American Motorcyclist Association "Summit on Motorcycle Sound" Publishes Recommendations for Limiting Noise

An AMA-hosted working group makes recommendations for addressing motorcycling noise problem.

Facing ever-increasing pressure from state and local lawmakers reacting to complaints about motorcycle exhaust noise, a working group of concerned parties hosted by the American Motorcyclist Association (AMA) has issued a Position Paper on Excessive Motorcycle Noise." The paper and the AMA itself take firm positions against "excessive" noise.

"The Association believes that few other factors contribute more to misunderstanding and prejudice against the motorcycling community than excessively noisy motorcycles," says an AMA statement.

Recently various prohibitions against exhaust modifications of any kind have been passed and more are being proposed around the country. The problem with such legislation is that it prevents motorcyclists from replacing damaged mufflers with anything other than the stock systems, which are usually quite expensive. However, there are very few aftermarket exhaust systems quiet enough to be legal and even fewer that actually meet all the legal requirements. No one seems have proposed language that would allow you to use a pipe that is marked as meeting federal requirements even if it isn't stock. Such wording could give the aftermarket manufacturers an incentive to make quieter pipes. However, riders, dealers and aftermarket manufacturers that continue to put loud pipes on the streets are simply asking for this sort of restrictive legislation.

"When a minority abuses a right or privilege the majority will react. The reaction usually takes the form of some repressive measure. Often the phrase, 'I hate motorcycles' is immediately followed with 'They're too loud,'" says AMA Trustee Rick Gray in comments issued with the AMA Position Paper on Motorcycle Noise.

The recommendations involve all segments of the motorcycle community--riders, dealers, OE manufacturers, aftermarket exhaust makers, event sponsors--as well as law enforcement.

They call upon riders to "be sensitive to community standards and respect the rights of fellow citizens to enjoy a peaceful environment" and to avoid modifications that create "offensive" noise, Unfortunately, the "excessive noise" is defined in a vague way probably intended to please everyone involved.

"Now, for the motorcycling community and the powersports industry, the real work begins, and the AMA will continue to participate in creating solutions," said AMA President Rob Rasor,

The AMA's press release follows:


PICKERINGTON, OHIO -- The American Motorcyclist Association (AMA) has announced that the second National Summit on Motorcycle Sound was held on Saturday, May 14 in Columbus, Ohio, and that the group has published its recommendations for addressing the issue.

The recommendations, released as a document called "Sound Advice," is the product of two years of effort by the Motorcycle Sound Working Group, which was formed after the first summit conference in May of 2003. Contributors included representatives of the street and off-road motorcycling communities, as well as motorcycle manufacturers, aftermarket companies, event organizers, law enforcement, municipal government, and research institutions and regulatory agencies.

"We're grateful to all those who contributed to these recommendations, helping American motorcyclists address a difficult and important issue," said Robert Rasor, AMA President. "Now, for the motorcycling community and the powersports industry, the real work begins, and the AMA will continue to participate in creating solutions."

"'Sound Advice' speaks with virtually every voice in American motorcycling, and it speaks to everyone who has a stake in American motorcycling's future," said Ed Moreland, AMA Vice President for Government Relations and facilitator of the Motorcycle Sound Working Group. "We encourage motorcyclists, businesses, and communities to work together to support the working group's recommendations."

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