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"Delray Beach backs off motorcycle restrictions -- Bikers' lawyers successfully argue legality".

By Angel Streeter | South Florida Sun-Sentinel, November 7, 2007

Delray Beach - Bikers rolled into town, threw around their collective weight and forced city leaders to back down from imposing restrictions on motorcycles on Atlantic Avenue.

They did it with brains rather than brawn. Lawyers representing several motorcycle clubs from Palm Beach and Broward counties successfully argued before city commissioners Tuesday that the city would be violating state laws if it stiffened fines and placed additional restrictions on noisy motorcycles.

Facing a roomful of angry motorcycle enthusiasts, the commission agreed to hold off on passing an amendment to the city's noise abatement law to see whether it jibes with state law. It also gave the Delray Beach Police Department 90 days to see whether officers could curtail noise complaints along the strip of retail shops and outdoor cafes by enforcing the current noise ordinance and educating bikers about the law.

"This is a significant victory," said Demetrios C. Kirkiles, attorney for the motorcycle group ABATE. "We made the city pause."

Bikers rallied last month in a collective outcry over the city's original proposal to ban motorcycles altogether on the five-block stretch of Atlantic Avenue from Swinton Avenue to U.S. 1 from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. But city commissioners shifted gears after hundreds of bikers rode to City Hall two weeks ago to protest the ban.

Instead, they proposed a harsher noise abatement law that would have required motorcycles manufactured after Dec. 31, 1982, riding on downtown Atlantic Avenue to include labeled exhaust systems that meet federal noise emission standards.

The revised law also would have required motorcycles manufactured between 1982 and 1985 to emit 83 or fewer decibels; and for those built after 1985, 80 or fewer decibels.

The ordinance also included clauses against throttle advances and "raucous" noises.

But that wouldn't fly with motorcyclists either.

They argued that the city had no authority to single out motorcycle riders and prevent them from driving on public roads.

They also claimed the city could not impose specific equipment requirements on licensed vehicles. That's the domain of the state.

"We want to resolve this issue the city's having a problem with," said Steven Sessa, a lawyer representing motorcycle clubs. "But this is not a problem that needs legislation. This is not a motorcycle problem. This is a noise problem."

Even though city leaders backed down, they pledged not to let the issue die.

"I do think we need to pass this ordinance," said Mayor Rita Ellis, who first proposed the ban, citing numerous complaints from diners and downtown business owners. "Those of us who do dine downtown see violations of the noise ordinance take place on a regular basis. . . . Officers have told me the top two complaints they get is motorcycle [noise] and parking."

Motorcycle groups also pledged to rein in unruly riders who are creating problems.

"You have to be polite in public," Kirkiles said. "You need to curb your pipes."

Angel Streeter can be reached at [email protected] or 561-243-6537.
 

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I haven't seen your bird.
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I've harped on this before, so I won't belabor it. But I think most cities would be well served by choosing to crack down on loud bass beat radio blasters instead of bikes. At least if a guy has loud pipes, it only takes a few seconds for him to pass by while the bass beat jerk offs sit at a stoplight and abuse your eardrums for a solid minute. I'd love to be able to get close enough to one of those cars to pack something really smelly all around their exhaust manifolds — like maybe a pound of lutefisk.
 

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I wouldn't celebrate this is a victory just yet.

Florida law states:

Muffler: No person shall modify the exhaust system in such a manner that the noise emitted is above that emitted by the vehicle as originally manufactured. No person shall operate a vehicle with an exhaust system so modified.

Maximum Sound Level Maximum allowable A-weighted sound levels based on measurements taken at a distance of 50 feet from center line of travel (Sec. 316.293): 1) Manufactured before 1/1/79--82dBA (35mph or less); 86dBA (over 35mph) 2)Manufactured after 1/1/79--78dBA(35mph or less); 82dBA(over 35mph).



