Effort To Limit Motorcycle Noise Draws Opposition In NH

By Lauren Leamanczyk, WBZ-TV's New Hampshire Bureau Chief

NORTH HAMPTON, NH (CBS) – A new effort to reign in the roar of motorcycles is drawing opposition from New Hampshire bikers.

Rep. Michele Peckham is sponsoring the bill. It would cap the noise level on motorcycle exhaust systems at 84 decibels, the level recommended by the EPA. The current legal level is 106.

The proposal is being pushed by NH CALM, a group dedicated to quieting loud bikes. Bill Mitchell says they’re not opposed to motorcycles, just the excessively noisy ones.

“The temperature goes above 50 degrees here and the suns out, you can’t hear yourself think.”

WBZ-TV’s Lauren Leamanczyk reports

He founded the group New Hampshire Citizens Against Loud Motorcycles.

“It’s only one percent of the population, but they really stand out.”

To give you a sense of what these noise levels mean, according to the National Institutes of Health, a chain saw or a rock concert checks in at 110 decibels.

New Hampshire’s current motorcycle law allows up to 106 db. That’s louder than the 95 decibels of an average motorcycle.

The new bill would cap the sound at 84 decibels, just below the sound of normal heavy traffic.

The motorcycles would receive a sticker of compliance at their annual exhaust inspection. Motorcycles bought before January 1, 2013 would be grandfathered in unless the owner replaces the exhaust system.

Still, it makes some bikers upset. “Especially on Harley Davidsons the rumble is part of the fun,” said a motorcyclist named Rob in Hampton Beach.

They also argue, a loud bike keeps them safe from drivers who can’t see them.

Dell Paone says his chopper is probably way louder than even the current limit, so loud even his girlfriend won’t ride next to him.

“So if your girlfriend won’t ride next to you, can you blame people for not wanting to hear you when you ride by your house?,” WBZ Reporter Lauren Leamanczyk asked. “I don’t care what they think to be honest with you. It’s safer to ride a bike that motor vehicles can hear.”

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