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AMA Motorcyclist of the Year: Schwarzenegger

Wednesday, December 8, 2010
The American Motorcyclist Association (AMA) announced today its AMA Motorcyclist of the Year. Awarded annually, the AMA Motorcyclist of the Year designation recognizes the person(s) who has had the most profound impact on the world of motorcycling, for better or worse, in the previous 12 months.

For 2010, that distinction belongs to outgoing California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, whose signature on a controversial law will have far-reaching and potentially harmful effects on the motorcycling community nationwide.

With no fanfare, Schwarzenegger signed a poorly crafted bill on Sept. 28 that fundamentally changes how California will regulate motorcycle exhaust systems. The new law also maps a path for the rest of the country, as other state and local lawmakers look for their own answers to address excessive motorcycle sound. The full story is in the January 2011 issue of American Motorcyclist magazine, the journal of the AMA.

American Motorcyclist Association
"Gov. Schwarzenegger signed a piece of legislation that has rocked the motorcycling world, and will impact motorcyclists in other states as well for years to come," said AMA President and CEO Rob Dingman. "This makes him the logical choice for the 2010 AMA Motorcyclist of the Year."

The legislation, California Senate Bill 435, the Motorcycle Anti-Tampering Act, requires every new motorcycle or aftermarket exhaust system built starting in 2013 to carry a stamp on the exhaust certifying that it meets federal Environmental Protection Agency sound requirements. For most motorcycles, the law is a de-facto OEM (original equipment manufacturer) exhaust mandate because the federal standard was not designed for aftermarket manufacturers, and compliance for the scores of low-volume production models now on the market is extremely problematic.

The AMA has long advocated reasonable measures be adopted for the regulation of excessive motorcycle sound, and cites the Society of Automotive Engineers J2825 motorcycle sound testing procedure as the most fair, economical and practical solution to the problem vexing communities nationwide.

"The California law is a poorly crafted piece of legislation that's discriminatory and does little to address the core problem of excessive sound from all sources, not just motorcycles," Dingman said. "Rather than objectively regulate offensive noise, this law creates all sorts of problems for riders, law enforcement and aftermarket manufacturers."

An EPA certification label is no guarantee of sound compliance, and the lack of a label is no guarantee that an exhaust is too loud. The only way to know if a motorcycle exhaust is compliant is to test its actual sound output, Dingman noted.

"As a motorcyclist, Gov. Schwarzenegger should have known better," Dingman said. "Now California's motorcyclists, as well as key segments of our industry, are going to be negatively impacted."

Currently, only two aftermarket manufacturers offer EPA-sound-stamped exhaust systems for a handful of late-model Harley-Davidsons. The process of certification is complex and expensive. For the millions of owners whose motorcycle models were made in relatively small numbers, the requirement to replace an aging exhaust system with an expensive OEM system is onerous and discriminatory. Owners of automobiles and trucks don't have to meet the same standard, and they can buy less expensive replacement exhaust systems at local muffler shops.

Schwarzenegger's selection as AMA Motorcyclist of the Year was reinforced by California's position as a role model for the rest of the country.

"In many cases, we've seen other states follow California's legislative lead on a number of issues," Dingman said. "There's no reason to think that trend won't continue with respect to S.B. 435. With the stroke of his pen, Gov. Schwarzenegger significantly altered the motorcycling landscape for motorcyclists everywhere, and this is the reason why his selection as AMA Motorcyclist of the Year is so impactful."

The full story of Schwarzenegger's involvement with motorcycling goes beyond S.B. 435, and is detailed in the January issue of American Motorcyclist. Schwarzenegger has, during his tenure, been an ally of motorcycling with key appointments to decision-making committees that deal with off-highway riding issues, as an example. In addition, as a known motorcyclist himself, Schwarzenegger has drawn attention to motorcycling and, after a high-profile crash in 2006, the need for proper motorcycle licensing.

