New York to vote on motorcycle noise laws

Published: 26 December 2008

THE New York City Council is considering a new noise law that will prevent any motorcycle without a standard exhaust stamped by the Environmental Protection Agency from entering the city legally.

The measure would make it illegal for any motorcycle to be on city streets unless it has an exhaust system with a stamp that states it is approved by the federal Environmental Protection Agency. Essentially that means the bike must have a stock exhaust system.

Motorcyclists caught without an EPA-stamped exhaust system would face fines of up to £700 for a first offence with the bike confiscated until the bike is paid. A second offence would result in a fine of up to £1700 and permanent seizure of the motorcycle.  

City officials believe requiring motorcyclists to have EPA-approved exhaust systems is easier to enforce than trying to prove a motorcycle exceeds the city’s vaguely defined 80-decibel sound limit.

AMA Government Affairs Manager Imre Szauter stressed that the AMA has long opposed excessive motorcycle sound and has funded information and public relations campaigns in support of quiet motorcycle use.

“The issue is that the New York City Council is unfairly singling out motorcyclists because motorcycles are the only vehicles covered under the bill,” he said. “If New York City officials believe they have a sound problem, then the problem should be handled through the existing noise ordinance and not through piecemeal legislation targeting specific modes of transportation.”