Adam Lynn, traffic reporter for The Olympian, examines a common lament regarding motorcycle noise. Namely, Washington State has regulations governing motorcycle exhaust noise but motorcyclists ride with impunity as the regulations appear to be rarely enforced. Lynn’s research revealed that there were two relevant statutes governing exhaust and muffler noise, so he then turned to the Washington State Patrol to ask them about enforcement.
While the spokesperson for the Washington State Patrol was able to tell Lynn the number of people stopped for excessive vehicle noise (3,214), which presumably included motorcycles, he could not say how many citations were handed out. “In many instances,” said the spokesperson, “troopers simply inform drivers that their vehicles are illegally modified and need to be brought into compliance with the law,” adding that many owners plead ignorance and claim that they thought the modified exhaust was legal because it was installed by a muffler or motorcycle shop.
Apparently the Washington State troopers are unaware of the legal principle that ignorance of the law is no excuse. And we must add that the claimed ignorance is less believable when you realize that the offending exhaust pipes are aftermarket. That is, new motorcycles are sold with less offensive exhaust pipes that the owner must replace with modified exhausts in order to make the motorcycle as loud as possible so as to assault as many ears as possible.
Perhaps the Patrol should hand out citations instead of warnings the first time. Nothing like a punishing fine to insure that there won’t be a second time.