"We will continue to work with municipal governments and state legislatures to implement reasonable measures, such as the SAE J2825 standard, to address excessive motorcycle sound," said Dingman. "But we now have the added burden of showing how California's new measure is not an effective solution, and we have Gov. Schwarzenegger to thank for that."

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Mack -Admirer of integrety  January 22, 2011 04:41 PM
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger did a great service to the non riding public who have been blasted with illegally modified motorcycles for years. Loud pipes are illegal and the Federal law that sets the noise emission standards have been in place for 27 years. Those properly manufactured and certified exhaust systems are so quiet that loud pipers can't stand them and replace them with loud after market exhausts that were not properly manufactured or certified. The after market industry, like their noisy customers, noticed that the states were not enforcing the Federal regulations, ignored the regulations, and jumped at the chance to supply motorcyclists with non compliant exhausts to make all the noise they want. Twenty seven years is too long to put up with this crap. It's time to enforce the regulations that were developed to keep motorcycles quiet. It's time to have all the states enforce the Federal regulations. California has started the ball rolling. Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger is a super hero.
Papa Juliet -Quiet American  December 12, 2010 08:46 AM
Kudos to the Governator. If the motorcycle community could've regulate themselves we wouldn't be in this mess. But the truth is the chopper culture has run roughshod over everyone's right to be free from illegal and invasive noise in the pursuit of their silly "lifestyle". The funniest quote in this article is from Mr Dingman, "The only way to know if a motorcycle exhaust is compliant is to test its actual sound output". That's nonsense. One can tell if a motorcycle is compliant just be hearing the deafening roar. The Chopper Culture has brought this upon themselves. People are tired of the nonsense from this loud, childish special-interest group. Here's another quote: "We need to lead by example and convey the that it is totally unacceptable to ride an obnoxiously loud machine. Next, we have to stop installing unmuffled exhaust systems on our bikes." - AMA CEO Mr. Rob Dingman And: http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/niceandquiet
MR Indecisive -I have mixed reactions to this California law and the general concept of it all  December 11, 2010 01:41 PM
Loud pipes are one thing and ridiculously loud pipes are another. I have heard both. I like loud (to a point) and have had my ears hurt by ridiculously loud pipes as the guy passed by in our hometown less than 100 feet from me. Yes, it literally caused pain for a few seconds.

While loud pipes may help save lives by "announcing your presence" or something like that, that is much better achieved by proper driving techniques such as lane position, distance, proper reflective riding gear, use of the turn signals, horn, and so on.

Perhaps it is a good idea to put limits on the OEM and after market pipes of all brands that are easily measurable with accurate results just as many cities have noise ordinances for audio systems that are overly loud (exceeding the local limit based on measured SPL (sound pressure level) within a certain distance via a properly functioning meter used properly by a competently trained authority (police officer, state inspection technician, etc.) I say that for one reason: we (motorcyclists) (I hope) should want to promote a positive and socially acceptable means of transportation and recreation that does not disturb the peace or worse as that inherently would cast a very negative light onto all of us. It also would have to be written into law that the measured SPL is at idle with the engine fully warmed up and not when revved as that would vary widely by brand of bike, pipes, if they are factory or after market, if either version has been modified by the owner or dealer, etc. It will get and become complicated. Motorcyclists riding all brands and models will get pulled over, checked, ticketed, harassed, etc. What will they do ... have motorcycle exhaust noise level check stations like there are for trucks with their weight ? God help us.
mcguire -sewer rat  December 10, 2010 08:38 AM
I read in a magazine that was testing a Brammo electric bike and they commented that they had several close calls due to the bike being silent. My Aprilia came with a carbon fiber muffler from the factory, do I have to replace it with the same even though it is not manufactured by Aprilia? If the idea was noise reduction why didn't they set a db limit and give officers a hand held db meter like they use at the local motorcross track here?
woodco100 -Arnold  December 10, 2010 04:51 AM
Gov, please just leave and "Dont come back"
caponord -loud pipes  December 9, 2010 04:45 PM
loud pipes are not needed and do not save lives.There are other ways to get noticed or inducing safety.How about staying far away from the car infront of you.Or wearing brighter colors,to be seen.Staying clear of traffic is my favorite,zigzaging in and out of traffic is not the safe way to ride.Grow up
ceosurfer -how loud is too loud  December 9, 2010 04:26 PM
How loud is too loud. Are any of the pipes out now worthy of this stamp? Is my Leo too loud? Are we talking akra loud or D&D loud???

