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AMA National Summit on Motorcycle Sound promotes dialogue and action

See the American Motorcyclists Association Position on Excessive Motorcycle Noise

Highlights of the conference held in Worthington, Ohio on May 16-18, 2003.

From American Motorcyclist Association

A national summit conference on the issue of motorcycle sound involved 40 representatives of the street and off-road motorcycling communities, as well as motorcycle manufacturers, aftermarket companies, event organizers, law enforcement, municipal government, research institutions and regulatory agencies. Participants were invited to participate in this face-to-face discussion hosted by the AMA, and considered various aspects of the issue in a series of seminars and open discussions. They agreed to continue those discussions in the coming months.

"We're pleased that this important dialogue has begun, and we believe that it's a promising beginning," said Robert Rasor, AMA President. "We're grateful to all those who shared their perspectives, helping American motorcyclists to address this issue in positive and constructive ways."


  • Representatives of the American Motorcyclists' Association and the Motorcycle Riders' Foundation will draft a clear statement on motorcycle noise and the need for riders to behave in ways that will not damage the quality of the lives of other citizens. The statement once endorsed by the Boards of AMA and MRF will be offered to State Motorcyclist Organizations and other riders groups for their endorsement.

  • Manufacturers of motorcycles and their original equipment will be invited to become parties to the Agenda. This will require a range of measures be taken by manufacturers to assist in the resolution of the problem of motorcycle noise. The manufacturers participating in the Sound Summit recognize that in the development of the measures it will be appropriate to consult with and involve the main riders' organizations and other interested parties.

  • The aftermarket industry, including both the manufacturers and suppliers of aftermarket parts and equipment will be invited to become parties to the Agenda. As with the manufacturers of motorcycles and original equipment this will require them to develop effective measures that will assist in the resolution of the motorcycle noise problem. In so doing the need to consult and involve riders' representatives and other interested parties is recognized as both desirable and necessary.

  • The riders' organizations, in consultation with other interested parties, undertake to develop a social awareness program. The purpose of which will be to inform riders of the need to ensure that their motorcycles and the way in which they ride them, do not significantly impinge upon the freedoms and quality of life of other citizens.

  • In support of this objective it is recognized that the extent to which noise is a factor in ensuring the safety of motorcyclists and other road users, needs to be further investigated. Accordingly funding for research into this question will be sought by the Parties to the Agenda.

  • It is accepted that for the reasonable noise limit values and the certification of replacement parts procedures to be fully effective, the development of new measures to ensure the fair and effective enforcement of them is needed. Accordingly the support of Federal agencies and legislators will be sought to provide the resources to enable fair and effective enforcement means and methods to be developed.


  • Get AMA pro racing to enforce existing rules and support testing on a consistent basis.
  • Educate on sound rules through enthusiast press, peer pressure campaign, California-card-type brochures, local track promoters/dealers, etc.
  • Publicize Rule Change along with Recreational Fee Checklist for additional info (AMA duty)
  • Testing training is limited and must be provided and expanded.
  • Must partner with dealers, riders, managers, industry, and other stakeholders.
  • AMA clubs and districts must endorse and enforce sound rules for sanctioned activities.
  • Should support 96dB max for public lands on a national level, beginning February 2004 (for everything except closed-course).
  • Produce/Pass legislation/resolution encouraging public land management agencies to adopt national 96dB standard.
  • Make video of Mr. Harrison sound lecture-- share training curriculum (BRC duty)
  • Hold sound test training NOHVCC
  • AMA sanctioning meeting will train too.
  • Make voluntary sound test sites widely available. Can include but not limited to dealers, land managers, clubs, expos, etc.
  • Need to identify ways to support equipment availability.
  • Check Recreational Trails Program funding possibilities &endash; draft general template for all 50 states to use &endash; grant language &endash; NOHVCC duty.
  • Recommendations of testing equipment performance/cost. Link to all websites (Bill Chapin duty)
  • Adopt and enforce the current Federation Internationale de Motocyclisme sound standards.
  • Assemble a coalition of motorized recreation to address sound issues.


US EPA F76A Passby Noise Test

  • Measures total vehicle noise
  • Procedure is RPM-based - telemetry used to determine engine speed
  • Must know Rated RPM = RPM at maximum power (peak net brake power)
  • Hard, flat surface required; no obstacles within 30 m radius of microphones
  • 80/82 dB(A) limit

SAE J1287 Jul98 Stationary Sound Test Procedure

  • In-use noise measurement for off-highway motorcycles and ATVs
  • Measures exhaust sound levels only
  • Based on one-half maximum rated RPM
  • Measured at 20 inches, 45-degree angle from exhaust system
  • 96 dB(A) limit recommended by MIC & SVIA (Unless otherwise provided by law or local ordinance)
  • redline may be used with 3 dB tolerance added to the sound level measured

  2003, American Motorcyclist Association

photo of safety gear

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