by Ted Rueter

Wisconsin State Journal

January 17, 2010

In December the Wisconsin State Journal editorialized in favor of naming Harley-Davidson the official state motorcycle. This is a terrible idea.

Loud motorcycle noise is a major problem in Wisconsin, where I lived for 13 years. Noise from roaring motorcycles causes hearing loss, stress, agitation, chronic fatigue, loss of quality of life and denial of peace and quiet. Loud motorcycle noise is bad for Wisconsin tourism.

Excessive motorcycle noise violates state and federal law. Wisconsin law states, “No person shall modify the exhaust system of any such motor vehicle in a manner which will amplify or increase the noise emitted…” The penalty is $186 per violation.

The federal Noise Control Act of 1972 also prohibits modification of motorcycle exhausts for the purpose of making noise. The EPA label “match-up” program requires that motorcycles contain the factory exhaust.

Kenosha County Sheriff David Beth is attempting to lead a state-wide effort to crack down on illegal motorcycle noise. In Green Bay, Mayor Jim Schmitt has established a Web site whereby citizens can report illegal exhausts to the police.

Make Harley-Davidson the official state motorcycle? Not until law enforcement officials and Harley-Davidson take action against illegal after-market exhausts.

— Ted Rueter, New York, director,

Noise Free America