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Motorcycle Exhaust Bill Passes In California

Posted in Café Racers, Corner Carvers, Emissions, Environment, Legal, Motorcycle, Politics by Kurt Ernst | September 1st, 2010 | 24 Responses |

If you live in California and ride a motorcycle, I’ve got some bad news for you: a bill which would essentially mandate stock exhausts on motorcycles built after 2013 has passed and now goes to the Governator for signature. It’s expected that Governor Swarzenegger will sign it into law as soon as it crosses his desk.

The bill requires that exhausts used on 2013 and later motorcycles contain an EPA stamp, certifying the exhaust as both noise and emissions compliant. Violators would receive a fine and would have a certain number of days to correct the violation and submit their bike for re-inspection.

The bill was sponsored by Senator Fran Pavley, who obviously isn’t a fan of motorcycles or their riders. In her words, as reported by Autoevolution:

“The noise caused by illegally modified motorcycle exhaust systems is a major quality of life issue across the state. Basic common sense and decency dictates that when a motorcycle drives by and sets off every car alarm on the street, that is too loud.”

“Additionally, many of the modifications which are aimed at making a bike louder — for example removing the catalytic converter — also make the bike exponentially more polluting. This has direct, measurable and negative impacts on public health.”

Ironically, the bill has no provision to address loud exhausts on motorcycles built before 2013, so feel free to mod your bike as your budget allows for the next three years. In fact, you may want to take your V-Rod Destroyer for a few wide-open-throttle passes by the California State Capitol, just to show Senator Pavley how you feel about her representation of your interests.

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24 Responses

  1. Set says:

    “The noise caused by illegally modified motorcycle exhaust systems is a major quality of life issue across the state.”

    Ugh. This irritates me so much. We have so many more pressing issues, like being trillions of dollars in debt, yet here they are, wasting their time and my tax dollars on something as frivolous as this, which will never be enforced. Just like the cell phone law, the windshield wiper law, and probably 97% of California’s laws.

  2. Kevin says:

    This is kind of a good idea, what would have been better is a max dBa level measurement.

    Da Govenator is going to have cyclists up in arms about this. Most Harleys around here have straight pipes and sound like mechanical a-holes. Personally I thing the ones who do that to a Harley are a-holes. I agree with the concept but I think he’s going to piss off a lot of fat bikers around here.

  3. DaveMofo says:

    Well… let’s see: Bikes burn WAY less fuel, so nix the whole “pollutant” spiel, and as far as volume goes… Wouldn’t assholes with seventeen sub woofers and bass cannons be more annoying? And what motorcyclist is going to get their damn bike inspected, anyway? The cops usually don’t enforce this kind of b.s. when people are getting shot/coked up and shot/shot, coked up, and playing loud bass/ and they’re not paid enough to chase down bikes.

  4. Richard Long says:

    seriously? I love a nice exhaust note as much as the next guy, but most modified motorcycles are just too loud and not particularly pleasant, you really need more than 2 cyl to get a good sound anyway. There’s a guy who lives in our neighborhood in LA who sets off 2 car alarms on our street every single time he rides by. (though, to be fair, one of the cars goes off every time any vehicle with a non-stock exhaust goes by).

  5. Kurt says:

    The sad thing is that, as riders, we’ve brought this on ourselves with open pipes and stunting on highways. It starts with a ban on new bike exhausts, but pretty soon it’ll be a ban on all aftermarket exhausts. Call me paranoid, but sooner or later they’ll target sportbikes again, just like Danforth did in the 80s.

    The fact is simple: we’ve pissed off way too many cagers.

  6. […] motorcycle exhaust bill passes in cali this doesnt really affect me but i thought i should pass it on just in case theres people from cali in here that dont know this yet. basically a law has been passed that will ban any kinda of exhaust modifications on any motorcycle built after 2013. so if your planning to get any 2013 model than youre SOL. til then feel free to make all the noise you want. Motorcycle Exhaust Bill Passes In California […]

  7. Matt McBride says:

    this is just another example of how california will someday fly a red commie flag. the government strips more and more rights every year. gun laws are getting stricter, pretty soon all you will be allowed is a slingshot and a prayer. motorcycles sound good and are a direct expression of the rider. if a bike is loud and fast its probably ridden by someone like me. sonny barger said arizona was the last free state and I am beginning to believe him. much like the b.s. helmet law, california will continue to pressure and persecute freedom enbracing individuals until there nothing left here but beverly hills type rich folks driving foreign cars andfueling the downfall of the united states.