Some tracks have noise regulations, like Laguna but thats just because rich F's moved to the track which was there first! Most tracks don't. Dude making this point probably doesn't do to many track days. Laguna is the only track in cali that has a noise reg as far as i know.
Ducman -Loud pipes endanger lane splitters  December 9, 2010 02:55 PM
As someone who frequently splits lanes in California, I find the concept of "kicking doors" and sounding off with "loud pipes" incredibly stupid and dangerous. The stealth approach works best. I don't want the cars I am about to split see me. All it takes is some driver who is pissed-off at the loud-pipe A-hole who just passed him, to try and take it out on the next lane splitter. In the last decade, the only problem I have had lane-splitting is with Harleys and Harley clones. These guys won't get out of the way if you come up behind them when splitting. I always pull over to let a faster splitter get by, and expect others to do the same. It's only the cruiser riders who insist on hogging the split, and going slow (while making a god-awful amount of noise).
AQA -Really arnold???  December 9, 2010 02:07 PM
Schwarzenegger has shown that he is a musclehead who obviously didn't give this an independant thought but caved to uninformed constituents. What a disappointment.
kevin -the whole point here  December 9, 2010 01:44 PM
Is that sound tests, regulations, etc. shouldn't be motorcycle specific. I live near a busy road that has traffic 24/7. The vast majority of the obnoxiously loud exhausts are on these stupid little junker Honda Civics, Nissan Sentra's, old as dirt Mazda RX7's etc. Guys who think they are in a real life sequel to Fast and the Furious. Every 8th or 9th time I hear a loud exhaust it is from a motorcycle. So if this law were effective, from where I sit, it would only address 11 or 12 percent of the offensive exhaust noise.

California is sinking under debt, the economy is crap, and this is the kind of legilation they are focusing on? Politicians suck. Schwarzenegger sucks.
CFP -Harley riders to blame  December 9, 2010 11:12 AM
I grew up right next to one of L.A. county's most traveled Sunday ride routes, and I lived near a popular freeway onramp for a number of years. Due to their low-frequency clatter, no bike is louder than the aforementioned Harley Davidson pushrod V-twin with aftermarket loud pipes. Even a japanese liter-bike with straight pipes doesn't come close. And the sound serves no purpose, except to grab attention of onlookers, and look and sound "badass." I'd really love to see a DB test of some of those bikes. If an MX 450 puts out 100 DB's WITH a muffler, loud-piped harleys must be up at 125 db's or more. So, thanks, "bikers." Your loud pipes have destroyed motorcycling.
Richard Witt -Riding since 1972  December 9, 2010 10:46 AM
Ahhh, now I see who's going to be the next head honcho of the AMA. And I was afraid the big guy was going to be out of work like the other 600k folks in CA, yep...he'll be back.
shnapper -Funny  December 9, 2010 08:40 AM
I agree with all who said "WHAT A JOKE"!!
Super Dude -Mr  December 9, 2010 08:40 AM
Arnold this is a s**te decision. People in cars often don't notice motorcycleists and then endanger them. How bout allowing bikers to have nice loud exhausts for saftey reasons.

Do we need to wear fluorescent roadworker jackets to be noticed and safe? Ok if you take our loud pipes away let us install air horns that we can toot on approach to any intersection or in heavy traffic to scare the daylights out of cage dwellers. then they might notice us
Woodco100 -wasn't he the one..  December 9, 2010 07:59 AM
who wrecked without a helmet and no endorsement. But of course was not charged. I guess laws do not apply to him.

