AMA Questions & Answers
Q: What is "excessive noise?"
A: No one likes excessive or unreasonable noise. Confusion arises because everyone has a different definition of "excessive." Noise considered excessive in one environment may be acceptable in another. It's up to you to determine what is excessive. This determination shouldn't always be based on the rider, but rather the conditions around the rider. Some factors to consider include surroundings, time of day, traffic mix, people present, etc.
Q: Why did the AMA suddenly issue this position statement?
A: The AMA has fought motorcycle bans in St. Louis, Detroit, Brockton, Massachusetts, and Springfield, Illinois. The foundation for each was tied to excessive noise. More recently we have confronted proposed motorcycle prohibitions in Chicago and New York City. Motorcycle noise, again, was the justification for these proposals.
In the past several years, the AMA has spent well over $100,000 defending lawsuits and confronting legislative prohibitions initiated by zealous legislators responding to their belief that motorcycles are too loud. In Europe, where road closures to stifle excessive noise are becoming almost commonplace, anti-tampering legislation and restrictive sound emission requirements are under serious consideration.
The position results from the Board's desire to avoid further restrictions on motorcycling. If the excessive noise problem is not addressed voluntarily, and in a timely fashion, these restrictions are inevitable. The Board agrees that failing to raise this warning, despite the potential negative reception by some, would be shirking their responsibility to AMA members and the motorcycling community.
Q: If my exhaust is modified or capable of producing "excessive noise," will I be denied access to AMA or other motorcycle events?
A: There are no plans to do so. However, all motorcyclists need to become more sensitive to how they affect others. The AMA has encouraged event organizers to use advertising, peer pressure and enforcement of event rules to discourage excessively loud motorcycles.
Q: Why should appropriate laws and ordinances against excessive vehicle noise be fairly and consistently enforced?
A: The AMA believes that if existing laws and ordinances governing excessive noise from vehicles of all types were fairly and consistently enforced, the problem of noisy vehicles would be effectively eliminated.
Q: What good is it to regulate myself if others continue to make excessive noise?
A: Excessive noise is not the fault of any one brand, any particular style of bike, or any single segment of the motorcycle industry. It is a community-wide problem and we all need to be part of the solution.
Q: Is the AMA telling me to replace my aftermarket exhaust with an original-equipment exhaust?
A: No. However, modified exhaust systems should not increase sound to an offensive level.