Jun 24, 2013

Does the noise law apply to motorcylicsts?

Why did the cops pull me over for a loud muffler when motorcyclists always rev their engines loudly around Sandusky? If there is a noise ordinance in Sandusky, why can motorcyclists drive loudly at night? Alissa on Fifth Street.

Chief John Orzech provided the following answer:

"The vehicles with muffler issues get pulled over because the exhaust isn't working or has excessive noise because of a faulty motor," he said. "Motorcycles generally don't have faulty exhausts so there wouldn't be a violation under this law."

He also provided a section from the Ohio Revised Code provided to this issue:


(a)     Every motor vehicle and motorcycle with an internal combustion engine shall at all times be equipped with a muffler which is in good working order and in constant operation to prevent excessive or unusual noise, and no person shall use a muffler cutout, by-pass or similar device upon a motor vehicle on a highway.  Every motorcycle muffler shall be equipped with baffle plates

(b)     No person shall own, operate or have in the person’s possession any motor vehicle or motorcycle equipped with a device for producing excessive smoke or gas, or so equipped as to permit oil or any other chemical to flow into or upon the exhaust pipe or muffler of such vehicle, or equipped in any other way to produce or emit smoke or dangerous or annoying gases from any portion of such vehicle, other than the ordinary gases emitted by the exhaust of an internal combustion engine under normal operation.

(c)     Whoever violates this section is guilty of a minor misdemeanor.

(ORC 4513.22)

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I also wonder about the noise ordinance coming from the Sandusky Speedway. They raced until way past midnight Saturday night. What is the cut off time for noise that loud? I don't live anywhere near the speedway and it kept me awake. I really feel sorry for people who do live nearby.


You feel sorry for people that choose to live near a speedway? Do you weep for those that live next to railroad crossings or airports? Give me a break. Life is all about choices.


Noise laws aren't always ignored, but why does it happen so often? I don't know. Ask the voters, because it's a political problem, not a technical one.

Millions of American are exposed to enough off-the-job noise to cause hearing loss, and most of that is from vehicle noise.

"Excessive noise seriously harms human health and interferes with people’s daily activities at school, at work, at home and during leisure time. It can disturb sleep, cause cardiovascular and psychophysiological effects, reduce performance and provoke annoyance responses and changes in social behaviour."
- World Health Organization

The standard for a quiet residential interior is typical set at 45 dBA. (bBA means decibels - "A" scale.)

Most cities have noise ordinances but enforcement is typically poor, as those most impacted tend to have low incomes and are easily intimidated.

Federal Environmental laws have addressed noise polution, but funding is weak or nonexistent for laws powerful interests don't like, so EPA's authority has since been shifted to state and local governments, who were deemed the best able to handle noise issues. (pause for laughter)

Per the Federal Noise Control Act, Street Motorcycles after 1986 are limited to 80 dBA. Before that it's 83 dBA. (That's about twice as loud. It's a logarithmic scale, so the sound energy roughly double with every 3 decibels.) Mopeds after 1983 are limited to 70 dBA. Modifications which cause motorcycles to exceed Federal noise standards are prohibited.

Sandusky has a noise ordinance. It sets noise limits for residential, commercial, and industrial areas, and lower nightime (9:00 p.m. - 8:00 a.m.) limits for residential areas only. If your neighbor is serenading you with 50 dBA or more at night, you can call the cops. During the day, it's gotta be 60 dBA, which is like ten times louder.

The ordinance requires the City Manager to appoint a Noise Control Administrator, who among other things, has the power to "least every three (3) years the provisions of this chapter and recommend revisions consistent with technology to reduce noise, or to address new sound sources within the City of Sandusky."

It's a very powerful ordinance. Your vehicle can be impounded if you simply play the radio too loud, and trust me, that's WAY below "cranking it."

Because practically all motor vehicles are louder than the limits set therein, it provides an exemption for "Sound from the locomotion of properly muffled motor vehicles on a public right of way." Properly Muffled.

The Chapter provides for both Criminal and Civil penalties. The fines start at $300. To call in a complaint, it's probably helpful to use the business line at (419) 627-5863, but since it's a criminal matter and timely response matters, calling 911 should be OK.

You don't need instrumentation to file a complaint and you shouldn't hesitate to do so, but it can boost your confidence that you're right.

