The quality of life initiative for the month of July is the enforcement of motorcycles operated in an excessively loud manner. The American Motorcyclist Association (AMA) believes that few other factors contribute more to misunderstanding and prejudice against the motorcycling community than excessively loud motorcycles. The AMA recommends that all motorcyclists should be sensitive to community standards and respect the right of fellow citizens to enjoy a peaceful environment (1).

Generally, Waterloo Police Department officers will be using a two-prong test in the enforcement of this matter; 1) the motorcycle sounds as if it has no muffler or has a modified exhaust system, and 2) the operator engages in rapid acceleration of the motorcycle. It is a combination of these two factors that are typically responsible for excessive and annoying noise.

Iowa code 321.436 (Mufflers, prevention of noise) states, “Every motor vehicle shall at all times be equipped with a muffler in good working order and in constant operation to prevent excessive or unusual noise….” The City of Waterloo noise control code prohibits the operation of a motorcycle in excess of 84 decibels (dBA). As a point of reference, each of the following emits sound at a level of about 85 dBA: a running lawn mower, standing curbside in heavy traffic, and a running snow blower.

The penalty for operating a motorcycle in an excessively loud manner is $330. Multiple violations increase the penalty amount.

Daniel J. Trelka

Director of Safety Services