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New California Law Will Require EPA Sound Emissions Labels On Motorcycle Exhaust Systems

Sep 30, 2010, From a press release issued by American Motorcyclist Association:
PICKERINGTON, Ohio -- A new California law requires street motorcycles registered in the state and built on or after Jan. 1, 2013, to have an exhaust system label certifying the motorcycles meet federal sound limits, the American Motorcyclist Association (AMA) reports.

On Sept. 28, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger signed into law Senate Bill 435, sponsored by Sen. Fran Pavey (D-Agoura Hills). While motorcycle manufacturers have been complying with the federal law since it was effective in 1983, the new law now makes it a state crime to operate any motorcycle registered in the state that was built on or after Jan. 1, 2013, that doesn't have a federal Environmental Protection Agency exhaust system sound emissions label.

In addition, the law requires aftermarket exhaust systems made on or after Jan. 1, 2013, to display the EPA sound emissions label, and therefore applies to individuals who seek to replace the exhaust system on affected streetbikes.

To view the legislation, see http://info.sen.ca.gov/pub/09-10/bill/sen/sb_0401-0450/sb_435_bill_20100928_chaptered.html.

Thousands of motorcyclists utilized the AMA website at AmericanMotorcyclist.com first to oppose the bill, and then to urge Schwarzenegger to reject it.

AMA Western States Representative Nick Haris expressed major concerns about the new law.

"Many EPA labels are very difficult to locate on motorcycles," Haris said. "This law could lead to a flurry of tickets for motorcyclists who have legal exhaust systems with EPA labels on their machines that can't be easily seen. It's unreasonable to expect a law enforcement officer to easily locate an EPA label, and it's simply unfair to expect a motorcycle owner to partially dismantle an exhaust system along the roadside to prove the label exists."

Violators face fines of up to $100 for a first offense and up to $250 for subsequent offenses. Judges have the discretion to dismiss the fine for first-time offenders if the violation is corrected.

Also, a violation is considered a secondary offense, meaning a police officer can't stop a motorcyclist solely because the officer believes the motorcyclist is breaking the sound emissions label law.

"Requiring that a motorcycle display a readily visible EPA label isn't the appropriate way to address concerns about excessive motorcycle sound, which the AMA has pointed out repeatedly," Haris said. "The only objective way to determine whether a motorcycle complies with sound laws is for properly trained personnel to conduct sound level tests using calibrated meters and an agreed-upon testing procedure."

In 1972, Congress passed the federal Noise Control Act, which required the EPA to set sound standards for a number of products. It took several years, but the EPA eventually wrote rules affecting all new motorcycles sold in the U.S. beginning in 1983.

Those regulations, which still stand today, required that all street-legal motorcycles be limited to 83 decibels at that time, with a stricter, 80-decibel limit imposed beginning in 1986.

The AMA has long maintained a position of strong opposition to excessive motorcycle sound. In September 2009, the AMA developed model legislation for use by cities and states seeking a simple, consistent and economical way to deal with sound complaints related to on-highway motorcycles within the larger context of excessive sound from all sources.

The model legislation offers an objective method to evaluate motorcycle sound based on the Society of Automotive Engineers' (SAE) J2825 standard, "Measurement of Exhaust Sound Pressure Levels of Stationary On-Highway Motorcycles." For more information, click here: http://www.americanmotorcyclist.com/legisltn/Model_On_Highway_Sound_Ordinance.pdf.
 

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I definitely don't mind putting a cap on some bad apples. Not sure how sensitive they'll be -- hopefully they don't harass the aftermarket pipe good guys who don't wake up all of the neighbors!
 

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This will also not stop people from modding their stock exhausts (with EPA label) instead of replacing it with aftermarket ones.
 

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This law seems very specific or could be seen as discriminatory. What I mean is - the problem isn't motorcycles is it? The problem is with modded combustion engines, not how many wheels are on the chassis.. There's plenty of honda civics etc out there with cheap noisy pipes.. It seems very short sighted to write a law that should encompass all vehicles to target only one type of vehicle.. The type of vehicle has nothing to do with it really...

I really like my RG3's they have a sweet note without being offensive in casual riding situations.

what about the clowns with stereos so loud I feel my lunch bouncing around in my stomach as they drive by? that's 10x more annoying than an aftermarket exhaust. I guess there's a law for that too but I seldom see it enforced.
 