  8. Jim says:

    I think that aftermark automotive sound systems needs the same restrictions. I have been anoyed far more times by the brainless jerk in the huge SUV driving next to me with his bass woofers rattling every window on the block than any motorcycle exhaust.
    Go ahead, put a few more businesses out-of-business bucause they can no longer sell their ” American Made” product to the motorcycle rider.
    It’s no really that much of a problem, maybe a few might be too loud, but why must every motorcycle rider pay?

  9. Kurt says:

    Jim, it’s like this: we riders are a minority, and we’re not even a cohesive, vocal minority. The Harley crowd can’t stand the sportbike crowd, the off-road crowd doesn’t always care about street bike laws, etc. What’s really to blame? Open exhausts on Harleys and sportbikes, plus stunting on highways, plus riders not exhibiting a great deal of common sense. I like to ride fast as much as the next guy, but there’s a time and a place for everything.

    The vast majority of the public doesn’t care about motorcycles (or riders), or worse yet doesn’t like them. This may be the first such bill to get passed, but I guarantee it won’t be the last.

  10. Stuki says:

    True to form, the progressives attempt to drum up support amongst the starstruck and stupid, by pretending to deal with what may very well be a real problem, in exactly the most nonsensical and retarded manner possible.

    Literates to idiots: Noise above a certain level is definitely a problem; but it is no more of a problem coming out of a bike’s exhaust pipe than out of the backup beepers those same progressive backmarkers _mandate_ on pretty much any vehicle larger than a bike. Nor from the rotors of traffic monitoring, news gathering and other helicopters omnipresent all over LA; all hours of day and night. Nor from the mouths of the kind of shelter recycled yap trash PETA apologist progressive rabble hail as something we should all yearn to stockpile for abandonment in back yards across the city. And certainly no worse than car alarms, for crying out loud.

    For every minute of excessively loud bikes bothering me, there has got to be at least an hour of helicopters, five hours of backup beepers, and hundreds of hours of listening to lonely, abandoned yap trash shouting out to the world what a politically correct animal lover his owner is; for picking him up for exactly nothing, and treating him accordingly. And I live pretty much right on Harley Highway (PCH).

    Here’s a hint that will quiet down LA, along with the rest of California, real fast, and be imminently fair and non discriminatory to boot: Set a maximum DB rating (weighted whichever way most suitable), and get rid of all laws barring gun owners from indiscriminately gunning down any biker, van driver, animal or animal owner emitting sound louder than that. With a silenced gun. But of course, fashion amongst progressive rabble don’t allow for silencers either…….

  11. Chris Fig says:

    Anybody ever heard of loud pipes save lives? I have a tricked out harley and cant tell you how many times old people or people listening to loud music cut you off cause they dont hear you. Lous pipes will let people in cars know you are around and be cautious when switching lanes. Motor cops ride in their off time and understand this logic so i cant see this being enforce by all cops.

  12. Kurt says:

    Chris, the “loud pipes save lives” argument doesn’t hold water. Traffic in front of you, which poses the biggest risk, can’t hear your exhaust due to the Doppler Effect. Sure, traffic alongside you and (probably) behind you can hear it, but they pose less of a threat (unless you have a death wish and ride in their blind spot).

    Loud pipes don’t save lives, but they do piss off cagers who pass legislation banning loud pipes. Eventually, the stunter crowd will piss off enough cagers to fire up another attempt at a sportbike ban. We’re certainly not learning from the past, so it looks like we’re bound to repeat it.

  13. Kurt says:

    Stuki, you forgot to mention “threshold of pain, bass thumping car stereos”.

  14. Robert K. says:

    I think noise is pollution.

    I live in a densely populated city and one rider with no muffler can impact a lot of people, just because they want everyone to look at their cool bike.

    Noise, like exhaust is pollution.


