AMA proposes sound legislation model

Model offers objective testing method

By Motorcycle.Com Staff, Sep. 28, 2009
The American Motorcyclist Association has drafted model legislation to address the issue of excessive motorcycle noise.

According to the AMA, the model legislation offers cities an objective, consistent, and economical way to determine if a motorcycle is too loud.

“Too many times, jurisdictions responding to citizen complaints about excessive motorcycle sound create laws that simply don’t work in the real world,” says Imre Szauter, AMA government affairs manager. “They either set an unreasonable decibel limit, leave it up to a police officer to subjectively decide whether a bike is too noisy, or come up with another plan that is arbitrary or unworkable. Our model legislation is objective, workable and fair.”

The proposed model, based on the J2825 standard released by the Society of Automotive Engineers in May, specifies the type of sound meter to be used as well as the testing method. Under the SAE J2825 standard, sound limits range from 92 dBA at idle speed and up to 100 dBA at certain revs for various motorcycles, depending on engine type.

“The motorcycling community, local governments and police officers have sought a practical sound field test for streetbikes for many years, and now it exists, thanks to a collaboration between the Motorcycle Industry Council and the SAE,” says Szauter. “The next step is for jurisdictions struggling with motorcycle sound complaints to adopt fair and objective laws, and the AMA is providing the tool for them to do that.”

Excessive sound has become a lightening rod of criticism against motorcycles, but Szauter says motorcycles should not be singled out.

“Many cities and other jurisdictions already have excessive sound laws on the books, but when they get citizen complaints about loud motorcycles, they sometimes decide to single out the riding public with unfair or overly restrictive ordinances and laws,” says Szauter. “We believe that motorcycles shouldn’t be singled out, but should be regulated as part of a comprehensive sound management policy that also addresses cars, trucks, leaf blowers, generators and other sources of excessive sound.”

Related Reading
AMA supports new sound test standard