Law on Motorcycle Noise Passes in California

motorcycle_pipesOn Wednesday, motorcycle riding Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger signed a bill to regulate motorcycle noise. But before anyone gets up in arms about the “man” taking away his freedom, you should know that similar laws have been in place since 1983.

Really, the only thing that changes when Senate Bill 435 goes into effect is that using illegal pipes will be a crime. When before it was, more or less, frowned upon. Police can’t even stop you for having loud pipes. The bill makes pipes without the proper EPA sound emissions label a secondary crime, meaning police can only check your pipes if you are already doing something illegal.

A $100 fine will be issued to first time offenders, and $250 for repeat offenders.

Sounds pretty reasonable, right? Most motorcycle riders don’t use illegal pipes, most manufacturers don’t produce or promote illegal pipes, and motorcycle noise laws have been around for more than 25 years. So what’s the big complaint?

AMA Western States Representative Nick Haris says that it is unreasonable for motorcyclist to display an EPA label on their pipes. Haris says that the EPA label can be hard to see, and some pipes may need to be disassembled in order to get a good look at the EPA label.

And Harris has a point. No one wants to scuff up their pipes with a sticker from the Environmental Protection Agency, and no one wants to disassemble their bike on the side of the road. But until pipe profiling becomes a real problem, its kind of a mute point.

This isn’t a law that limits the freedom of a motorcycle. It’s just a law saying that you should keep your freedom below 80 decibels.

What do you think? Should you be allowed to be as loud as you want to be when riding your motorcycle?

Courtesy of

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