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Report from Virginia Motorcycle Lobby Day

January 20, 2009 by  

Lisa and I had an interesting time in Richmond this weekend during our visit to the Capitol. Although we didn’t get to speak to all of our delegates and state senators, we were able to make a good showing with some of them.

There are a few pieces of legislation of concern to motorcyclists being introduced this year.
These are some of the ones that need our support:

House Bill 1873, patron is Delegate John Cosgrove
This would streamline the process of obtaining an “M” endorsement by a member of the military stationed outside of Virginia. Currently, military personnel must return to Virginia, take the written test, return in 30 days to take the skills test or return to complete a Basic Rider course. This bill would allow personnel to complete a course or test at their duty station and have those honored by Virginia DMV.

House Bill 1906, patron is Delegate Ward Armstrong
This bill would allow modulating brake lights on motorcycles. Currently there is some confusion at inspection stations about modulating brake lights.

There is one bill that needs to be defeated:

Senate Bill 933, patron is Senator Linda Puller
This bill would require that motorcycle mufflers be stamped with an EPA compliance notification and to comply with federal standard CFR40-205.166. This would eliminate the ability to install any aftermarket exhaust system on a bike. This bill does not apply to other motor vehicles, but singles out motorcycles and would probably affect 70-80% of bikes operated legally now. The current law allows an exhaust that is comparable to stock.

To find your representatives in the General Assembly, visit:

Education, not legislation.



8 Responses to “Report from Virginia Motorcycle Lobby Day”

  1. Loud Pipes Violate Rights on February 16th, 2009 3:56 pm

    Please let me clarify SB33.

    The law singles out motorcycles because they are by far the largest source of noise pollution. You are correct that 80% + bikes would be in violation of the law, they already clearly are. You know, the laws are in place to protect the general public from these inconsiderate scofflaws.

    If you installed a loud muffler, you probably already know that it is illegal. Why don’t you start acting like a considerate, normal citizen? Just imagine if 80% of all vehicles used mufflers, not to muffle noise but to create noise like most motorcycles on the road today.

    According to state law already in existence, “An exhaust system shall not be deemed to prevent excessive or unusual noise if it permits or allows the escape of noise in excess of that permitted by the standard factory equipment exhaust system….” And, according to federal law any motorcycle muffler designed for street legal use and sold commercially as standard factory equipment in the U.S. must bear the EPA label. Period.

    Do you have any understanding about the health affects that this type of noise pollution has on people? It is not trivial although I am sure it appears to motorcycles to be a trivial nuisance. Just check the NIH and WHO (national and international health organizations) for a wide variety of scientific studies on this subject.

    You can read the entire background here:

  2. Willie Bowles on March 1st, 2009 12:53 am

    As a Tractor Trailer driver of 30 years and a motorcycle rider , I would rather be able to here a motorcycle in my blind spot than to run over the operator. All large TRUCKS and EQUIPMENT have BLIND SPOTS.AS a Biker and Heavy Equipment Transporter I have many years of safe driving, but have close calls on a Daily bases with Motorcycles which I can’t hear or see in my Blind Spots. PLEASE TAKE INTO CONSIDERATION THE SAFETY OF THE BIKERS WHO WANT TO RIDER AND NOT BREAK THE LAW. (VDOT TRANSPORTER). WILLIE BOWLES

  3. Chris Kaltwasser on March 12th, 2009 12:22 pm

    Wow…How silly we have become to refer to a loud motorcycle as an ‘urban blight’. Isn’t there something else people can jump onto their soapbox for that is more important than a minor annoyance like a loud exhaust? Somehow this website draws a dubious connection between riding a motorcycle and an increase in crime. The fact that this is even said: “Police officials learned from neighborhood community meetings that residents were more concerned with crimes that caused the degradation of their neighborhoods, mainly from prostitution, drug dealing, blaring car radios and loud motorcycles, than high profile crimes like murder, robbery and rape.” is downright silly. So now we have established that riding a loud motorcycle is worse than Robbing, raping and then murdering people? Perhaps not worse, but a larger concern for the population.
    While I will concede that the noise shouldn’t go above 95db, I don’t see how anyone that moves into the metro areas of ANY urban sprawl can site motorcycle noise as a real reason to move. If noise was an issue like this, then there are far too many nice places outside the city to live (Pittsburgh in particular is filled with much nicer places to live as well as more affordable.) If the largest problem you face in life is motorcycle noise…or even noise in general, then you lead a very sheltered life. Go out and champion a cause that actually has a detrimental effect on society. If you still feel the need to believe that noise is that big of an issue as the website misleads, check out a top 10 worst places to live list. Notice how not one notes ‘bike noise’ as the urban blight that is a bigger concern than murder, rape and robbery that the website suggests?

  4. SB933 on April 25th, 2009 8:03 am

    So you dirtbags feel like it is just fine to intrude into the lives into hundreds of other people each time you ride? Why don’t you educate yourselves on the “safety” aspects of loud motorcycles, easily found quotes from motorcycle instructors and other. This is simply bull and if you believe it then you are fooling yourself.

    The fact is, you don’t have to ride a motorcycle and you have a car, but people have to live in their homes, sleep, carry on conversations, etc…

    Fairly common sense stuff, but beyond the comprehension of dirt bag, sociopath retards.

    No, this should not be a larger priority than rape, etc… what a stupid comment. However there is obviously problem when 90% of motorcycles (Harleys) are using illegal mufflers. These same modifications mean that each motorcycle pollutes more than 30 cars.

