Earlier this week, California Governor (and motorcyclist) Arnold Schwarzenegger signed into law the Motorcycle Anti-Tampering Act (SB 435), originally introduced by state Sen. Fran Pavley (D-Santa Monica).
What does this bill mean to bikers in California? It means that all motorcycles produced after January 2013 will be required to have a visible EPA stamp that ensures the exhaust is clean burning and doesn’t exceed a noise level of 80 decibels. For those bikes not displaying the stamp, fines of $100 for the first infraction and $250 for subsequent violations will be imposed.
“The noise caused by illegally modified motorcycle exhaust systems is a major quality-of-life issue across the state,” Sen. Pavley said. “Basic common sense and decency dictates that when a motorcycle drives by and sets off every car alarm on the street, it’s too loud.”
It’s interesting that motorcycles are the only target in the bill’s 80-decibel limit (which is roughly as loud as a vacuum cleaner). A point could be made that an equal amount of noise is generated on a regular basis from car alarms, police and news helicopters and loud car exhausts. Is this a case of motorcyclists being unfairly targeted again — or is it a matter of a few morons racking up their pipes in residential neighborhoods and tarnishing the reputation rest of the motorcycle community?
Regardless of how you feel about the new law, it will ensure that the state’s 800,000-plus registered motorcycle owners adhere to both noise and air pollution standards. Please leave your comments here. We’d love to hear what the motorcycle community has to say.