by Diane Reed
The Orange County Register
July 30, 2007
Anaheim police have gotten serious about loud bikes.
ANAHEIM – The thundering roar of motorcycles racing up and down Imperial Highway could be reduced to a whisper, thanks to a crackdown by Anaheim police and a little-known federal law.
Motorcyclists with illegally loud exhaust systems began receiving citations on Imperial Highway in Anaheim Hills after weeks of warnings.
Anaheim Police Sgt. Mike Zigmund gave a final notice to about 60 bikers at Keno’s restaurant the weekend of July 14.
“We told them that this was the last warning,” he said. “They were pretty cooperative.”
Armed with a decibel meter, resident Ellie Oliver measured the sound of passing bikers. “The noise was deafening,” she said. “I recorded readings of 115 to 135 decibels,” – 34 to 54 points above the city’s 81-decibel exterior noise limit.
This month, Zigmund and his crew took their own readings and began citing bikers.
“The meter really isn’t necessary,” he said. “The courts have said that most cops can tell which pipes are legal and which aren’t.”
Anaheim resident Todd Hamo, a representative of Noise Free America’s Orange County chapter, said decibel meter readings “have been called into question in court.”
“But,” he said,” there is an Environmental Protection Agency system that removes all ambiguity when enforcing (illegal exhaust pipe) noise.”
Known as the label-matching system, the federal regulation requires manufacturers to place two labels on every motorcycle they make – after it has passed a noise emissions test, at the factory. One label is on the chassis, the other on the muffler. Each contains a code that is unique to the make and model of the bike. By comparing them, officers can determine at a glance whether the vehicle has the appropriate exhaust system.
If it doesn’t, or if there is no label, the motorcycle is in violation of Section 4909a(2) of the Noise Control Act of 1972.
Zigmund had been unaware of the EPA regulation, but looked it up on www.noisefree.org.
“This might explain why some of the bikers have said that dealerships will not put after-market pipes on their bikes anymore,” the police officer said. “They have in the past. Just because the dealer installed them, doesn’t mean they are legal, though.”
Tustin resident Gordon Pearson has a noise problem in his neighborhood, too.
“Our whole society would be so much better,” he said, “if we would just enforce the laws we have.”