19 Aug 2014
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Salem Police Monitoring and Fining Loud Motorcycles

Police Chief Paul Tucker recently praised the new enforcement effort before City Council.

Salem Police Monitoring and Fining Loud Motorcycles

If you have spent a hefty sum to modify your motorcycle exhaust pipes to get that adrenalin-boosting noise when you take off from a stoplight, beware — the is listening.

“We go out once a week to an intersection like Derby Street. If we can hear a motorcycle several blocks away, it's too loud,” said police Lt. Robert Precszewski, who heads the department's traffic division.

As a result, the police are citing about 50 motorcycle owners a week for altering their exhaust pipes. The fines are $35 for the first offense, $75 for a second offense and $150 for a third offense.

Chief Paul Tucker recently praised the program before the City council as one of the new initiatives to reduce noise in the City.

A district court in Newburyport recently threw out some citations against motorcyclists for excessive noise because the officers did not use decibel meters to register specific noise violations. So now, the officers use their ears only to identify cycles that are probably using after-market exhaust pipes, Precszewski said.

If the officers can hear a motorcycle from blocks away, then they know it's too loud, and they can legally write a citation for a driver for altering their exhaust pipes, Precszewski explained.

In Massachusetts, it is illegal to alter muffler exhaust pipes. The state decibel limit for a stationary bike is 99 decibels (102 for bikes manufactured before 1996). Bikes in motion may not exceed 82 decibels at 45 miles per hour or less or 86 decibels at more than 45 miles per hour.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency sets noise emissions standards for motorcycles at 80 decibels, which is 10 decibels louder than a car traveling at 40 miles per hour. All motorcycles are required to display two EPA labels — one on the chassis and one on the exhaust pipe.

Rinehart Racing, a major motorcyle muffler after market manufacturer even has a notice on its ebsite advising bike owners that “Rinehart Racing Exhaust systems are not legal for sale or use in states where emissions laws apply.”

The Salem police have long had a campaign against noisy motorcycles. The department issued a brochure three years ago that read: “We all know the mellow baritone exhaust sound for a motorcycle engine can be music to many riders' ears." But the brochure asked that motorcyclists keep the noise down by lowering the engine's RPMs inside the City limits.

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What are your thoughts on this issue? This isn't the first time Salem Patch has reported on motorcycles — we were at the Halloween Witch Ride last October.

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