2008 07:09 AM
The problem is, the police can ticket PARKED MOTORCYCLES without ever hearing what it sounds like when it's running! Every Buell I've owned has had a mild steel muffler that rusts in no time since I live on Long Island surrounded by the Sound on the north, and the Atlantic Ocean to the south. That's a lot of corrosive salt sea air that very quickly turns these expensive mufflers to crap in no time. The only solution has been for me to order a European "e-certified" stainless exhaust system. These meet the tough European noise laws, but do NOT have an EPA stamp on them. They're quiet, but by the NYC law, they'll end up getting ticketed ANYWAY. It's not like automobiles where I can get an EPA certified aftermarket muffler at any Midas or Meineke. The only alternative to the rusting metal OEM exhausts IS the aftermarket.
busbikerx -exhaust December 26, 2008 02:46 PM
how do you keep the epa sticker from burning if it is on the pipe?
N1 Qualified Man -Communism December 25, 2008 10:32 AM
NYC is turning pinko. Next we'll be riding 400cc bikes like the Japs. I thought this was America, people! This is a budget shortfall issue, nothing more; anyone who's ever been to NYC knows that. It's the loud garbage trucks, the sirens from the cops, and the horns from pissed off cabbies every two seconds that are the problem. Loud bikes are probably less than 1% of the noise pollution. Probably way less since the riding season is very short, anyway. This is why people are hoarding guns and ammo right now. The Gov't has lost it's mind.
jay -exhuast law is draconian December 24, 2008 05:01 AM
the problem is simple, you could have a legal 80db exhuast on yoru bike but not want to put a factory installed replacement, but a generic brand, problem is that under the law ONLY A FACTORY REPLACEMENT is allowed, so even if your Honda has a LEGAL KAWASAKI exhaust canister making it 80db you still get ticketed and towed. its a completely arbitrary law that is done for one reason LAZINESS, if the Police do the job correctly and measure DB correctly then this law is not needed, but bc people are lazy they want this law.
Robert Arce -The exhaust sound wars December 23, 2008 05:46 PM
Every thing on my k7 gsxr 1000 is after market,well I might to just sent it to daytona beach to my mothers house or just use it as a track bike.I have ten grand into it ,and stock exhaust was sent to the bin.The begging of the end, companys wont make money in NY.We spend money hidden from our wifes and girl friends, a thousand on a cedit card then two moths later it will be 2 grand.Now with the exhaust gone I wont be buying no more after market.It be like a cold war, in the 80sThe right to bear after market exhaust war has begun