  5. Frankie Johnson on May 5th, 2009 1:32 pm

    Just how often does the loud pipes of a motorcycle intrude on your sensitive nature? You want us to believe that a bike goes by your vehicle or home every 30 minutes! Don’t you have something better to bitch about?

    As a former law enforcement officer I can honestly say that I would rather spend my time busting intoxicated drivers, drug dealers, and child molesters.

    You don’t like my loud pipe. Ok Fine. I guaran-damn-tee that your doing something in your everyday life that I don’t like!!!


  6. Chris Kaltwasser on May 17th, 2009 11:19 pm

    ‘dirtbags’ and ‘retards’
    First: I am neither a dirtbag or retarded (that has been confirmed by medical authorities that is). And second: I just may be a sociopath if you are mainstream society. Third: I do not, in fact, ride a harley or other brand of motorcycle. I merely commented on the fact that people, like sb933, have nothing more pressing to worry about than loud exhausts. The stupid comment about rape was taken directly from the website given above. And yes it is stupid to think that a loud exhaust should be a larger concern than rape and murder. Not my words mind you.
    Did you know that 75% of all statistics, like your 90%, are made off the cuff and contain no real facts? But there is a funny thing about what you said: “These same modifications mean that each motorcycle pollutes more than 30 cars.” I wanted to let you know that the muffler does ZERO to reduce pollution, that would be the catalytic converter. So that one bike contributing 30 times compared to a car isn’t valid at all. Not to mention, that one bike is ridden 1/10 the amount the car is driven (you like phony statistics so I threw in a couple for you).

    I am currently in a place where they have no loud motorcycles tearing through the streets at all hours of the day and night. As a matter of fact I have only seen 2 in the 6 months I have been here, and they have been little hondas that were more quiet than the vehicle I have to ride in. It’s has a 350 Caterpillar turbo diesel and weighs 40,000+ pounds. Probably puts out more noxious fumes than any bike made to date, collectively. I imagine pressing the throttle to the floor is roughly the equivalent to clubbing several baby seals, or perhaps chopping down at least an acre of forest. I wonder if the locals are blogging, twittering, or whatever about how they wish the noise my vehicle makes would end. But as irony has it, over the roar of the motor, I still happen to hear gunfire and explosions on a near daily basis. And as a matter of fact, they don’t wish my little engine was gone. They actually wish my little noise machine stayed around a lot longer. You see, the racket my vehicle makes actually means they can sleep a little safer in their beds…minus the times we ride by of course. Now you can think they want us gone, but I actually KNOW differently. You see, regardless of believing if we should be here or not, my little world has so many more things to worry about than the noise from an exhaust.
    How jaded and detached we have become where the sound from an exhaust rests so heavily on our minds that we forget to be thankful for all that we have. Get out of your tin can and take a ride on a motorcycle. Enjoy the summer, even if it is just on the weekends. Come man my .50 cal machine gun, I would gladly trade you places to go riding for a day or two. Remember, there are no loud motorcycles here!

  7. Loud pipes violate rights on June 20th, 2009 5:02 pm

    How nice that some of you live in a place with no loud motorcycles. I happen to live in a nice place where we frequently have over 150 loud motorcycles every weekend day, heard over any activity in our home that is over 200 ft from the road. We would like to get out and enjoy the porch, yard, but the noise drives us indoors, neighbors too.

    I can guarantee you that I do nothing that affects you in your own home during any activity. Ever heard of sleep? Did you know that kids often sleep during the day? Many people work at night and sleep during the day? I can very well guess that you wouldn’t give a damn, its all about you.

    My oberservations are based on research, mufflers on newer bikes do have a lot to do with pollution, and all bikes are affected (by affecting back pressure). 1 illegally equipped motorcycle can easily generate more air pollution than 80 automobiles – according to the california air resources board. Businesses making these modifications (referred to as tampering) are supposed to be liable for fines up to $10k per bike.

    Similarly, the comments regarding safety are simply misinformed, just do a little research. Let me help:

    Some motorcyclists profess to believe that “loud pipes save lives,” although research tends to contradict that popular axiom.

    “Loud Pipes Save Lives” or The Madness Behind the Myth

    Pat Hahn of the state of Minnesota’s Motorcycle Safety Center says he understands individual expression. But he says the idea that loud pipes save lives is a myth. Hahn says there’s a problem with the safety theory because the pipes direct the sound backwards.

    The EPA also considered the issue of “noise visibility” as popularized by the slogan, “loud pipes save lives”. This is the theory that a small group of motorcyclists believes that they are making themselves more conspicuous to other motorists in traffic by modifying their motorcycle exhaust systems to produce an excessive level of exhaust noise. The EPA concluded that the proposed noise emissions regulations would have no effect on rider safety.

  8. Chris Kaltwasser on July 14th, 2009 3:39 pm

    Wow, further proof that you have your head inserted your 4th point of contact. I am positive you do nothing to affect where I have to live currently. My point exactly. You are more concerned with ‘loud pipes’ than any pressing issues in the world.

    Some solutions you could try that would not affect anyone else: 1. Get some earmuffs to sleep with. 2. Move.where your house isnt sitting on the road. 3. Wash your mouth out with some buckshot flavored mouthwash.

    Any of these three will probably solve your problem. Personally, I vote for number 3.