There are a couple of free apps for your iPad or iPhone that turns it into a decibel meter. Some users report it works well immediately, others say it must be calibrated first. You may be able to find a decibel meter (light duty, dBA only) for as little as $20. A pro grade kit might be more like $300.

Chapter 519 - http://www.conwaygreene.com/sand...


Motorcycles and race cars are designed to be loud. Cars however are not so when you let your hoopties muffler or flex pipe get to the point where it is no longer working properly and become very loud that is when you get pulled over for a vehicle equipment violation. If you don't want to get pulled over then have a little pride and fix your ride!


This law is absolutely absurd. If you make it loud on purpose it's legal, but not if it wears out through use? There should be an objective, empirical standard for noise that doesn't consider intent.


How does it feel being in the minority of posters who actually UNDERSTAND the argument, unlike the BRAIN DEAD CHIEF. The idiot is reading the law WRONG and that is why BIKER SCUM victimize decent people and get away with it. Under that IDIOTS interpretation noise that rattles windows from 5 miles away is LEGAL if the muffler is working even though the muffler is designed to cause obscenely excessive noise

I could not believe the quote from the chief. I thought it was a JOKE at first as Ididn;t think anybody could be that DENSE.

FYI MODERATORS, applying those adjectives to the focus of the article should be considered COMMENTARY not name calling which should be a rule reserved for when name calling is against OTHER POSTERS

It is no different than saying OBAMA WAS AN IDIOT for blah blah blah in an article about another OBama scandal. it is OPINION on actions, not "NAME CALLING"


The idea that "loud pipes save lives" doesn't pass the laugh test. By that logic, bicycles should have 120 decibel noisemakers, too. What idiot would actually believe a rider with loud pipes and no helmet is all about safety?

Let's be honest. Loud pipes, along with the rest of the badaxx image, has always been about insecure people feeling intimidating.


The Speedway is in Perkins, I don't believe they have a noise ordinance.

AJ Oliver

I agree we have noise issues around here, including WAY loud boats on Sandusky Bay. Here is the Reg from the Division of Watercraft . .
New Muffler and Noise Requirements: The law includes a new requirement, effective January 1, 2000, that every powercraft operated on the waters of Ohio shall be equipped at all times with a muffler or a muffler system that is in good working order, in constant operation, and effectively installed to prevent excessive or unusual noise. Limitations are also placed on the noise emitted from boats. No powercraft shall exceed a noise level of 90 decibels when subjected to a stationary, on-site sound level test, or 75 decibels when subjected to a shoreline test.

It would be nice if this were enforced, but I have never heard of it being done.


Especially when IDIOTS LIKE THE CHIEF OF POLICE MISINTERPRET THE LAW to read that noise can be EAR-BLEEDING LOUD as long as he thinks the muffler is "working"


American logic: What about him/her?



I'm a motorcycle owner and rider. Yes, you are correct about the noise. The police will stop a motorcyclist for excessive noise. Not to be forgotten are the cars with the big round tail pipes that really "Rap" along with their boom boxes. The main difference between a motorcycle and a car is that faulty exhaust on a car many times allows fumes inside and that is very, very dangerous. I'd have to put a small wager that you were guilty of some other small infraction of the law, little reckless, rolling stop, or a little to fast and the cop let you slide on the other. You were probably going to have it fixed anyway

2cents's picture

Why is it that a biker revs their engine like clockwork when they roll under a bridge or overpass? Personally I have a very quiet exhaust but I ripped all the baffles out of the intake so the turbo whines with a throttle depression and shutters when the waste gate opens : )


Why do bikers also feel it absolutely necessary to drive on the yellow lines in the middle of the road?


Begging to get hit? love it when they die


This is the main reason people hater bikers: the noise. Has nothing to do with the "lifestyle" or costumes that are so often used to claim victim status. I'd happily put up with twice the traffic congestion to be rid of the noise. Gets right up in the house, backyard, bedroom, etc. 10 years ago there'd be a loud bike once in awhile. Now any nice day literally hundreds go past my house.


I think people hate bikers because they think they're all criminals in biker gangs. I think it has little to do with the noise. People just assume the worst. If one gets their exhaust fixed, there will be no tickets for loud muffler.


