The New Hampshire Law, House Bill 1442, that singles out motorcycles as “noise polluters” passed the state Senate yesterday and will become law when it is signed by Governor John Lynch. The new law sets a maximum noise level for an idling two-cylinder motorcycle of 92 decibels at idle and 96 decibels at 2000 RPM. The previous limit had been 106 decibels.
Both those noise levels are lower than the whining and moaning of Bill Mitchell, the noise nut who almost singlehandedly got the law enacted. Mitchell, who was “annoyed by loud motorcycles roaring past his New Castle home” founded a lobbying group called New Hampshire Citizens Against Loud Motorcycles. He had previously sought to have motorcycles that are louder than 82 decibels outlawed. He has described motorcycle noise as a “serious breach of the peace.”
Tasker And Webb
Virtually no one testified against the new law when it was debated before the State Senate Transportation Committee two weeks ago. The only opponents were two Republican representatives, Kyle Tasker and Jim Webb.
“A baby crying is 110 decibels,” Tasker testified. “There are a lot of things louder. Why are we singling out motorcycles?”
Webb called the new law “discriminatory.”
However none of the people who might have been expected to oppose House Bill 1442 did. A motorcycle dealer named George Mullin testified that “The testing is a good first step in solving the problem.” Mullin obviously believes “the problem” is motorcyclists rather than noise nuts.
Dan Bennett, who works for the New Hampshire Auto Dealers Association testified. “We did field testing in New Hampshire. We did a lot of homework. We really do believe that the amended bill serves as a solution.”
Mitchell’s anti-motorcycle group was disappointed the law was not more stringent. “We think this is a good compromise,” a spokesman named Dave Hickey said.
Candi Alexander who is President of the New Hampshire Motorcyclists’ Rights Organization said the new law was “the best solution that we have.” Some motorcyclist may believe that other solutions to the terrible noise that is Bill Mitchell are possible but Alexander apparently does not represent them.
Who’s Getting Paid
The new law will take effect January 1, 2013. It will not be enforced during this year’s Laconia Motorcycle Week which starts June 9. But, it will be enforced next year and it certainly will be used as a revenue source by various New Hampshire police forces after it takes effect.
Two weeks ago Rye Police Chief Kevin Walsh and State Police Sergeant Stephen Kace both testified the law “would not have a negative impact” on riders. Kace even promised the Senate “There would be no targeting” out of state riders and that there would be “no blockade at the borders.” Nevertheless both of the forces Walsh and Kace represent have done exactly that. In September 2010, the Rye and North Hampton Police Departments and the New Hampshire State Police set up a motorcycle noise checkpoint at the town line between Rye and North Hampton.
Chris Real, who owns a company named DPS Technical Incorporated in Upland, California will also profit from the new law. It relies on a standard for measuring motorcycle exhaust noise called SAE J2825 and Real wrote it. The standard he wrote, depends on equipment manufactured by Real’s company.