So Schmidt will head to Fayetteville this week for the eighth annual Bikes, Blues & BBQ motorcycle rally with noise-reducing baffles. The event runs Wednesday through Saturday at several venues.
“I decided it was easier to make it quiet than to go to court and fight tickets all the time,” said Schmidt, building manager at Believers Church in Broken Arrow, Okla. “It takes some of the fun out of it. That’s part of the custom motorcycle — the sound and the noise.” Schmidt’s toned-down pipes will fit in perfectly at Bikes, Blues & BBQ, where city leaders and event organizers want a quieter event.
The city has shifted major festival events away from Dickson Street, the hub of the rally that organizers say is attended by more than 300, 000 people. And they have asked riders to keep the noise down when they are in residential areas. “I think it’s completely impossible to make Dickson Street neighborhoods quieter, but you can try,” said Greg Mack, the rally’s advertising and promotions director.
The event’s Web site — www. bikesbluesandbbq. org — posts a letter from Fayetteville Police Chief Greg Tabor that tells visitors how police will “closely monitor the noise level of all motorcycles” and how city law limits noise to 78 decibels.
The City Council also revamped a noise ordinance to give police officers more discretion about enforcing the law. The amendment wasn’t meant to target Bikes, Blues & BBQ, said Mayor Dan Coody, and won’t take effect until Oct. 18, more than a week after the festival ends. “In the motorcycle community, the groups are discouraging straight, loud pipes,” said Coody. “If they rode quietly, there wouldn’t be noise-ordinance changes all over the country.
“ The police here can use discretion. If someone is obnoxious, the police are going to talk to them. If they are reasonable, they are going to be left alone.”
City Attorney Kit Williams said it’s a difficult law to enforce, because it requires police officers to stand a certain distance from the noise and measure decibels. The amended law doesn’t require a decibel reading.
(what??? well does the current law require? A guess?)
Last year during Bikes, Blues & BBQ, police gave verbal warnings to rowdy and noisy people and cited 13 people for disorderly conduct, said police spokesman Cpl. Craig Stout. Jody Collins, who sells motorcycles for Route 66 Harley-Davidson in Tulsa, said police didn’t seem interested in writing citations during last year’s Fayetteville rally. He’s certain motorcycle riders who revved their engines last year were well over the law’s decibel limit.
“On Dickson Street, it was almost a loud pipe contest last year,” said Collins, who will ride a new Harley-Davidson Ultra Classic this year. “The motorcycle enthusiasts have brought the noise concerns upon themselves,” he said. “It’s a loud pipe contest on every corner, and the street is lined on both sides with people, and that’s what they are expecting.
“ If it’s bothering people, it needs to be addressed.”
Police said they’ve been able in previous years to quell revving motorcycles by ordering the drivers to stop.
“The chief’s stance on this is we’re not going to change our enforcement strategy from the past,” Stout said. “We’re gotten several good comments from people who said we were firm but fair. We’re not going to go in there and start cracking the whip.”
Federal noise laws requires motorcycles to meet certain noise levels when they leave factories: Fewer than 80 decibels from 50 feet away. “There’s no doubt at Harley that we love the sound, but we know you can enjoy it without making an excessive amount of noise,” said Harley-Davidson spokesman Rebecca Bortner. “We’ve taken steps to communicate that to our riders.” Cities across the U. S. are cracking down on loud motorcycles.
New York City passed a law that sets a $ 440 fine for a muffler or exhaust system that’s too loud. Last month, police in Lancaster, Pa., began ticketing any motor vehicle driver who draws attention to himself by revving an engine or stepping down hard on the gas pedal to peel out. A new law in Denver establishes a $ 500 fine for anyone with a motorcycle that’s less than 25 years old and doesn’t have a muffler from the factory.
(And in Tennessee if you kill a BIKER it's a $500 fine. Hmmm does anybody else notice the discrepancy?)
Vince Corley, the owner of Crow Creek Tavern in Brookside, said he used to have 150 motorcycle riders crowd into his restaurant and bar on a Saturday night. Now, he’s lucky to have 50. “They shouldn’t let the officers have discretion about who gets a ticket,” Corley said. “They should have to have a decibel meter or something.” (would seem reasonable would it not?)
Tulsa Police spokesman Jason Willingham said officers are pleased they don’t have to measure decibels. Another city ordinance bans modified motorcycle exhaust systems. “If they were just loud, we didn’t do anything,” Willingham said. “But if they were at the stoplight and revved the engine, we ticketed them. It’s the 1 percent of riders who cause all the problems for us.”
Daytona, Fla., has struggled to satisfy neighbors and motorcycle riders for decades, said Janet Kersey, a vice president and chief operating officer for the Daytona Area Convention and Visitors Bureau. The event she founded — Biketoberfest — started 15 years ago. Bike Week, held in March, has been around for 70 years. Each is among the biggest motorcycle events in the country. “Most people like having the bikers in their communities and the economic benefit of it all, but you start getting more and more in your community than there are hotels available for them,” Kersey said. “You have to recognize that people have to go to work, kids have to go to school, and kids still take tests in those schools and they need to do well. People want to sleep. When it gets too big, it starts to intrude into the daily lives.” Ride hard, Ride loud, Ride Hard, Ride FreeAdd to Technorati Favorites rc
For too long, communities have accepted loud noise as an annoyance or nuisance, an inevitable byproduct of a more populous country. That attitude is changing.
As National Public Radio recently reported, dozens of cities across the country, from New York and Denver to Lancaster, Pa., are passing laws to limit the noise from loud motorcycles and other vehicles. Locally, residents in Hartford's North End are demanding a stop to loud music emanating from Main Street nightclubs on weekends.
They are right to do so, and city officials must take their complaints seriously. No one has a right to impose on another's solitude. Inappropriate noise is an annoyance, a quality-of-life issue, but it isn't just a nuisance. As many health experts including former Surgeon General William Stewart have said, excessive noise is a health problem.
Dr. Arline Bronzaft, a New York environmental psychologist and expert in noise pollution, has linked excessive noise to a number of health problems including stress, headaches, insomnia, high blood pressure and other ailments. At its worst, excessive noise can cause hearing loss.
Communities have often backed away from passing and enforcing noise ordinances because they are difficult to enforce. But that's no excuse, nor is it in a town's best interest. Without peace and quiet, a community doesn't have much to brag about. Town officials need to educate residents about excessive noise, and work with them and the private sector to stop it.For example, Harley-Davidson, the largest U.S. manufacturer of motorcycles, is trying to get its customers to go easier on the ears. A company spokesman told NPR that the bikes are manufactured to federal noise control standards, but that some owners - a minority of them, to be sure - alter the machines to make them louder. These people should either be arrested, or treated for arrested development.
HD didn't say that. Did they? rc....rideAdd to Technorati Favorites free