California dealer association asks for help in defeating muffler labeling bill

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The California Motorcycle Dealers Association is asking dealers in the state to take quick action against a bill echoing a federal law requiring certain motorcycle mufflers to have a noise emissions label. And by quick, we mean today or tomorrow (see below for the call to action).

The bill, SB 435, gained publicity last year by calling for smog testing of motorcycles. This provision was dropped, and the bill was amended to battle noisy mufflers.

According the bill, federal regulations require bikes manufactured on and after Jan. 1, 1983 — as well as exhaust systems made for them — to meet certain noise standards. The regulations also require that a compliance label be affixed onto the bike or exhaust.

The bill would make it a crime for a person to park or use a motorcycle registered in the state that is manufactured on or after Jan. 1, 2000, that does not have the label. Police officers wouldn’t be able to stop motorcyclists solely on suspicion of noncompliance. Citations would be secondary.

The bill would require cited violators to produce proof that they’ve made their units compliant. First convictions would carry a fine of between $50 and $100. Subsequent convictions would result in fines ranging from $100 to $250.

The CMDA opposes the bill for numerous reasons. Among them:

  • There are already enough laws on the books — CVC 27150 and 27151 are used routinely to cite motorcycles with loud or illegally modified mufflers.
  • Many motorcycle owners cannot buy stock replacement mufflers from their dealers or OEMs because not enough replacements were made.
  • Since the muffler labels were not designed for enforcement, they are often not clearly visible because of stock heat shields, fairings, covers and saddlebags.
  • The California Air Resources Board (CARB) approved the procedure for aftermarket catalytic converter manufacturers to certify their products only eight months ago.

The CMDA urges dealers to contact the chair of the Assembly Transportation Committee and ask her and the other committee members to vote no on SB 435. Letters have to be at the office by Wednesday, June 23, so dealers will want to FAX them to 916-319-2193, addressing:
Honorable Bonnie Lowenthal,
Chair of the Assembly
Transportation Committee
State Capitol
Sacramento, CA 95814

Dealers can use the talking points above (contact the CMDA for more). They should use their business letterhead, emphasize how seriously they take this issue, and explain how their business will be affected. The CMDA also asks that a copy of the letter be FAXed to its office at 951-471-1577. The association plans to hand-deliver all the copies to the committee members.

Posted by Arlo Redwine