June 1, 2011

Noise Free America
For immediate release

Ted Rueter
[email protected]

Albany: William Kortz, a member of the Pennsylvania General Assembly, has won this month’s Noisy Dozen award from Noise Free America for introducing legislation to declare Harley-Davidson the state’s official motorcycle. According to Representative Kortz, “the Harley-Davidson motorcycle is a true-blue American iron horse manufactured in Pennsylvania by American workers using American steel.”

Noise Free America’s director, Ted Rueter, noted that “there are two obvious problems with Representative Kortz’s formulation. First, Harley-Davidson is threatening to shut down its American manufacturing operations and move them to China and India. Harley’s commitment to the United States is hardly ‘true-blue.’ Second, Harley-Davidson motorcycles create a tremendous amount of illegal and obnoxious noise. It is simply amazing that a state government would consider honoring a symbol of social disorder and lawlessness.”

Jason Kottler, a resident of Pittsburgh, is disappointed by the prospect of Harley-Davidson as the official Pennsylvania motorcycle: “We don’t need a state motorcycle,” he said. “Motorcycles are too often instruments of noise abuse and civil disrespect. They violate our homes and cities. Let our legislators work on something worthwhile. Mr. Kortz: fight against noise pollution and raise our quality of life!”

A resident of Los Angeles, Susan Rocha, also expressed opposition to the idea of an official state motorcycle: “Making Harley-Davidson Pennsylvania’s official state motorcycle is a horrible idea. Harley-Davidson is a major noise pollution offender. Harley riders alter the stock mufflers to illegal pipes, which pollute the air and make an incredible amount of noise. It is a violation of the Noise Control Act of 1972 for motorcyclists to remove their mufflers to make more noise. Pennsylvania state legislators: please do not make Harley-Davidson your state’s official motorcycle. That would be sanctioning criminal behavior.”

Opposition to this legislation also comes from upstate New York. Jim Jarosz stated that “I can’t believe that anyone would make Harley-Davidson their official state motorcycle! What are you people in Pennsylvania thinking? Harleys are without question the biggest noise- and air-polluting vehicles on our streets. Harley-Davidson makes it very easy for anyone to remove the stock muffler (which is quiet) and put on those incredibly noisy pipes. If Harley-Davidson was a pollution-conscious company, they would connect the stock muffler electronically to the engine and transmission, to make it impossible to remove the stock muffler.”

In 2009 and 2010, George Atwood, a resident of Milton, Wisconsin, fought a measure to declare Harley-Davidson the Badger state’s official motorcycle. He noted that, “When you hear a loud Harley, you are actually hearing the explosions from within the motor without the dampening effect of a proper muffler. That’s 5 to 50 explosions per second, depending on speed. That’s the sound of a battlefield!”

According to Atwood, the prevalence of loud motorcycles has destroyed many neighborhoods and communities: “Harleys hurt people. The noise stresses people. The noise ruins the quality of life in our neighborhoods and nation. It frightens and intimidates people. It leads to hearing loss, higher medical costs, lost productivity, and loss of peace of mind.”

Atwood also noted that the Harley brand has come to represent disorder and noise: “Harley now stands for noise! Harley stands for frightening and intimidating people. It stands for arrogance, torment, callousness, defying the law, and drunkenness. As Americans, we believe in the rule of law. Harley promotes defiance of the law. Motorcycle noise is used as a means of coercion and torture.”

“Instead of honoring noise terrorism,” Atwood concluded, “our representatives should protect us from the awful noise of Harley riders.”

Noise Free America is a national 501c3 citizens organization opposed to noise pollution.Past winners of the Noisy Dozen award include Hanover, PennsylvaniaWest Hempfield Township, Pennsylvania; and Hanover-McSherrystown, Pennsylvania.