California Bill To Kill Aftermarket Exhausts

On August 30, 2010, the California Senate passed SB 435 by a vote of 21-16 and is on Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger’s desk. Despite state Senator Fran Pavley’s (D-CA-23) claims, the bill will do little to address excessive sound or reduce emissions, and is still unfairly targeting motorcycle owners.

In a letter, dated August 5, 2010, the American Motorcyclist Association (AMA) sent a letter to Governor Schwarzenegger urging him to veto SB 435. To view the governor’s reply, click here. In response to the Senate’s passage of SB 435, the AMA sent a follow-up letter, dated August 31, 2010, to the governor, continuing to urge a veto.

As written, SB 435 is not practical in a real world traffic stop situation due to the inconsistent location of the federal label, making it difficult for law enforcement to locate. These labels can be positioned on different locations depending on the type of exhaust and/or style of the motorcycle. This will result in improper and unwarranted citations.

Furthermore, after-market exhaust systems are not always louder than stock systems and can be installed for a variety of legitimate reasons. Stock exhaust can wear out over time, be damaged, unavailable or prohibitively expensive. If signed into law, motorcyclists, and motorcyclists alone, will be forced to purchase Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) parts, while automobile drivers will continue to be allowed to install exhaust components from non-OEM sources.

This bill is discriminatory and punitive. It will serve only to drive up the cost of ownership for every rider while doing little or nothing to actually address the issue of excessive motorcycle sound. Please contact the Governor’s office today and request a veto of this unfair legislation.

The fastest way to reach the Governor is to call, (916) 445-2841. You can also send a pre-written message immediately by following the “Take Action” option and entering your information. The AMA encourages riders to personalize their message.

To view an AMA press release on SB 435, click here.
For those who want to do more, please utilize AMA tips and tools available at on our website at > Rights > Get Involved, or for direct access, click here. If you are on Facebook, become a fan of the AMA at

Please write or call the governor today and urge him to veto SB 435. Thank you for your active participation and efforts to encourage your friends and family to do the same.

SOURCE: American Motorcyclist Association

I think we could all see this coming. It’s too bad because as pointed out, some aftermarket pipe makers have designed systems that are totally acceptable, and provide a sound not necessarily louder, but at a frequency that’s more satisfactory to many owners. It’s a shame that their efforts would be largely negated by this bill.

The labeling issue, to my mind is kind of a red herring. OE’s would have three years to either provide law enforcement with information as to the location of the Federal Label or move it to a prominent location.

As pointed out in the AMA’s position statement, OE exhausts in most cases are prohibitively expensive, or unavailable…try buying a set of OE pipes for an early ‘70s Kawasaki four-cylinder, as an example. This is definitely an area that needs to be addressed. Even if some arrangement were made between the OEs, the government and the aftermarket to license or authorize an aftermarket company to manufacture an aftermarket pipe, how would the aftermarket people be able to determine demand, or manage production and inventory?

Motorcycles and loud exhausts are not a new issue, the state of Massachusetts passed a bill in 1960 banning motorcycles from the streets of Boston between sunset and sunrise, and I’m sure there are other laws and sanctions that have been passed by various governments over the years. With the proliferation of motorcycles over the past 10-years, and a certain group’s penchant for making noise the problem has become increasingly wide-spread and acute. Municipalities all over the country are trying to find ways to mitigate the exhaust noise problem; so far no one has come up with a reasonable approach.

This issue in my opinion is similar to smoking in public places. I don’t care if you smoke, but I don’t want to have to smell you cigarette or cigar smoke. Similarly I don’t care if your bike’s loud; I just don’t want it impinging on my life. I’ve been in restaurants when a group of motorcycles have pulled up to a stop sign and sat there and revved their engines while waiting for a chance to get through the intersection ( I guess their fuel induction systems aren’t equipped with an idle circuit) generating enough noise to end all conversation in the restaurant.

To those folks who say loud pipes save lives, may I suggest that there’s no documented proof of that statement, and millions of motorcyclists ride their bikes safely without the “benefit” of loud pipes. If you truly believe loud pipes save lives to be the case, then you’ve got two choices; quit riding and take up something “safer,” or improve your riding skills.

The industry as a whole recognizes this as a problem that needs to be addressed. Many, if not most of you sell aftermarket exhaust systems, so you’ve also got an economic iron in the fire. This legislation will have an impact on your bottom line. The MIC has been working with government to come up with a cost effective way to measure dbA in a traffic environment. Until we’re actually able to do that, we’ll be confronted with band-aid fixes like this. I suggest if you’re in California that you follow the AMA link and urge the Governor to veto the bill. Those of you outside of California need to keep an eye on what’s happening in your state or community and try to work with your community or state to find a resolution that isn’t punitive. This is an issue that’s been around for years, and needs to be reconciled and will be with or without our input and cooperation.

Found at Dealer News


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