Loud Motorcycles

Appendix IV

National Motorcycle Noise Control Emphasis Plan

[Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulatory analysis appendices for the noise emissions regulations for motorcycles and motorcycle exhaust systems (Appendix O)]

Motorcycle noise has been rated as the most significant noise problem in numerous community noise surveys. As a result, a number of States and communities currently have programs to control this noise source. Such controls include limits on vehicle pass-by noise, equipment laws, area and time controls, nuisance laws, and, in a few cases, new product emission limits. The EPA, in response to the requirements of the Quiet Communities Act, has identified motorcycles as a major source of noise and has issued noise limits for newly manufactured motorcycles and motorcycle replacement exhaust systems. The Agency's approach in the regulations, which is outlined below, has been to develop programs which will supplement and strengthen these ongoing attempts by cities and States to control motorcycle noise.

The primary Federal control which the Agency will provide will be the promulgation of regulations in setting permissible noise levels. These regulations, proposed in the Federal Register, March 15, 1978, will provide uniform levels for new motorcycles across the country and will result in quieter motorcycles being developed and produced. The benefits of this action will increase over the next decade as more and more of the motorcycle fleet is made up of regulated vehicles; nevertheless, some initial benefits will be gained in the first years of the regulation, particularly when this action is accompanied by State and local control of pre-regulated vehicles.

Besides controlling all new vehicles to quieter levels, the regulation contains provisions specifically designed to facilitate State and local control of replacement exhaust systems.

Under these provisions, manufacturers will be required to label both the motorcycles and the exhaust systems indicating the types and models of new (Federally regulated) motorcycles for which the exhaust system is designed, and whether the system is designed for pre-regulated or competition vehicles. The manufacturer has to assure that these systems when installed on a regulated motorcycle, will not cause that motorcycle to exceed the Federal standard. Thus, with proper enabling legislation, State or community police could enforce "label match-up" controls against vehicle owners who replace original equipment with noisier exhaust systems. This will not require noise measurement sand, indeed, will not require the vehicle to be in operation or the driver to be present in order for citations to be made. This should greatly facilitate motorcycle noise enforcement.

Another feature of the regulations will also supplement the ongoing State and local noise control program. Under the regulation manufacturers of new motorcycles will be required to identify to EPA those actions which will cause the motorcycle noise levels to increase beyond the legal limits. The Agency will encourage States and localities to adopt programs enforcing against the most obvious acts of tampering which do not necessarily require testing to establish a violation, because such regulations are relatively easy to enforce. Besides tailoring its Federal noise emission regulations to facilitate State and local control, the EPA will further focus its State and local assistance programs to the area of motorcycle control. The Agency has already provided financial assistance to 24 States and 23 localities to start up and operate noise control programs.

The priority source which these States and cities are addressing currently is motor vehicle noise, including motorcycles. Support is also provided in motor vehicle control from the EPA Regional Offices, the Regional Technical Centers, and the ECHO (Each Community Helps Others) peer match. Such assistance includes funds for personnel and equipment, equipment loan, assistance in drafting legislation and advice on test methodology and enforcement. In the next two years these EPA support programs are intended to increasingly be oriented towards mere specific motorcycle controls.

EPA's approach in developing tools which States and localities can adopt has three phases.

The first phase, which is currently in operation, is the development and publication of model legislation for vehicle operation controls (street pass-by-limits) and visual inspection of exhaust systems. This is being carried out in a Joint project with the National Association of Noise Control Officers (NANCO). As indicated earlier, a number of cities have already adopted these types of control. Assistance to communities and States in drafting this type of legislation and in carrying out enforcement is also provided through the ECHO program, Regional Technical Centers and the EPA Regional Offices.

In the second phase, which will precede the effective date of the national emission regulation, the EPA will develop model legislation to Implement the "label match-up" scheme and anti-tampering controls against new (regulated) vehicles.

For this model motorcycle noise control legislation, the Agency will also develop a training manual to be used by police trainers to instruct officers in enforcing the ordinances. This manual will include discussion of instrumentation, enforcement procedures and the rationale behind the model provisions.