  15. Robert says:

    GOOD!! I’m a motorcycle rider, and own 3. I’m also SOOOOOOO sick of the absolute pansy HD riders with their stupid, punk, open pipes. Their little man complexes are so extreme, they have to annoy everybody with their dopey little noise machines. Even South Park did an entire episode on idiot open pipe having dorks.

  16. P says:

    As someone who lives on a street frequented by Harleys, this cannot come soon enough. I can’t wait for cold, rainy weather… the silence is deafening, after a spring, summer and fall with modified motorcycles and Harleys all day and night. It’s noise pollution, pure and simple, I don’t live by an airport, but dB-wise, I might as well be. And my airport has curfews!

    I’m not anti-motorcycle, I’m anti-noise pollution.

  17. joe says:

    Wow Robert, you seem to be an incredibly angry idiot. You must be one of those sport bike riders that races through the streets and canyons and endangers inocent lives with your showboating and traffic stunts. I think you should attend some harley events and open your big mouth to all those pansy harley riders. I know you never would because running your mouth on the computer is much safer. Us harley riders are a brotherhood and love the freedom of riding our loud mototcycles. Maybe you should attend a Friday night at Bob’s big boy in Toluca Lake California and listen to all the modified street cars that attend with there noise polluting automobiles. And by the way, the police are there to monitor traffic and I have never witnessed a ticket being givin to those offenders. Maybe you should move to Russia where they can regulate everything you do. Obviously you do not enjoy the freedoms that have been offered to you by the fighting men and woman of this great Country we live in. Go see your doctor and get a Prozac perscription, maybe that will help you with your noise issues.

  18. Andrew says:

    @Kurt, I couldn’t disagree with you more. I own a Roadstar Warrior (big displacement V-twin) with 2-1/4″ straight pipes… And I use ‘em! Loud pipes (if loud enough) do warn drivers ahead of you, especially when lane-splitting through heavy traffic, like I do everyday. I have riders all the time let me pass them in the split-lane so I can “part the seas”, and keep the lane moving.

    The issue isn’t the pipes… It’s with jackass who lights off them pipes at midnight. I sometimes come home really late at night, and I know how to keep ‘em quiet if needed. Also, I could give a crap about the alarms. That’s the fault of the cager if it goes off due to a passing vehicle — loud pipes or not. I for one would be much happier to see a law passed against alarms that are too damn sensitive.

    • Phil says:

      So,I guess it’s ok that I bring my Dodge hemi with straight pipes by your house while you are eating dinner or watching the box or by your kid’s school and crack those carbs open? The stats speak for themselves in that most cycle accidents are crossing and only bright lites solve that problem. As to lane “splitting” you are taking your life in your hands. I almost put a bike under my rear duals because he forgot that a semi has a lot of blind spots. Defensive driving is the answer!

  19. Kurt Ernst says:

    Andrew, anything loud enough will have some effect, but at the expense of pissing off cagers. Cagers vote, and (unless they ride) vote against motorcycles. As a community, we’re dooming ourselves because we can’t even seem to unify: the sportbike crowd typically hates the cruiser crowd, who typically hates the stunt rider crowd. Then there’s the off-road crowd, who really doesn’t care about on-road laws as long as their favorite riding area stays open.

    Here’s what it comes down to: riders of all types piss off cagers with irresponsible behavior. There’s a lot more cagers than there are riders, and I suspect cagers are more likely to vote than riders. If we continue down the loud pipes / stunt riding on freeways / canyon racing on weekends path, sooner or later we’ll lose a lot more than the ability to add a loud exhaust.

  20. @Andrew. Have we not learned as a society, that car alarms are our biggest aural nuisance?



  21. […] enforcement breeds contempt for the law. it looks like your wish has been heard finally. Motorcycle Exhaust Bill Passes In California google California Senate Bill SB 435 __________________ ಠ_ಠ (Look of […]

  22. Ron says:

    What no one has mentioned is the reason we bikers modify our mufflers is because cars pay no attention to us bikers. By making our bikes loader you can hear us so you don’t have the excuse later (after I’ve lost my arm or leg or you kill me) that you never seen the motorcycle. You can hear me so now your going to look for where it’s coming from.