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This law seems very specific or could be seen as discriminatory. What I mean is - the problem isn't motorcycles is it? The problem is with modded combustion engines, not how many wheels are on the chassis.. There's plenty of honda civics etc out there with cheap noisy pipes.. It seems very short sighted to write a law that should encompass all vehicles to target only one type of vehicle.. The type of vehicle has nothing to do with it really...
This is exactly the AMA's position...but we weren't heard over the voices of the pissed off legislators who have heard one too many open pipe Harleys ride by.

Yep, you could gut your OEM muffler and be legal it would seem.

This is just the first wave of laws folks....we knew it was coming, but the loud pipes fans didn't care to listen (maybe they can't hear anymore?).
 

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A part of me is saying, "It's about time!"

EZ-Q,
You're dead-on with your comments. This could easily become a slippery slope. However, California has a law on the books for noisy auto stereo systems. If you've spent any time in that state, you'll believe it's a law rarely enforced. Sometimes I think these laws are a knee-jerk response to someone complaining. But I would love to see the "noisy" law applied to all cars and motorcycles (including vehicular audio). Especially when it's 1:30 am and some tool things it's cool to speed around in first gear so we can all be "impressed" by his overwhelming horse power.
 

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Discussion Starter #13

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If loud pipes save lives there are going to be a lot of dead Harley riders.
Word. Funny how the Governator rides a hog... I'm HAPPY this law got passed. Hoping the Harley guys get nailed first. So. Freaking. Annoying.
 

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This sort of thing has been in force across Europe for years. Just about every component on a new vehicle has to be marked with an 'EU' complance symbol - usually stamped in during manufacture. Lights, exhaust, horn, brakes, tyres etc.
It keeps a lid on truly excessive systems as it's an invitation for the Police to stop and check when it can be heard coming from 2 miles. It's also an offence for a manufacturer to produce an illegal system for road use - hence all silencers are stamped with either the correct codes or 'Not For Road Use'. As soon as the cops see these words you're stuffed, no point in claiming the label is hidden on the other side.
£60 fine plus 3 points on your licence for most offences (12 points means no licence for a year).
 

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I hope this law puts an end to those FUCKERS with straight pipes on their bikes!!!!

Loud pipes don't save lives.... they make people deaf!!!
 

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Whether your pipes have the EPA stamp on them or not is not the question. All law inforcement will be given a db. meter and will test randomly. It's a new reason to pull over a "suspicious" looking bike or rider. This may only affect bikes manufactured after 2013 but law inforcement can't determine what year your machine is as you ride by at a questionable speed. Sure, you can gut your stock cans and they may have the EPA approval on them BUT now you have to pass the db. meter.

In South Dakota we call that harassment.
 

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Loud pipes have saved me many times...BUT...I do admit that there is a balancing act required to determine what is loud and sounds good - compared to those that just annoy the hell out of everyone including your neighbours.
I respect my neighbours (do unto others etc) and also ensure I leave and arrive at a pace that keeps the noise to a minimum - but frankly, riding out on the open roads with the drivers who don't have a f*cking clue what a rear mirror is or indicators....I'm particularly glad that they can hear me approaching which forces them to look. (...and I always give a thankyou wave to drivers who move that 6-12 inches for a little extra passing space)
 

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Cruiser - didn't mean to talk about "loud pipes" to include the typical pipes exhaust upgrades that sportbikers commonly use: termi, arrow, leo vince, yoshimura etc ... or even upgraded pipes for the harley bikes that may "improve" sound. It does make sense, and is important that other motorists hear us coming.

However, I was alluding to those guys that use absolutely straight pipes, with no attempt AT ALL to abate sound, but oppositely to MAXIMIZE sound. There is a logical difference. Those who equip their bikes so as to have a specific intent to maximize sound don't realize that the sound transmits backwards and literally deafen those behind, at ANY speed. Perhaps it may be hypocritical of me to call them a bunch of selfish fuckers since I have enjoyed using arrows, termis, yoshimura etc on my bikes, but in my opinion, the difference between common upgraded exhausts and straight pipes are very significant! Just my $0.02.
 
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