In addition, model legislation applicable to pre-regulated motorcycles will be revised to more specifically set out provisions controlling motorcycle modifications, tampering and operations. In all these model laws the Agency will avoid extensive noise measurement requirements and will include among its recommendations ordinances which can be enforced without noise measuring equipment and with only limited additional training for existing Police personnel. The model label "match-up" legislation will also be drafted to include provisions for possible future Federal labeling requirements for automobiles and replacement exhaust systems for these vehicles. The label match-up and tampering list provisions (described earlier) provide a logical extension of the existing State and local control structure. As the percentage of Federally regulated vehicles in the fleet increases, the importance of these provisions will grow. Another feature of this phase will be the development by EPA of posters and brochures informing motorcycle owners, dealers and repair shops of their responsibilities under the Federal law. These will be designed in such a way that State and local officials can add references to applicable State and local laws, and will be available to State and local officials who wish to distribute them to local motorcycle dealers, repair and parts shops. The effectiveness of the motorcycle noise control program depends, in part, on fully informing potential violators of the Federal, State and local laws.

Although the EPA's approach includes an emphasis on use by States and cities of the label match-up and other controls which will not require noise measurement tests, some States and communities may desire a stationary test which correlates well with the Federal pass-by test to facilitate State and local enforcement against tampering and in identifying motorcycle exhaust systems which degrade rapidly in their noise attenuation capabilities. Accordingly, EPA will coordinate with interested parties the development of a "short test." If this proves feasible, the Agency will use it to develop and publish model implementation procedures and operational equipment ordinances based on this "short test," Such an effort would also include development of a compatible in-use street side traffic measurement test. It should be noted, however, that communities will still be able to use existing operational ordinances controlling the use of motorcycles. Operational limits are analogous to street limits which only cover the operator performance and do not specify equipment limits.

In the development of all model legislation (and particularly the label "match-up" and anti-tampering provisions) the EPA will seek extensive review by State and local noise central personnel, police and legal officials and the industry. If there are difficult points, it may be necessary to field test some of the model laws prior to publication for voluntary adoption by interested States and cities.

The primary orientation of most State and local motorcycle noise control programs is to prevent excessive noise produced by Individual motorcyclists. The programs here outlined assume that this orientation will continue in most States and cities while the Federal Government will have responsibility for enforcing the noise emission standards for new motorcycles and replacement exhaust systems, and the labeling provisions which require compliance by manufacturers. In one or two States, however, where there are currently noise programs with sufficient equipment and technical expertise, and where the replacement exhaust manufacturing industry is concentrated, the State may want to enforce compliance by the manufacturers. Such enforcement would require adoption of the Federal limits and test procedure. The EPA would strongly encourage this and will be prepared to assist any State that wishes to initiate such a program.

EPA's approach to control off-road vehicles at the state and local level is more oriented toward controlling the time and place of the use of these vehicles, rather than controlling individual vehicle emission limits. This is achieved by land use controls and curfews. The street motorcycle enforcement approach outlined above should facilitate control of illegal use of these vehicles on streets. EPA will also make available information various programs to control use and influence driver habits (such as off road and minibike "round-up where younger drivers are instructed safe and legal use of these vehicles). The Agency, will also develop legislation covering land use and area controls. This part of the EPA program will probably not begin until after the first standards go into effect.

The final feature of the EPA program will be ongoing surveillance of the rate of motorcycle exhaust system (noise related) modifications and tampering. The Agency expects to initiate this program after the effective date of the first standards to provide a means of determining the effectiveness of the State, local, and Federal controls.

EPA's over-all technical assistance objective is to promote at least 400 local programs covering a minimum urbanized population of 72 million and 40 State programs by 1985. The agency's regulatory programs are designed to fit into this State and local control structure. This is consistent with congressional intent, in the Quiet Communities Act, that noise control ought to be primarily the responsibility of State and local governments. The Federal motorcycle noise emission levels and the programs described above will help achieve the goal of a quieter nation through strengthened and expanded local control of this environmental problem.