Those loud pipes are against the law | PostIndependent.com
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Those loud pipes are against the law

Dear Editor,

Steve Smith, and others, make room, please, you have at least one more person who agrees with you in your objections to the Harley-Davidson riders’ rally coming to our mountain burg for the July 4 holiday.

Harley-Davidson riders, we know that you are good, loyal, law-abiding folks. The last thing 800-plus Harley riders want to do is roll into town and cause trouble. You do not want to intimidate the locals. You are not looking for an excuse to get into a “rumble” with the town folks and show Police Chief Terry Wilson and his thin blue line a thing or two. You are a fine group of people who ride for companionship, brotherhood, sisterhood, and make great contributions to many worthwhile charities. You are far from being the motorcycle gangs portrayed in those “B” grade motorcycle gang movies that were popular in the 1950s. We all know that, now. You’ve made that abundantly clear, so untangle that big knot you have in your riding leathers and consider the following.

Your motorcycles are annoyingly loud. I can’t help but notice that a couple of letter to the editor writers who support this rally live in Rifle and New Castle, far from Grand Avenue and Midland Avenue which will be the main thoroughfares for the rally. A couple of you said the loud exhaust systems “save lives,” but provide no evidence or statistics to support that claim. None. Zilch. If you are going to make such outlandish claims, you better prove it by showing extensive evidence.

Otherwise, I have to agree with Mr. Smith. How would you like it if I drove through your quiet neighborhood blaring my car’s horn, so I could let people know I was driving so as to “warn” them? How long would you wait before you called the police? The officer would probably give me a ticket and stern lecture.

And don’t give me that bunk about the engine’s performance being enhanced by the exhaust system’s design. Honda Goldwing motorcycles seem to perform just fine with an exhaust system that purrs, not roars.

I did some research. I found out that while Glenwood Springs does indeed have a noise ordinance, it is so vaguely written that it is difficult to enforce. Colorado law is brimming with laws regarding allowable noise levels. It specifies times of day, residential zones, commercial zones, distance, “A” weighted decibels and covers all types of noise, not just the exhaust systems of motorcycles. Basically, enforcement is placed on municipalities to adopt the same standards set forth by the state.

To be fair to the Harley riders, loud motorcycles are not the only problem. There are plenty of passenger cars and trucks that produce excessive and annoying amounts of noise as well. Spring has sprung and the warm months are ahead. We’re familiar with “mud season.” Welcome to what I call “noise season.”

Colorado law is specific in its definition of exhaust systems for all motor vehicles. It notes that all registered vehicles must be “equipped with an adequate muffler in constant operation and properly maintained to prevent any excessive or unusual noise and no such muffler or exhaust system shall be equipped with a cut-off, bypass or similar device.”

Factory-installed exhaust systems and modified exhaust systems must comply with the same law. “No person shall modify the exhaust system of a motor vehicle in a manner which will amplify or increase the noise emitted by the motor vehicle above that emitted by the muffler originally installed on the vehicle, and such original muffler shall comply with all the requirements of this section.” Now, for those doubters out there who think I just made all of that up, you’re wrong. Unlike the “loud pipes save lives,” argument which lacks any proof, that quoted material is contained in Colorado Revised Statutes Title 42, Section 4, Part 225, Paragraph 1.

Colorado law defines a muffler as “a device consisting of a chamber or baffle or other mechanical design for the purpose of receiving exhaust gas from in internal combustion engine and effective in reducing noise.” That law is Colorado Revised Statutes Title 42, Section 4, Part 225, Paragraph 2. Are loud Harley-Davidson motorbikes exempt from that legal definition? Sorry, I checked, there are no exemptions for Harley-Davidson motorcycles.

Would sentiments be any different if 800 or more car stereo enthusiasts dropped into town for a few days with their booming, thumping subwoofers making noise? Would the Community Center be a proper venue for a car stereo contest, the entire point being who has the loudest car stereo? I highly doubt it. How about 800 or more street-legal yet loud muscle cars with drivers racing around the valley with the headers uncapped? Such an event would be shut down before it could take place.

Did it ever occur to the Harley rally fans that some people don’t like loud noises, such as those emitted by Harley-Davidson motorcycles? Did it ever occur to Harley riders, or people who insist that their car’s exhaust system or car stereo system be the loudest on the block, that some people have hearing disorders and ear problems that actually make loud noises painful? Ask a person who suffers from Meniere’s disease or tinnitus how loud noises affect him or her, and he or she will give you, well, an earful.

So far, it looks like the score is heavily in favor of the rally. If the rally riders have a good time, they’ll be back next year, and the next, and the, well, you get the idea. CA-CHING, CA-CHING, CA-CHING! Money, Money, Money! VROOM, VROOM, VROOM!

I can’t say I wasn’t warned.

I guess I can solve this problem for myself by gettin’ outta Dodge for a few days.

But I won’t be packing my earplugs.

Best regards,

Chris Mecham,

Glenwood Springs


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