March 1, 2013

Noise Free America
For immediate release

Ted Rueter
[email protected]

Chapel Hill: The House Transportation Committee of the North Carolina General Assembly has won this month’s Noisy Dozen award from Noise Free America for passing legislation to repeal the state’s motorcycle helmet law, in the name of “freedom of choice.” Instead of listening to common sense, North Carolina state legislators chose to listen to false information from the “motorcycle rights” lobby. Instead of taking action to restrict illegal motorcycle noise, state legislators chose to give in to an organized group of noisemakers.

The House Transportation Committee of the North Carolina General Assembly recently passed HB 109, which would end the requirement that motorcyclists wear helmets.

Representative Frank Iler, co-chairman of the House Transportation Committee, stated that HB109 did not constitute repealing the state’s motorcycle safety helmet law. He claimed that it simply lets motorcyclists over the age of 21 “have the choice not to wear safety helmets.” This is preposterous statement. Noise Free America does not agree with this statement.

Indeed, the organization representing the “rights” of noisemaking motorcyclists does not agree with this statement. The motorcycle lobby knows exactly what their goal was in proposing HB 109. They told their members that they are rallying their members to support the “Helmet Repeal” bill and “do away with the helmet law.” Those are their words, not ours. And with the majority of motorcycle riders exempt from the law, the police are not likely to bother to enforce what’s left of it, as they will find having to guess how old a helmet-less rider is (not always easy from a distance) to be too cumbersome to bother with.

On April 20, 2013, the motorcyclist lobby is planning a motorcycle rally at the state capitol in Raleigh, to gain support for their efforts to repeal the motorcycle safety helmet bill. Their message states: “Support HB-109 bill To do away with The helmet law This event/ride will end at Raleigh, North Carolina at state house and you will need to be at Raleigh state Capitol at 1pm from where your groups are leaving from in NC.”

Clearly, a significant number of those motorcycles will be illegally equipped with loud non-EPA compliant exhaust systems. Many of the motorcycles had blatantly loud and blatantly illegal straight pipes. It is likely that not a single one of them will be ticketed by the Raleigh police department or the state highway patrol. Many of those loud motorcycles sailed right through the state’s motor vehicle inspection–even the ones with no mufflers at all.

Noise Free America is concerned and puzzled by the House Transportation Committee’s disturbing decision. The House Transportation Committee chose to accepts CBA/ ABATE’s misrepresentation of helmet safety statistics. The House Transportation Committee chose to ignore the safety policy recommendations of such credible organizations as the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the United States Department of Transportation, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the American Automobile Association, and various medical associations. Instead, the House Transportation Committee chose to listen to CBA/ABATE to “get rid of the helmet law” in the name of “freedom of choice.”

Noise Free America is asking the North Carolina General Assembly to improve state noise control policy. We are asking the General Assembly to eliminate illegal motorcycle exhaust systems. We certainly hope that the General Assembly will not support the same factually inaccurate statements from the motorcycle lobby on this issue. We certainly hope that the General Assembly will not dismiss all the laws regarding noise emissions and exhaust systems in the name of “freedom of choice.”

Motorcycle riders should not have the “freedom of choice” to tamper with their exhaust systems to create excessive noise; this is already illegal under state and federal law. The North Carolina general public should not be assaulted by unnecessary, excessive, and illegal motorcycle noise.

Noise Free America is a national citizens’ organization opposed to noise pollution. Past “winners” of the Noisy Dozen award include Greensboro, North Carolina; and Myron B. Pitts, a newspaper columnist in Fayetteville, North Carolina.