October 1, 2016
For immediate release
Chapel Hill: The Weaverville, North Carolina police department has won this month’s Noisy Dozen award from Noise Free America: A Coalition to Promote Quiet for participating in a motorcycle ride in which many of the participants had illegal straight pipes.
Weaverville is a small town in western North Carolina; it is part of the Asheville metropolitan area.
On October 8, 2016, the Weaverville police department conducted a “Cops for Kids Toy Drive, which included a motorcycle ride. The Weaverville police department’s own web site contains a photo gallery showing many motorcycles equipped with straight pipes. Such equipment is in clear violation of the state muffler law, which requires motorcycles to have exhaust systems “of the type installed at the time of manufacture” (GS 20-128-a).
The presence of motorcycles with illegal straight pipes at this event raises several questions:
- Does the Weaverville police department enforce the city’s motor vehicle noise ordinance?
- Does the Weaverville police department enforce the state muffler law?
Larry Deal, a member of Noise Free America: A Coalition to Promote Quiet, commented that “I’ll bet the Weaverville police department has never ticketed any bikers for violating either the town’s noise ordinance or state law, especially any bikers who violate those laws while participating in Cops for Kids Toy Drives.”
“Although the Cops for Kids Toy Drive is for a worthy cause,” said Deal, “and the Weaverville police department’s charity work is commendable, the ‘charity’ angle employed in many group motorcycle rides tends to provide a blanket of protection for illegal motorcycle noise.”
Deal noted that “law enforcement often looks the other way and effectively grants those bikers an exemption to noise ordinances and the state muffler law. Instead, the police should be strongly enforcing those laws–no matter what. The police should issue citations whenever they encounter motorcycles which are emitting prohibited and obviously ‘excessive or unusual noise’ or are equipped with improper mufflers ‘not of the type installed the time of manufacture.’ This is required by North Carolina’s state muffler law.”
Ted Rueter, director of Noise Free America: A Coalition to Promote Quiet, commented that “the police need to learn how to enforce the state muffler law and start enforcing it aggressively. The same applies to the state DMV, which oversees the state motor vehicle inspections.”
According to Rueter, “Conducting or sponsoring group motorcycle rides is not the primary duty of the police. The police should not turn a deaf ear when motorcyclists violate the state muffler law right under their noses. Our police, sheriff’s departments, and the state Highway Patrol should enforce the state motor vehicle code. GS 20-128 (a) prohibits removing or altering motorcycle exhaust systems and causing additional noise. This law is rarely enforced. The result? A state filled with illegal motorcycle noise.”
Noise Free America: A Coalition to Promote Quiet is a national citizens’ organization opposed to noise pollution. Past “winners” of the Noisy Dozen award include the North Carolina state legislature; Appleton, Wisconsin; and the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation.