Compromise may prevail in New Hampshire noise wars

Publish Date: 
Feb 8, 2012

New Hampshire may be getting a new motorcycle noise law, thanks to a compromise that assuaged the fears of most opponents of the original bill.

House Bill 1442, which North Hampton Rep. Michele Peckham proposed, would have imposed an 82-decibel limit on all bikes sold in the state after Jan. 1, 2013. It also contained anti-tampering provisions and would carry a $350 fine for a first offense and $500 for subsequent offenses.

But a public hearing Tuesday before the state’s House Transportation Committee brought out opponents of the plan, along with a few supporters.

Committee chairman Rep. Sherman Packard offered a compromise that won round approval: Model a New Hampshire law on the one in Maine, which has a 92 db noise limit, but can be measured with equipment that law officers can use in the field. Unlike Maine’s law, Packard’s proposal would not require the owner of the tested bike to then go to an inspection station

The compromise even got the nod from the AMA. “This is objective, not subjective,” lobbyist Imre Szauter told the Nashua Telegraph. “This makes the process nondiscriminatory for the motorcycle owner and operator, law enforcement, the courts and the public.”

Lawmakers will go back to the drawing board to amend the bill before the committee presents it to the full House. The committee has until Feb. 23 to make a recommendation.

Posted by Holly Wagner

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