Everyone is on the hook for following road rules, reader says

Dear Street Smarts, Q: Frequently we see letters complaining about the behavior of specific groups of people. On May 18, one such letter complained about 'Bicyclists ignoring laws.' People ignore laws. People driving vehicles ignore laws. People riding motorcycles ignore laws. People riding bicycles ignore laws. People walking ignore laws. Do you see a common denominator here? It’s people, not simply a group defined by a mode or method of transportation. People in all of these categories of transportation can also be considerate and follow laws. But the issue is about people and their behavior. The issue is not about a group defined by a mode or method of transportation. Mike Griffin, Capitola A: Thank you. Q: Why do law enforcement agencies, refuse to enforce the law with regards to loud motorcycles? This would never fly in Europe, which has a greater culture of motorcycling. I' m a motorcyclist myself, and cringe at the bad behaviors than turn the non-cyclists against us. The two top annoying traits? 1) Crotchrocket-riding thrill seekers using the public roads as their personal Laguna Seca, and 2)Harley Riders who, as a matter of course, remove the stock legal mufflers in favor of loud pipes. Loud pipes do not save lives, they are aimed the wrong direction, but create much ill-will from the non-biking public. Steve Johnson, via email A: Local law enforcement agencies said their officers do write tickets to riders who are disobeying noise the law. For example, in Watsonville, officers there have issued “hundreds of citations for loud amplified sound,” said Sgt. Michael Ridgway. “Vehicle code section 27007 puts the limit at 50 feet. If the sound can be heard further then that it is a violation. Watsonville has a municipal code that puts the limit at 10 feet. Most officers will not cite unless the amplified sound can be heard over 50 feet.” In addition, officers in his department have referred more than 50 vehicles to the state smog referee for modified, or missing, smog equipment, he continued. “These vehicles have been modified to enhance performance,” Ridgway explained. “They generally also put large loud mufflers on them. Many are labeled as gross polluters; motorcycles are included.” Offending riders replace stock mufflers “with straight pipes making them very loud. This is in itself a violation,” he continued. Officers are trained to identify these kinds of vehicle alterations and can refer them to the State Smog Referee. “Until these vehicles are cleared by a referee they cannot be driven,”he said. “If found on the road without the necessary corrections made, they can be impounded." However, enforcing exhaust noise laws, according to Capitola Police Department Sgt. Matt Eller, can be tricky. “The vehicle code section for modified exhaust is 27151(a), he said. “The section is rather subjective and is not applicable while the motorcycle is accelerating from a stop or going up a hill.”  
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