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Elias Zamaria

43 neighbors want motorcycle noise laws to be enforced in San Francisco.

I frequently hear loud motorcycles, with illegally modified exhaust systems, roaring through the streets of San Francisco. They disturb me when I am trying to sleep, when I am dining outdoors, and at other times. They are especially annoying when they set off car alarms.

Some people claim that "loud pipes save lives" but there is little actual evidence of any correlation between noise levels and accident rates. Meanwhile, noise pollution is not only annoying; it can cause hearing loss, sleep deprivation, anxiety, and hypertension.

We have California SB 435 and other laws regulating motorcycle noise in California, but I don't think I have ever seen them enforced.

Supporters All

Luke Bornheimer
Eckhart Beatty
Harold Check
Norna Ross
Emanuel Evans
Steven McGlocklin
Tim Sammon
Robert
Lou Z
B
Martin Lavin
Gabe Sumner
Samantha
Katy Flynn
Rickey Holtsclaw
Andy Ford
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Viji A

I completely agree. I live just adjacent to San Tomas Expressway, San Jose. I feel like my house is on a runway. I get so distressed with this loud bike sounds. If any such law could be enforced, I would thank on behalf of my 3-year old, who has lost many nights of sleep because of this.

Regards,
MOM.

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Posted Sep 14, 2017
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Leslie Landberg

The solution is simple and obvious. Encourage the bikers to ride primarily through the neighborhoods where the mayor, city council and police chief live. The issue will be resolved swiftly.

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Posted Sep 4, 2017
Steven McGlocklin
Steven McGlocklin
Sep 4, 2017

I always thought that would be a great idea!

Posted by Steven McGlocklin on Sep 4, 2017
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Martin Lavin

Rick Holtsclaw is doing and continues to do great work on this.
Nationwide there is little success so far. As a former motorcycle dealer I am 100% against this narcissistic attention getter.
We (in the Bay area) may be better positioned to address the issue, San Francisco sees itself as a social and legislative pioneer. Often things start on the West Coast and spread throughout the world. Smoking bans in bars and restaurants for one. At the time the success of that initiative seemed impossible.
A major point, the exhaust noise magnifier is close to the ground level. Closer to the ears of children.
The noise is far over the level that will damage their hearing for life. If we are concerned that rock music will damage adolescent ears then this noise is many times louder, involuntary, and down at their level. If you worked in a factory this noise level would violate OSHA. Infants are exposed to it all the time.
Another complicating point, (Rick may back me up on this). Many cops are sympathetic to the noise, even supporting it. Worse, my estimate is the average police motorcycle in San Francisco has illegal sound from its muffler. Keep in mind (as a former dealer) this an act of commission not omission. A mechanic had to alter the police bike intentionally to make that sound. The bikes don't come that way. So step one is to get police compliance. Any way right on let'S do something.

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Posted Aug 30, 2017
Steven McGlocklin
Steven McGlocklin
Aug 30, 2017

Agreed, Martin. I probably wore out Supervisor David Chiu, Julie Christensen, and now Aaron Peskin with my complaints about. Aaron has been particularly unhelpful. His two predecessors acrually took time to respond to my emails, so I do give them credit, though nothing got done. Similarly, Captains Lazaar and Yep at Central Station are sympathetic, but have either been unwilling to do anything, or their meager efforts have been ineffective. Peskin doesn't seem to have an interest in things that won't give him a headline. Basically, in this city, if you're neither a millionaire/billionaire nor homeless, you don't have much influence. If google maps routed the motorcycles to upper Broadway in Pacific Heights, things would change fast. No one enforces the law, and I imagine the fine is so inconsequential that it is neither a deterrent to the violators, or an incentive to the City to enforce it. I've suggested highly publicized crackdowns in problem areas such as The Embarcadero and North Beach a few times each year to serve as a reminder. It was done and publicized a few years ago, and that was BEFORE social media. It would be more effective now. As you point out, noise pollution is pollution, and it's not benign. Hearing damage is obvious, but just as serious is the needless elevation of stress that occurs physiologically in response to sudden loud noise in an already noisy city. The solution is,obvious, but the city won't take it seriously.

Posted by Steven McGlocklin on Aug 30, 2017
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Eckhart Beatty

I think at least designating certain neighborhoods where loud is protected against (somewhat like the Crime Alert Neighborhood signs) would be a start. How to facilitate it--much less actually enforce--is the question.

