Question: Is there no limit to the exhaust noise emitted by motorcycles? If there is a limit, why is it in many cases not enforced?
Answer: Yes, there is a limit to the exhaust noise of a motorcycle. The following RCWs are some of what covers the problem:
RCW 46.37.390 (1) Every motor vehicle shall at all times be equipped with a muffler in good working order and in constant operation to prevent excessive or unusual noise, and no person shall use a muffler cut-out, bypass, or similar device upon a motor vehicle on a highway. (3) No person shall modify the exhaust system of a motor vehicle in a manner which will amplify or increase the noise emitted by the engine of such vehicle above that emitted by the muffler originally installed on the vehicle, and it shall be unlawful for any person to operate a motor vehicle not equipped as required by this subsection, or which has been amplified as prohibited by this subsection. ... This subsection (3) does not apply to vehicles 25 or more years old or to passenger vehicles being operated off the highways in an organized racing or competitive event conducted by a recognized sanctioning body.
RCW 46.37.537 Motorcycles - exhaust system. No person shall modify the exhaust system of a motorcycle in a manner which will amplify or increase the noise emitted by the engine of such vehicle above that emitted by the muffler originally installed on the vehicle, and it shall be unlawful for any person to operate a motorcycle not equipped as required by this section, or which has been amplified as prohibited by this section.
As to why it is not enforced, most officers don't have the specialized training required to be able to operate and testify as to the results of a decibel meter test that would be needed in most cases to show that the motorcycle (or car for that matter) is louder or has been modified to make it louder than it was originally.
Q: The people who live on our block are sick and tired of cars speeding down the street. Is there a way we can purchase a couple of speed bumps to make our street safer for all of us?
A: Short answer would be no. The city Public Works Department is responsible for anything that is placed in or alongside a street or road. You would need to contact them to discuss the possibility of putting in some type of traffic-calming device (there are several options). They need to look at the area and determine if one is needed and what type, if any, would be the best option.
ABOUT RULES OF THE ROAD
Rules of the Road is a regular column with questions and answers on road laws, safe driving habits and general police practices.
Answers come from David Wright, a retired officer from the Bellingham Police Department who is now serving on the Whatcom County Traffic Safety Task Force.
To ask a question, go to http://www.bellinghamherald.com/ask-a-question/.