Nov 052010

Last 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 (which is roughly as loud as a vacuum cleaner).  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.


Written by Patrick Garvin – J&P Cycles

Patrick started working for J&P in April 2008 as a product specialist in the purchasing department. He now toils in e-commerce, where he utilizes social media, analyzes product performance, and lends motorcycle technical knowledge to the website. Before working at J&P Cycles, Patrick owned and operated a speed shop where he specialized largely in fuel injection and power adders (nitrous and turbo). Patrick started out riding Harleys but has since branched out into Sport Bikes. He currently has a 1976 Suzuki GT 250 café racer and an everyday rider — an extensively modified, nitrous-injected ZX-10R. Patrick is married and has a son, whom he loves riding dirt bikes with; he also likes sports, finding twisty roads with no speed limit, and spending time with his family.

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