Sheriff: It’s the law to keep down noise from exhausts, sound systems
Recently I received a call from a citizen who asked what we are doing in regard to loud vehicles and motorcycles, specifically about the motorcycles.
While most will associate this with the Harley-Davidson models, I think it is safe to say that even the foreign models are susceptible to this same issue — the installation of modified exhausts.
In many of these situations, exhaust systems are modified to the point where there is little baffling the noise directly off of the engine, which results in an extremely annoying experience for anyone within the area.
I was embarrassed to admit that we have not done enough in our enforcement and the time has come to bring these violations back into compliance.
With loud exhausts, this is very simple. If your exhaust system is broken, fix it. If you have purchased an exhaust system that did not come original to the vehicle or motorcycle, make sure it is not unreasonably loud.
The following is Wisconsin State Statute 347.39(1) that covers loud exhaust:
"No person shall operate on a highway any motor vehicle subject to registration unless such motor vehicle is equipped with an adequate muffler in constant operation and properly maintained to prevent any excessive or unusual noise or annoying smoke. This subsection also applies to motor bicycles."
Another issue which has been raised is the presence of loud music coming from motor vehicles on the roadway.
We all enjoy our own select taste in music, and we all enjoy listening to it as we travel to and from our destinations. There is a belief that if the music is good at a low volume, it will be even better at a higher volume.
While this may be the case, we all need to consider those around us, and whether or not they need to hear this music as well. There is no reason for a vehicle's sound system to be heard two blocks away, and in some cases literally “felt” at the same distance. The following is Wisconsin State Statute 346.94(16) that covers loud music from a motor vehicle:
"RADIOS OR OTHER ELECTRIC SOUND AMPLIFICATION DEVICES: No person may operate or park, stop or leave standing a motor vehicle while using a radio or other electric sound amplification device emitting sound from the vehicle that is audible under normal conditions from a distance of 75 or more feet, unless the electric sound amplification device is being used to request assistance or warn against an unsafe condition."
In both of these circumstances, please note that we in law enforcement have an obligation to maintain peace and order in our community. The desire for a portion of our population to do as they wish is not acceptable. Just because you like the loud rumble coming from your cycle does not give you the right to intrude on others right to enjoy a peaceful afternoon.
If you are that attached to your exhaust system, please feel free to run it in the seclusion of your own home. However, once you are out on the public roadway, you now fall under our rules as a society and, yes, you will be held accountable.
Similarly, if you like to listen to your vehicle’s sound system at a high decibel level, feel free to park it in your yard and enjoy. Please know that in this case, whether on the road or in your yard, you will still need to turn it down if it becomes a nuisance to your neighbors.
I write on this topic now so the owners of these vehicles have time to contact their dealerships or parts stores and arrange for the purchase and installation of proper equipment. While this may not be a popular action to enforce, it is our sworn duty and I hope that all can appreciate and respect our obligation to the preservation of peace and tranquility within our communities.
If anyone has any questions or concerns regarding this issue, please do not hesitate to contact me directly at 920-255-1100. Thank you.
Matt Joski is Kewaunee County Sheriff.
This article originally appeared on Green Bay Press-Gazette: Sheriff: It's the law to keep down noise from exhausts, sound systems