The Road Less Traveled - by Scott Cochran

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From U.S. Rider News July 2007

THE ROAD LESS TRAVELED
Editorial by Scott Cochran, National Editor

I imagine this. You’re at work on July 17th, sitting at your desk and a memo arrives in your e-mail inbox address to, “All motorcycle riding employees.” From: Human Resource Dept. It reads, “Dear valued employee, it has come to our attention that a large number of you are planning to participate in what is being called the Ride To Work day. While we can appreciate that you feel it is important to participate, the management of Scamron has some concerns that must be addressed. The post pressing of which is noise.

It is no secret that a large majority of motorcycle owners modify their exhaust to increase horsepower and performance, thereby unintentionally increasing the noise emissions of the bike. Management is concerns that several dozen loud bikes arriving at the same time tomorrow morning will disrupt the tranquility of the neighborhood and may cast Scamron Corporation in an unfavorable public relations light. Not to mention the potential liability. I’m sure you remember the incident last month where the access barricade arm struck Joe Rocket as he entered the parking garage riding his Vespa. As you know, there are only 3 parking spaces in front of the building. One of those is reserved for the Employee of the Month and one is reserved for the CEO and the remaining is kept for visiting VIP’s, everyone else must park in the secure parking deck.

With those concerns, the management request you leave the motorcycle at home tomorrow. If, however, you insist on riding it to work, then we have made arrangements for you to park down the street at the Super Wal Mart and walk the three blocks to the office. Remember we encourage punctuality and expect that this situation will not delay the start of your work day.

Sincerely,

Ima Dick, Human Resource Manager.

OK, I’ll concede that scenario is a little far fetched, but I can easily imagine a future time when some large corporation would find it necessary to issue such a memo.

The sad truth is, boys and girls, the noise is killing us.

I don’t like it any more than you, and I wish I had an easy fix but motorcycle riders are sitting ducks in the cross hairs of feel good lawmakers who would rather spend their time trying to legislate common sense and good behavior than tackling the tougher issues of crime, poverty, health care and immigration.

This month, (July) a new noise ordinance in the City of Denver goes into effect penalizing anyone who installs aftermarket exhaust on their motorcycle.

For more info call Bill Kresnak from the AMA (614) 856-1900 ext. 1247 and he’ll fill you in on the details.

The short version is that if you’re passing through Denver and the police suspect you’re a little too loud they can inspect your bike and if you don’t have the original EPA sound-certification label on your exhaust you can be issued a citation. (Which means I won’t be gong to Denver on my bike either.) Once ticketed you have two weeks to prove to a judge that you’ve returned to stock pipes with the EPA sticker or face a $500 fine.

This law applied to all motorcycles made since 1982! That means a 25 year old motorcycle must have stock exhaust? What a crock!

Oh, and it doesn’t apply to automobiles or trucks. I guess Denver didn’t want to shut down Midas or Meineke muffler shops.

Yes, the AMA is all over this but the Denver City Council is indifferent to motorcyclists rights and it’s probably going to be a lengthy fight.

This ordinance is blatantly discriminatory and wholly disregards the Constitution’s clause of Equal Protection under the law. But, I’m no lawyer so I could be wrong.

But, what I do know is that Denver, like many misguided cities around the country see us as their biggest noise polluters.

And since we’re a somewhat despised minority in parts of the country, it’s easy for lawmakers to enact discriminatory legislation without fear of reprisals at the ballot box as the City Council of Denver has apparently done.

So where does that leave us?

I wish I knew. There’s a part of me that wants to organize 100,000 loud pipes riding bikers and roll into Denver on a Friday at 5PM and shut the place down in protest.

Another part of me says that maybe it’s time we tone it down a bit and take away the ammunition from these noise Nazi’s.

Would that work? Could we play nice and hope they go away? I wonder if their agenda is more than just noise. I wonder if their contempt for us is more about our lifestyle and what two wheels, tattoos and loud pipes represents to many people in mainstream America.

All I know is that on July 18th I’ll be riding my motorcycle to work, memo be damned. I hope you will as well

Until next month, ride safe, and enjoy life on the road less traveled.

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