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Automatic Exhaust Sound Enforcement Coming to a State Near You Soon

California Is Just The Tip Of The Iceberg

Following news from the UK and France, California has announced that automated exhaust noise enforcement will be put in place from 2023, initially running to 2027.

Big Brother Now Has His Ears as Well As His Eyes Open

Automatic Exhaust Sound Enforcement Coming to a State Near You Soon
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After Market Exhaust?
If you live in California, your loud exhaust might get you into trouble as noise-detecting cameras are set to be trialled between 2023 and 2027

What’s the old saying: loud pipes save lives? Well, maybe they do but, if you happen to live in California, loud pipes might also get you a ticket.

It used to be that speeding was the worst social evil - that or driving or riding a vehicle that really shouldn’t be on the road, endangering not only your own but other lives as well.

However, despite a recent study in Europe to find what were the most annoying noises in an urban environment, where motorcycles came 17th, behind road works, loud music, dogs barking, babies crying and couples quarrelling, trains, trucks and buses, loud exhausts on passing cars and bikes are seen as a major problem. Never mind the fact that a loud exhaust might only disturb you for a few seconds at most, cars and bikes are seen as easy targets by legislators and a way of ensuring votes at the next election.

Current legislation is pretty vague in many states but all that is about to change, if an upcoming test in California is successful.

Automatic Exhaust Sound Enforcement Coming to a State Near You Soon
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Enough Cameras Already
We have speed cameras, red light cameras, urban monitoring cameras. How many more will we be subjected to?

Between January 2023 and December 2027, six cities across the state will be trialling automated-camera exhaust-noise enforcement equipment. Currently, cars have a 95-decibel limit and motorcycles an 80-decibel limit. Now, if you’re sitting on a bike that exceeds that, the sound is with you constantly but, to a bystander on the side of the road, it’s here one second and gone the next. Yes, if you happen to live next to a busy road, the constant blare of loud exhausts might get a little tiring but, hey, you live next to a busy road: what do you expect?

If you are caught by one of the cameras with a too-loud exhaust, you’ll just get a warning the first time and the zones where the cameras are operative must be well sign-posted so at least you will know when you are in the zone.

It’s not like we’re not used to roadside cameras: speed enforcement and red light transgression cameras have been around for decades but are we getting so intolerant that we have to worry about how much noise our vehicles make for a few seconds passing a house?

Automatic Exhaust Sound Enforcement Coming to a State Near You Soon
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Now, your loud exhaust can get you a fine, even if anyone standing by the side of the road hears it only for a few seconds.

I understand that not everyone is as passionate about the sound of a big V8 or V-Twin motorcycle engine as you reading this, but this smacks to me of the syndrome of people moving into the vicinity of a race track which has been operating quite happily for decades, only to complain about the noise every weekend! The problem is that that one voice can shut down the track for good and that is just intolerance gone mad.

It’s not that we’re anti-law here at, but where will it end? Noise meters in the bedroom to penalise you if you snore too loudly? It’s a joke, of course, but given the way things are going, George Orwell’s 1984 is getting closer to being a reality every day.

So, if you live in California, get that loud exhaust fitted toute suite and enjoy it while you can before January 2023!

Harry Fisher
Harry Fisher
Motorcycling Contributor
Born and raised in England, he has lived in South Africa with his family since 2002. Harry has owned examples of Triumph, Norton, BSA, MV Agusta, Honda, BMW, Ducati, Harley Davidson, Kawasaki and Moto Morini motorcycles. He regrets selling all of them.  Read full bio
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