No it's the noise and traffic. No one thinks Bob from Accounting who rides a Harley and wears chaps on sunny Saturdays is in a gang. 25 years ago yeah, now it noise and traffic. Everyone assumes its all a costume now.

Free Man

vroom vroom ! VROOM !

PAD4BYU's picture

Here's the facts If your car looks good it can be loud if it looks like junk you will get in trouble for the noise! If your stereo is loud play country music if you play rap music you will get in trouble!


Not sure of your point with the way a car looks, but I agree with getting in trouble for playing rap music advocating immoral conduct that includes doing drugs, calling women derogatory names, shooting people with your gat, talking about your genitalia as if it was the most important thing on mother earth, etc...


Asking readers who don't own bikes is louder pipes save lives is like asking Christians how to celebrate Hanukkah. I have been riding bikes for many years to include a quiet Yamaha and louder Harleys. Bottomline is this, louder pipes get the driver's attention! Just look at how many of you are complaining about the noise...got your attention! Some of you will spout rhetoric about how they don't save lives and there are no studies to prove it. To you, I would say there are no studies because there are no sure fire methods to test this theory, so we have to rely on plain old experience from those of us who ride.


You are the one putting your life at risk. No one is forcing you to ride a motorcycle. It's your need for attention.


I'd love to thrown down a gallon of motor oil in front of some harley scumbag compensating for his tiny manhood with loud pipes


Using talk about my manhood and wanting to throw oil on the road....who's the scumbag here? I somehow doubt you have the fortitude or the manhood to attempt such an act. Go back on the porch puppy

Free Man

not true ..

Free Man

not true ..


It has been scientifically tested, and disproven. Grow up. And yes, I ride.


Cite your source please? Empty claim....again!


Must ride a moped....bahhh haaa haa


You should be able to find a reference on the AMA website. As for your moped remark, in putting in 4 times the national average number of miles per year, I laugh I ride past loud pipes types kind cowering under an overpass on the freeway because of a little rain.


You all sound like a bunch of old farts.......is it's to loud your to old.


What an IDIOTIC RESPONSE from the so-called chief. Motorcycles are allowed to be excessively loud because he thinks their exhaust is working.

Every motor vehicle and motorcycle with an internal combustion engine shall at all times be equipped with a muffler which is in good working order and in constant operation to prevent excessive or unusual noise, "

the chief's interpretation is IDIOTIC. To say that excessive noise is ONLY ILLEGAL IF THE EXHAUST IS BROKEN is a MORONIC interpretation and WRONG.




Lemme guess, the CHIEF is one of those HARLEY SCUM with loud mufflers?


It's pretty simple - it's a question of the burden of proof. You can equip officers with sound meters and get them trained and certified in measuring sound levels, then retrained and recertified every year, and then have their credentials questioned in court in a battle of expert witnesses, OR you can go for the open and shut case that the exhaust does not conform to the well documented factory spec.

It's a numbers game. What's it going to cost, how many officers will it take, and how many convictions/fines will you get for that investment? It's the same reason we have DUI checkpoint dragnets - you can snare a few people at 0.08, collect fines, and achieve a mild general deterrent for the borderline people, and it costs a lot less than achieving a high patrol density and spotting actual drivers at risk with 0.25 or more.


This is gonna hurt, so don't read this if you're weak minded (I suspect you are). First, you have to throttle down (pun intended) on the CAPS LOCK KEY, we get it, you mean business. Harley Scum? Really? My guess is that you could not come close to affording the $26,000 Harley I ride nor the $500,000 house I own in a nice community in Perkins Township, but that's another matter altogether. I digress. Fact is, most of you pathetic, miserable, low self-esteem, insulting haters don't own a bike nor have you ever owned one. To illustrate my original point about loud pipes saving lives, you have repeatedly griped about the windows shaking, from 5 miles away (lol) and if that sort of noise wouldn't get a driver's attention, then I don't know what would. Lastly, you should appreciate my and your rights to have such options of owning a piece of American history and having the freedoms to do so. Our freedoms have steadily been lessened since 2008 and we may have a day where that's not possible. Put the computer down and go drink some alcohol and loosen your knickers old chap, it'll be okay.


rezzy, get over yourself - this isn't about hating bikers. It's about CERTAIN bikers who feel the need to inspire ill will, probably because their mommies and daddies didn't pay enough attention to them when they were young.

