by Mary Spicuzza

Wisconsin State Journal

December 15, 2009

Harley-Davidson fans may see the Milwaukee motorcycle company as an icon. But haters are slamming the hog as “noise terrorism” and a “brand cult.”

The state Legislature on Tuesday won this month’s “Noisy Dozen” award from Noise Free America for considering a bill to designate Harley as the official state motorcycle. “The noise frightens and intimidates people,” George Atwood of Milton said.

Noise Free America says it’s dedicated to fighting noise pollution from “boom cars,” car alarms, leaf blowers and motorcycles. Its director, former Wisconsin resident Ted Rueter, said it’s not good for the state to be known for the famous “Harley roar.”

Harleys hurt people and their noise can cause hearing loss, higher medical costs, lost productivity and “loss of peace of mind,” Atwood said. And he claimed many Harley riders have altered their mufflers to intentionally make them louder.

A public hearing on the Harley bill is scheduled for Thursday.