I have stopped buying ANY prodcut out of Cali.
jonoabq -doh!  December 9, 2010 07:39 AM
Non-stock pipes, fine...but over the top obnoxiously loud pipes? Sorry, you were given and inch, took a mile and this is what you get. Not that I agree with the legislation but as an industry and as individuals you had this coming.
Casey -he's got my vote  December 8, 2010 09:04 PM
I'm siding with the governator on this one. Motorcycle racing organizations have sound caps on their motorcycles competing, and even at track days, if you're too loud, you're out of luck. It's only a matter of time till the other states either adopt this or did it themselves. I like people to see me from how cool my bike looks or my gear or something... not from the sound of my obnoxious bike. That only attracts bad attention and gives me a bad rep. The only bikes that deserve to be RIDICULOUSLY LOUD are MOTOGP bikes... and let's face it.. they don't have license plates and headlights..
Shaitan -Poop  December 8, 2010 08:57 PM
Arnold + Governor = POOP
smokey strodtman -Is the AMA losing its' mind?  December 8, 2010 07:52 PM
This is the most asinine choice I have ever seen for Motorcyclist Of The Year. Maybe Time magazine can pick Osama Bin Laden for their Person Of The Year next. The Governator has done irrepairable harm to motorcyclists everywhere with this bill. A simple sound test could be given to determine if a motorcycle is too loud. What if you own a dresser and the EPA stamp is covered by the saddlebags? Will you have to do a roadside teardown to show the Man that stamp?
By the way, I don't own a Harley and my bike does not have an excessively loud exhaust system. I do believe we must stand together on this issue, however. There are plenty of other loud vehicles on the road: cars with boom box stereos, pickup trucks with loud pipes, trucks with jake brakes. Are they going to ticket every train that comes through town blasting its' horn?
IMO the AMA went way downhill when it brought in Rob Dingman and let many of its' veteran employees go. This is coming from a 32 year life member, by the way. There were many deserving people in the rights movement that they could have picked this year. Schwarzeneggar doen't deserve the award.

Albert N. Bradshaw IV - Maintenance Man  December 8, 2010 07:35 PM
I would like to hear from or see a small piece writen on the "pros, and the cons," of swithing the majority of the off road, closed course machines to four stroke. Space and time doesn't permit me to attempt this task at this time. I am no professional, nor do I feel "in the know," I have just gainded some observation from magazines and online content. I ask one question about noise from bikes. Was noise a big problem as it is now when most of the off-road, and MX models were two strokes?? I can understand that when the AMA let four strokes cheat to be competative, there was no way they could have forseen aspects like noise, and cost. From the noise perspective, this has caused the elimination of some of the riding ares. Cost has reducing the involvment in the sport of dirt bike riding, and racing. Some who would have been involved cannot aford it any more.
bikerrandy -loud MC exhausts  December 8, 2010 06:49 PM
Thank all the HD riders with aftermarket loud pipes for this. Don't buy a 2013 or newer MC if you live in Kalifornia and laugh at this new law if your pipes aren't stock. Or leave the State for good. I already have.
Madfoxx -MC Squared  December 8, 2010 04:30 PM
Arnold has earned a new meaning to the title "Terminator"
CBR Cappy -hmmm  December 8, 2010 04:29 PM
Well with my bike in mind i have a CBR 600 and well i depend on that SO CALLED LOAD NOISE to make other cars around me know HAY IM OVER HERE!!!!! i mean MY GOD they dont pay attention now and dont care if were on the road or not.... but believe me when i say if they get to close i i grab a handfull of throtel THEY KNOW IM THERE NOW at about 14,ooo RPM's Baby :) :) have had many close calls and have KICKED many doors or i wouldnt be alive today.. they need to be louder in IMO or something else put into place so they can see and here us...

just my 2¢