I remember once going past the ABATE booth at the Motorcycle Show, and having a bunch of Willie Nelson wannabe scumbags saying I'd wish I should thank them for fighting so I wouldn't be banned from restaurants, etc. I replied that I'd never had any problems because I rode. They then said "Well, yeah, people probably respect YOU, looking all clean cut like that," to which I responded, "Well, then, maybe it's NOT the about the BIKE, but about YOU."

Studies have shown that loud pipes don't enhance safety, but being VISUALLY loud does. Drivers maintain a greater separation distance from riders wearing high visibility gear. Modern car cabins and sound systems are more than capable of rendering drivers unaware of the loudest pipes until they are too close to take evasive action. The lowest rates of accidents per mile ridden are for types of bikes that don't sport loud pipes.

For some of us, a bike is a vehicle, not a piece of rolling costume jewelry intended to compensate for perceived personal inadequacies. Why would you boast about paying $26K for the best technology the 1950's had to offer? Louyd pipes won't save you, and chrome won't get you home.

Free Man

$26,000 harley, $ 500,000 house in perkins ? hahhahhahah




Practically every category that contributes materially to noise pollution has had to do something about it. Truck tires were even modified to make them quieter and certain types are now illegal.

Certain types of motorcycles are in a class by themselves - really, really loud, ON PURPOSE.


Re: "TboneWalkerJr
Tue, 06/25/2013 - 5:44am
I'd love to thrown down a gallon of motor oil in front of some harley scumbag compensating for his tiny manhood with loud pipes".

I would hope that your comment is a "troll" comment and not your true feelings.
If that is your solution then you are dooshion with the wrong solution.


The same reason we have to wear seatbelts in cars but yet motorcyclists don't have to wear helmets, if I ever get pulled over for a seatbelt violation it will go to court, its discrimination. Its ok for motorcyclists to choose a possible life sentence by not wearing a helmet with NO protection around them.....Makes no sense!


The seatbelt law has withstood challenges because the state claimed, by naked assertion with NO supporting evidence, that being seatbelted could help a driver maintain control of a vehicle that didn't bleed all its velocity in the first impact. That's a ludicrous proposition especially in the day of the airbag (try maintaining control after a bomb goes off in your face) and pretty much negates any rationale for the law enforcement exception to the seatbelt law, but apparently, the challengers weren't prepared to counter that.


The seatbelt law has withstood challenges because the state claimed, by naked assertion with NO supporting evidence, that being seatbelted could help a driver maintain control of a vehicle that didn't bleed all its velocity in the first impact. That's a ludicrous proposition especially in the day of the airbag (try maintaining control after a bomb goes off in your face) and pretty much negates any rationale for the law enforcement exception to the seatbelt law, but apparently, the challengers weren't prepared to counter that.


Chief Orzech's response was completely appropriate and I applaud him for answering a question that would inflame the only five or six people in Sandusky that have a problem with his answer. While all of you are asserting that bikers are scum, you fail to realize that 99% of bikers are vets, law enforcement and every day patriots who fully support the police departments and respect the law. Grow up people and understand that your hatred is yours and shared only by a tiny fraction of the people. Most bikers have done countless activities to raise funds for fallen officers, children, cancer organizations, etc... Have you?

Pastor Ron

500K neighborhood in Perkins? Maybe in 2008 you paid that for your place but it is not worth anything near that now. By the way, why not let all the bikers know where this neighborhood is so that they can cruise around it. Some people that I know in the Chesapeake see the same bikes racing down the pier up to 10 times in an evening. Have you ever sat down at the Jackson St. Pier and watched the 5 or 6 pathetic guys ride up and down the pier revving their bikes up for attention. Oh and you can't forget the sad old man revving up his black Mustang. I doubt it because if you did you would feel pretty foolish suggesting that all people who ride bikes are great. As far as your 26k bike...... try trading it in. I bet they wouldn't offer more than 10K.

Free Man

ha ha


And Rezzy says:

Funny how Rezzy got so quiet all of a sudden.


Harleys aren't that loud off the shelf. They pull the baffles out to make them that way. One can do it to a Honda or a Yamaha if they so desire.