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· Banned
6,147 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·

There's a love-hate relationship when it comes to motorcycles.

Some love the freedom and power of the two-wheeled vehicle. Others despise the loud, rumbling sounds associated with them.

Alachua County sheriff's deputies have been trying to address that problem by taking a hard-nosed stance on loud motorcycles and the equipment that can cause the contentious roar.

But some area motorcyclists and motorcycle shop workers say deputies aren't following state law when they crack down on the vehicles.

"A straight or unmuffled exhaust by law is illegal," said Roland Stuart, owner of Stuart's Cycles in Gainesville.

"But, the way the statute reads and the way it's been explained to me by several attorneys, the way they are enforcing it, they're not enforcing the law lawfully. They're not testing the level of sound."

Stuart said some deputies also have said if an exhaust on a motorcycle is altered or modified it's automatically illegal.
"Some are legal and some are illegal, but they have to test them to determine if they are or not," he said.

Stuart plans to discuss complaints about deputies' enforcement at a meeting Wednesday at the Alachua County Sheriff's Office off Hawthorne Road.

The meeting is being held for motorcycle dealers in Gainesville and Ocala to make them aware of deputies' efforts to deal with noise pollution, according to the Sheriff's Office.

"People have had issues with loud exhausts from motorcycles. Many of them are not muffled. They have straight pipes and when they accelerate at such a rapid rate, they are emitting their sound quite a long way away," said Alachua County Sheriff's Office spokesman Lt. Jim Troiano.

The lieutenant said the Sheriff's Office has been getting complaints from residents about noisy motorcycles.

"It's a quality-of-life issue," he said.

Deputies have been involved in an ongoing campaign and issuing warnings and citations for about a year.

Different state laws cover the issue of noisy vehicles.

One says that no one can modify the exhaust system or any other noise-abatement device on a motor vehicle so that "the noise emitted by the motor vehicle is above that emitted by the vehicle as originally manufactured."

Another law states that an exhaust system is not allowed if it exceeds the maximum decibel level established by the Department of Environmental Protection. It cites the levels for different types of vehicles, including motorcycles.

Lt. Ryan Cox, who oversees the Sheriff's Office's traffic safety bureau, says some motorcyclists are focusing on enforcement as it relates to decibel levels set by the law. But deputies, who have been trained to look for equipment violations that can be recognized on sight, can issue citations based on that, not on measured sound levels.

"It's not just a decibel issue," he said.

When in doubt, Cox said, deputies have been instructed not to give out a citation.

Drivers who contest the ticket should take it to court, Cox said.

"We've already had citations upheld in court." But, he said, "In all fairness, we've lost some."

Deputies aren't just writing citations for noisy motorcycles. They're also writing tickets for cars and trucks that have modified equipment and make more noise. Jim Mahaffey, operations manager for Gainesville Harley-Davidson, said motorcycles and noise is an ongoing issue for the industry.

"Everybody looks for increased performance on their motorcycle. We try to encourage people not to go overboard," Mahaffey said. "Loud is not the way it should be. Some of the pipes are totally illegal. So we need to educate the riding public, as well as the general public." The issue has grown to the point that Harley-Davidson has campaign ads to get people to quiet their motorcycles down, Mahaffey said.

But, personally, Mahaffey said, he does have questions about how Alachua County Sheriff's deputies are handling citations for motorcycle riders.

Mahaffey also is planning to attend the meeting at the Sheriff's Office.

"I do take exception to the way this is going down," said Mahaffey, whose father rides a motorcycle and has been cited. He said some deputies look at the pipes on the motorcycle, don't measure the sound, and issue the citation.

"We have to realize as riders that we have to do things a little bit differently, too, but if it's going to be enforcement, it has to be done correctly," Mahaffey said.

· V-Twin Moddin
39,300 Posts
Yeah but there are quite a few bikes of all styles that are excessive... its all about finding some balance. However, if they are going to enforce the law, at least do it right!

· Moderator , Lifetime Gold Supporting Member, '07 R
20,176 Posts
Gas Man said:
Yeah but there are quite a few bikes of all styles that are excessive... its all about finding some balance. However, if they are going to enforce the law, at least do it right!
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