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Posted May 10, 2017
Omar Eljumaily
Omar Eljumaily
Jun 11, 2017

I think that finding like-minded individuals in various cities and neighborhoods would be a start. Those people could contact city officials and ask that existing noise abatement laws start to be enforced, as a start. The key would be to find a forum(s) that could be used to connect liked-minded people on this issue.

Beyond that, I think that eventually there's going to have to be a system of citizen reporting for things like this, and probably all environmental and criminal issues. A video of a motorcycle, car, or truck disturbing a neighborhood with an illegally altered exhaust should be an officially actionable event.

Posted by Omar Eljumaily on Jun 11, 2017
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Aldo

The noise from motorcycles with the modified exhaust system is becoming a real problem in San Francisco. Today Sunday, I have seen 4 purposely making noise on a busy intersection.

I have also counted the times I have heard the same issue today, and it's about to 30 times, just today Sunday.

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Posted May 7, 2017
Rick Holtsclaw
Rick Holtsclaw
May 7, 2017

Motorcycle noise in conjunction with auto and truck noise from illegally equipped, illegally modified exhaust mechanisms has been an exponentially increasing problem for over four-decades. If you're interested in understanding why and what the laws say, please see my following articles and my video:

1) The Truth about Loud Motorcycles the Police Won't or Can't Tell You: rickeyholtsclaw.wordpress.com/...

2) Motorcycle Noise Enforcement - 101: rickeyholtsclaw.wordpress.com/...

3) My video: Loud Motorcycles: THE LAW: www.youtube.com/watch?v=ouBsdU...

This information will give you a good understanding of the Law and why the Loud Biker Cult[ure] in America is permitted to act like a bunch of narcissistic, bully-thugs.

Rick Holtsclaw, Houston PD/Retired
Concerned Citizens Against Loud Motorcycles - Facebook

Posted by Rick Holtsclaw on May 7, 2017
Dan
Dan
May 8, 2017

Thanks for posting this Rick ... do you know of any successful efforts to change city policies or laws around unnecessary noise? It's definitely a problem in Raleigh, NC's nightlife districts.

Posted by Dan on May 8, 2017
Rick Holtsclaw
Rick Holtsclaw
May 9, 2017

Unfortunately Dan, after fighting illegal motor vehicle noise for the better part of a decade, I don't know of a single example where a citizen has been successful in obtaining cooperation from their law enforcement community. It's a huge problem that's growing exponentially and our Federal Government as well as our State and Local enforcement entities refuse to get involved. I will be presenting the American Quality of Life Act - 2017 (AQLA) to members in Washington D.C. later this month...after all these years, this Federal Muffler Mandate is the "only" viable option available. I've begged, I've pleaded, I've sued and received absolutely no support from our Federal Courts, law enforcement, governor, attorney general, federal or state representatives. Sorry Dan. Here is a copy of the AQLA - 2017: view.publitas.com/p222-12679/a...

Thanks,

Rick Holtsclaw

Posted by Rick Holtsclaw on May 9, 2017
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Angie

After-market altered, illegal motorcycles are out of control in San Francisco. Not only do they create loud noise, set off car alarms (creating additional noise), they also heavily pollute our air. I do not want to breathe in the polluted air every time they ride by. The children in this city should not have to be woken up by these motorcycles and they should not have to deal with their growing bodies being impacted by the air pollution created buy the illegal motorcycles. The people who alter and then ride these motorcycles are selfish and are breaking the law. They should be stopped.

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Posted Aug 15, 2016
Steven McGlocklin
Steven McGlocklin
Aug 15, 2016

Angie,

You should write your police precinct captain (mine is David Lazar, central station), and email your supervisor. If enough of us start to complain, maybe they'll crack down again.

Steven

Posted by Steven McGlocklin on Aug 15, 2016
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Matthew

"Meanwhile, noise pollution is not only annoying; it can cause hearing loss, sleep deprivation, anxiety, and hypertension."
You can say that again. These loud pipes just make it harder to concentrate and focus in my house, it's hard enough without these loud pieces of crap. We should include those boomboxes on wheels - the people with the really loud music playing cars in their cars.

