A California State Assembly committee has endorsed legislation that would to require motorcyclists in the Golden State to have an EPA-compliant exhaust system on their 2011 or newer motorcycles. Two days ago the Committee on Transportation approved Senate Bill 435 with an 8-4 vote, which would make it illegal to operate a 2011 or newer motorcycle with an exhaust system that doesn’t have an EPA label that certifies it as meeting noise limit standards. According to the bill, riders would incur a “fix it” ticket if caught without their EPA exhaust sticker if the bill came into law.
The American Motorcyclist Association opposes the bill on the grounds that it improperly address a legitimate issue. “Many EPA labels are very difficult to locate on motorcycles,” said AMA Western States Representative Nick Haris. “This proposed law could lead to a flurry of tickets for motorcyclists who have legal exhaust systems on their machines with EPA labels 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 alongside the road to prove the label exists.
The AMA has been running an active anti-excessive loud exhaust campaign recently, in an effort to better community ties between riders and non-riders. With better means of regulation available to the State of California, the AMA hopes that together with the Californian legislature they can achieve the same goal, without unfairly burdening riders who are compliant with the law.
“Requiring that a motorcycle display a readily visible EPA label isn’t the correct way to address concerns about excessive motorcycle sound,” continued Haris. “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.”
The AMA has drafted model legislation that adequately deals with and defines excessive motorcycle exhaust noise, using SAE standards, and encourages California and other states to consider it. In the mean time, the AMA is asking its members in California to encourage their representatives to vote against SB 435 when it comes to vote.