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ME- LD1675 noise MECALM update‏

February 3, 2010

[Main Citizens Against Loud Motorcycles]


MECALM has called on the Maine legislature to swiftly pass a bill introduced by Sen. Nancy Sullivan (D-Biddeford) and nine co-sponsors to curb excessive noise made by illegally loud motorcycles.   “An Act To Reduce Noise Caused by Motorcycles and Improve Public Health,” (LD1675) was referred to the Transportation Committee, which held a public hearing on the measure February 2, 2010.  Mainers from across the state testified how roaring motorcylces are ruining their peace of mind, their sleep, and the ability to enjoy their own homes and yards during summer months.  Legislators expressing their support for a crackdown at the hearing were Reps. Diane Russell (D-Portland), George Hogan (D-Old Orchard Beach) and Joan Welsh (D-Rockport).

Lt. Chris Grotton of the Maine State Police testified that his agency is interested in exploring a new sound level (decibel) test developed recently by the Society for Automotive Engineers (SAE) and supported by Harley Davidson. The test might enable police officers to administer a quick and accurate sound level check in the field that could later stand up in court.


Although LD1675 is a “concept bill” to be fleshed out in the legislative process, MECALM calls for inclusion of two specific provisions in any billed passed by the legislature.

First is adoption of the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) 1982 motorcycle noise compliance system allowing state and local police to issue tickets to motorcycles with illegal exhaust systems.    Federal law requires that all motorcycles manufactured
after 1982 have an
EPA noise compliance label attached to the chassis at the factory, and a matching label stamped into the muffler.   It’s illegal to replace the muffler with one that lacks the label or to modify the legal muffler in any way to produce more noise.   But police officers can only enforce the law if the system is first adopted by a town, city, or state. MECALM believes the EPA system is “the most cost effective, practical, and fair way” to curb loud motorcycles.   The system is used successfully in several cities nationwide, most notably Denver, which adopted it in 2007.

second goal is requiring all motorcycles in Maine to display a vehicle inspection sticker.  According to figures issued by the state, about 40% of the 50,000 motorcycles registered in the state of Maine go uninspected each year.   Most people who own cars and trucks realize that if they drive with a loud, defective muffler they will likely be stopped by a police officer and get a traffic ticket.  Many loud motorcycles have no muffler at all or have a muffler with most or all of the sound-reducing baffles removed.  Yet they are seldom, if ever, stopped by the police for being too loud. MECALM believes all motorists, regardless of what type of vehicle they operate, should be treated equally by the police.

MECALM contends most motorcycle operators who evade inspection do so because their exhaust systems have been illegally altered to create excessive noise.  Non-inspected bikes are hard to detect, however, because current Maine law only requires operators to carry proof of inspection with them, but not to display it on the bike.

MECALM believes requiring a visible inspection sticker on motorcycles will lead to far greater compliance; safer, quieter and cleaner bikes; and easier and fairer enforcement of inspection laws.

MECALM’s goal is to reduce both noise and air pollution, to preserve the state’s clean air and restore the natural soundscape of our towns and cities.  It’s estimated that a single motorcycle operating with an open exhaust system, such as drag pipes which are only legal for off road use, emits as many harmful toxins into the air as 200 or more of today’s typical automobiles.

The health effects of being exposed to loud noise have been widely documented.  According to the national organization NoiseOff, “People exposed to noise pollution suffer from hearing loss, sleep deprivation, chronic fatigue, anxiety, hostility, depression and hypertension. World Health Organization, National Institutes of Health, United Nations and numerous scientific and medical publications recognize noise pollution and its deleterious effects … The intense sound caused by loud motorcycles easily triggers an involuntary stress response commonly known as ‘fight or flight.’  This results in the secretion of adrenaline, with ensuing spikes in cardio-respiratory rates, muscle tension and elevated blood pressure.”

MECALM urges all Maine citizens who want to curb excessively loud motorcycles to contact their local state representatives and senators immediately to urge them to support LD1675.  Although the roads are quiet at the moment, thanks to winter’s cold temperatures, the legislature will be acting in the next few weeks and months.  Contact information for all legislators can be found at the legislature’s website.

MECALM came into existence in 2009 after an op-ed piece on the issue written by a concerned Portland resident and published in the Portland Press Herald brought attention to the issue statewide.

MECALM believes passage of a statewide law would be simpler and cleaner than trying to pass ordinances town by town, and would provide a uniform statewide standard that would be easier for police to enforce, and motorcyclists to comply with.

MECALM stresses that it is no way an anti-motorcycle group and fully supports the right of all Mainers who wish to ride safely, legally, quietly and respectfully. MECALM is prepared to work cooperatively with groups as diverse as the Maine State Police and the United Bikers of Maine to achieve a reasonable, fair and easily enforceable solution to the scourge of loud motorcycle noise.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. valve stem permalink
    July 8, 2010 9:48 am

    I notice that the bill was encouraged to be swiftly passed, which it obviously was. Was there not any time alloted for public debate? Is this the result of the few people who wish to impose their standards of “quietness” on the rest of the population? These people have too much time on their hands, people who rave about “blue collar thugs”, people who pray for rain so motorcyclists won’t be out riding, and maintain websites to propel their ideas on the majority. Too bad in these times we allow the minority to rule the majority.

  2. Tim permalink
    July 13, 2010 3:25 am

    Well that’s another law that is a wast of tax payers money another way to drive people out of the state I will never do another charity run for this state again or any other event for this state and alot of people I know feel the same way i guess I’ll start riding in new Hampshire and spend my money there where they appreciate it you people got nothing better to do than complaian about stupid things probaly most of you never road a motorcycle and have never had.them pull out in front of you but sometimes they might hear you or take a second look before the try to pull out I just get the feeling that groups like yourselves willnot be happy unless everyone is sitting on there porch doing nothing half you people are probably not even natives of this state the only thing that is to loud in state is your ideas loud why don’t you make laws against that .people like you should go get a hobby because it obvious that you have to much time on your hands and you have a very boring life there are more important thing to deal with like schools and money cuts to communitys to help people

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