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Posted Aug 10, 2016
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Rickey Holtsclaw

Let's face it, our police, just like those in San Francisco, are apathetic, lazy and uninterested in interceding on behalf of the vehicular NOISE beleaguered American Citizen. I was a patrol officer for over 31 years in the 4th largest Municipality in the United States. I KNOW for a fact that the beat officer is not too busy to enforce the vehicular noise laws, even if one or two citations a shift were issued.

Get your butts out of Starbucks and enforce the laws; after all, unregulated vehicular noise is the #1 destroyer of daily quality of life for many millions of American Citizens, especially those residing in our congested urban areas - yet our PC politicians and our apathetic police permit the LOUD biker-bullies to audibly assault our most innocent and disrupt our daily lives with their ILLEGAL noise, why?

Personally, I've filed a Federal Lawsuit over the Loud biker debacle: static.lakana.com/nxsglobal/nw...

....perhaps you should also!

Rick Holtsclaw, Houston PD/Retired
Concerned Citizens Against Loud Motorcycles - Facebook, YouTube and Wordpress

Truth about Loud Motorcycles? see: rickeyholtsclaw.wordpress.com/...

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Posted Jun 16, 2016
Steven McGlocklin
Steven McGlocklin
Jun 16, 2016

I've been complaining about this for 2 years. Email streams to and from Captain Lazaar of SFPD have been fruitless. He's nice,but completely useless in terms of fixing the problem. Likewise, 3 supervisors in succession, Chiu,Christiensrn, and now even Aaron Peskin have failed to take useful steps. I've asked Lazaar to consider occasional weekend crackdowns. It's been done in the past. The police are busy, but if they never enforce this law, none of the bozos on loud bikes will take it seriously. The law also needs more teeth, i.e. High fines for violators. Maybe if it was a revenue source for the City, like speed traps are in some places, the police and city government would take it seriously. Just put some officers out on the Embarcadero some nice Sunday. The City could make a fortune.

Posted by Steven McGlocklin on Jun 16, 2016
Nurit Rechnitz
Nurit Rechnitz
Jun 18, 2016

Steve,

I concur. It is maddening and frustrating that the noise laws are never enforced. Peskin's priority is housing; so he ignores this. Perhaps traffic enforcement is understaffed and/or they don't care. I have no idea what actually incents them to do their job. I guess we have to 1) keep complaining over and over 2) vote people out where possible, for not dealing with quality of life issues 3) try to enlist more people to complain, i.e., numbers count.

Enforcement would pay for itself in fines - there is no excuse for the status quo.

I guess it is time to get a bunch of people that care about this to sue the city for not enforcing the law. I'm in.

Posted by Nurit Rechnitz on Jun 18, 2016
Steven McGlocklin
Steven McGlocklin
Jun 21, 2016

Me too

Posted by Steven McGlocklin on Jun 21, 2016
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Steven McGlocklin

I received this follow up today from Captain Lazar who shared his email correspondence from Traffic Enforcement with me:

"Captain Lazar,

Starting today, Traffic Company will detail at least one swing watch officer on weekends (barring any other FOB detail) between the hours of 1600 and 2000 for noise/ traffic enforcement along the Embarcadero. It would be great if you could supplement our efforts with an additional Co. A officer. I will track the citation totals and review this enforcement plan at the end of the month to see if any adjustments are necessary."

I am grateful they at least seem to be making an effort!

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Posted Sep 13, 2015
Dan
Dan
Sep 13, 2015

Thanks for the update Steven.

Posted by Dan on Sep 13, 2015
Cheryl Lou
Cheryl Lou
Mar 19, 2016

Hello Steven! I recently moved into the SOMA area near Market and Van Ness. I can constantly hear street noise especially noise from motorcycles and race cars. I've been sleepless for weeks and I think I'm now getting really depressed. Is there anything I can do? Thanks for your help.

Posted by Cheryl Lou on Mar 19, 2016
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Steven McGlocklin

I also contacted Supervisor Christensen who said:

"I will ask Lazar again why they don’t set up some traps now and then. And we can look more into reminders, but that requires enforcement threats.

I do agree it has not been a priority. Our police district is down 12 cops from baseline and just had their territory extended to Mission Street resulting in 1100 calls more per month. Auto burglary is up and we have a whole new wave of homeless people. And it is high tourist season with mild weather. And we need more beat cops!"

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Posted Sep 8, 2015
Nurit Rechnitz
Nurit Rechnitz
Sep 9, 2015

Thank-you!

Posted by Nurit Rechnitz on Sep 9, 2015
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