by Don Scott

Napa Valley Register

May 1, 2015

Springtime is here, and with it the Napa Valley is being invaded by the noise of loud motorcycles. We live in a narrow valley, and the loud noise of these bikes is an irritant to anyone that is exposed to it. You can hike at Robert Louis Stevenson or Bothe state parks, and you will hear the bikes thundering on the highways some distance away. You can walk on the streets of our towns, and be disturbed by the noise of the bikes. And if you live anywhere near most public roads, the noise will be so loud that it goes through your walls and windows.

This noise is not legal, and it’s not necessary. It can be controlled. Some California cities like Burbank and Glendale do issue citations for this infraction.

Police officers, sheriff deputies, or CHP in this area could issue citations for the motorcycles that are making excessive noise if they chose to do so. But, they choose to ignore it. The justifications I have heard from law enforcement personnel and politicians for not issuing citations range from, “We have other priorities,” to “It’s too difficult,” to “We don’t want to discourage any tourism.” Not once have I heard in defense of the loud motorcycles that their exhausts systems are legal and are not emitting noise that exceeds legal limits.

St. Helena seems to be a more progressive community than the other towns in the county as the city council has had the courage to deal with leaf blower use and excessive use of sirens. Now, I ask the mayor and city council, can you please address the third cause of disturbing noise? Can you please ask the police department to observe the motorcycles that go through St. Helena, and if they are making excessive noise, to issue citations?

The sheer numbers of these bikes with illegal aftermarket exhaust systems, or no muffler at all, is daunting because it has been allowed to get out of control. But if citations are issued, word will get out that Napa Valley is a place where loud and unnecessary noise from motorcycles is not welcome.

Don Scott