California Gov. Signs Bill vs. Aftermarket Pipes

September 29, 2010
Bryan Harley
Bryan Harley
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Our resident road warrior has earned his stripes covering the rally circuit, from riding the Black Hills of Sturgis to cruising Main Street in Daytona Beach. Whether it's chopped, bobbed, or bored, metric to 'Merican, he rides 'em all.

California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger signed Senate Bill 435 yesterday that will authorize state law enforcement to ticket motorcyclists who have swapped out their stock pipes for non-EPA-approved aftermarket exhaust. The new law will make it a
Arnie rides South Korean high-speed rail.
California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger signed a bill yesterday targeting aftermarket motorcycle exhausts that don’t meet EPA noise and emission standards.

crime to operate a motorcycle manufactured after January 1, 2013, that does not meet federal noise-emission standards. Motorcycles will be required to display a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) label certifying that the exhaust system is clean burning and does not exceed 80 decibels. First-time offenders will face fines up to $100 while subsequent infractions can run up to $250.

The bill is meant to target motorcyclists who remove federally mandated, factory-installed emission control devices and replace them with custom aftermarket parts. Aftermarket pipes generally increase power output, but they are also usually louder and less environmental-friendly. The EPA’s position states that the legislation is “aimed at quieting the deafening roar of modified rides and at reducing emissions.”

The bill was proposed by Sen. Fran Pavley, D-Agoura Hills, who claims that residents in her district have complained about the noise from motorcyclists who enjoy riding through the twisting roads and canyons of Malibu, Calabasas and Agoura Hills.

California has 826,000 registered motorcycles. How this will affect motorcycle dealerships, aftermarket suppliers, custom motorcycle builders and motorcycling tourism is up to speculation.

Companies like Cobra USA, who makes high performance motorcycle exhausts and is based in Yorba Linda, California, said it will take a pro-active approach to the situation and will work with local governments and entities like the Motorcycle Industry Council to make a more “responsible pipe.”

Schwarzenegger, the man who signed the legislation into law, ironically is an avid motorcyclist who reportedly has a collection of motorcycles and has been known to frequent the same Malibu hills Pavley says her complaints come from. Whether his motorcycles meet federal noise requirements is unknown.

The times, they are a-changin’. Used to be the rally cry was “Loud Pipes Save Lives.” Nowadays, though, it’s “Loud Pipes Risk Rights.”

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