All Delray or anywhere else in Florida, for that matter, needs to do to make it really hard on bikes is to enforce the current Florida statute. They don't need a new local ordinance. There's nothing new about the law I quoted, it's just been conveniently ignored for many years. Now, with the public becoming more and more unhappy with loud pipes, the public is demanding enforcement.

I keep telling people down here that if we don't get more considerate to others, we're all going to be scrambling to find and install stock, EPA labled pipes.

I also have to say that there's some real irony in the picture of hundreds of riders on bikes with state-illegal exhaust systems showing up for a government meeting, claiming that their "rights" are being infringed upon by a noise ordinance.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
FXR2 said:
I wouldn't celebrate this is a victory just yet
Well, yes and no! Delray initially wanted to ban ALL motorcycles from a five city block area where noise complaints were noted. Diners who favored eating meals next to street traffic led the barrage of complaints to the Delray mayor's office. The motorcycle ban failed to gain support after being found to be illegal, so the next move was to draft a new NOISE ordinance aimed specifically at motorcycles.

All Delray or anywhere else in Florida, for that matter, needs to do to make it really hard on bikes is to enforce the current Florida statute
I agree, but how many towns are willing to fund purchase of $$$$$ decibel measuring equipment and train policeman to use it within established guidelines, and use those readings to cite bikers with loud exhaust systems. A recent Denver excessive noise citation against a biker with loud pipes was dismissed because there was no sound reading taken and presented at trial.

I keep telling people down here that if we don't get more considerate to others, we're all going to be scrambling to find and install stock, EPA labled pipes
Unfortunately, the EPA stamping on OEM exhaust pipes is a recent addition. What about the older motorcycles -- wouldn't those bikes exhaust be illegal without the now required EPA stamp?

I also have to say that there's some real irony in the picture of hundreds of riders on bikes with state-illegal exhaust systems showing up for a government meeting, claiming that their "rights" are being infringed upon by a noise ordinance.
Those biker groups brought along their attorney's who cautioned Delray city leaders that the new ordinance was an illegally drafted local noise ordinance which singled out motorcycles, which IS contrary to Florida law.
 

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EASY DOES IT
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ebiker said:
Officers have told me the top two complaints they get is motorcycle [noise] and parking."
Sounds like a conundrum to me...they better ban cars too...

If everyone rode bikes there would be no parking problem :blink:
 

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FXR2 said:
I wouldn't celebrate this is a victory just yet.

Florida law states:

Muffler: No person shall modify the exhaust system in such a manner that the noise emitted is above that emitted by the vehicle as originally manufactured. No person shall operate a vehicle with an exhaust system so modified.

Maximum Sound Level Maximum allowable A-weighted sound levels based on measurements taken at a distance of 50 feet from center line of travel (Sec. 316.293): 1) Manufactured before 1/1/79--82dBA (35mph or less); 86dBA (over 35mph) 2)Manufactured after 1/1/79--78dBA(35mph or less); 82dBA(over 35mph).



All Delray or anywhere else in Florida, for that matter, needs to do to make it really hard on bikes is to enforce the current Florida statute. They don't need a new local ordinance. There's nothing new about the law I quoted, it's just been conveniently ignored for many years. Now, with the public becoming more and more unhappy with loud pipes, the public is demanding enforcement.

I keep telling people down here that if we don't get more considerate to others, we're all going to be scrambling to find and install stock, EPA labled pipes.

I also have to say that there's some real irony in the picture of hundreds of riders on bikes with state-illegal exhaust systems showing up for a government meeting, claiming that their "rights" are being infringed upon by a noise ordinance.
78dBA, the lowest reading listed in this law, is still pretty loud. 86dBA is really loud.

So, if you are sitting at a light, blipping away, its really annoying (high idiot factor), but not necessarily illegal.

I hate the idea of noise ordinances. I used to have a very loud chopper, but I did the best I could to curb the "idiot" factor. I must say though, tunnels are a temptation beyond even me. hehe. But seriously, use common sense, and be nice to people while you are off your bike.

And remember, no matter WHAT you do, or don't do, you will not make everyone happy. Some will hate you because you ride well, because you ride.
 
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