We haven’t published anything about AB 1824 because frankly, it’s not really news and we don’t care about farming pageviews with every bit of minutia. But since a vocal chunk of motorcyclists are up in arms in a typically uninformed fashion, we’re here to set the record straight for those who care about facts.

Here’s the deal: California’s AB 1824, which went into effect on January first, didn’t take away any “rights,” or even change what’s legally acceptable in terms of exhaust modifications. All it did—at least regarding motor vehicles—is change exhaust violations from so-called fix-it tickets to tickets that carry a mandatory fine.

THEY TOOK OUR RIGHTSCue the shrieking and gnashing of teeth: our rights are being taken away, California sucks now, nitwit name-calling like the oh-so-clever and totally-not-worn-out-decades-ago “Moonbeam.” Motorcycle people heard from a social media “friend” who read three words of a meme posted online by someone who didn’t read the bill that The Man is targeting motorcyclists again; car people flipped their shit in much the same way. Someone who clearly doesn’t have a basic understanding of the matter at hand started a petition, incorrectly claiming that the new law will “punish law abiding citizens.” Crackerjack critiques like “California: where you can change your gender but not your muffler” began making the rounds.

Yawn. Puke. Whatever. Probably both.

Here’s the relevant language from AB 1824, which by the way, was signed by the governor last June:

(4) Existing law provides that whenever any person is arrested for certain offenses, including, among other things, an infraction involving vehicle equipment, the arresting officer is required to permit the arrested person to execute a notice, prepared by the officer in triplicate, containing a promise to correct the violation and to deliver proof of correction to the issuing agency, unless the arresting officer finds that a disqualifying condition exists.

Existing law requires every motor vehicle subject to registration to be equipped with an adequate muffler in constant operation and properly maintained to prevent any excessive or unusual noise and prohibits a muffler or exhaust system from being equipped with a cutout, bypass, or similar device. Existing law further prohibits the modification of an exhaust system of a motor vehicle in a manner that will amplify or increase the noise emitted by the motor of the vehicle so that the vehicle exceeds existing noise limits.

This bill would include, among those conditions that are disqualifying, a violation of the above-described requirements related to mufflers and exhaust systems.

SEC. 4. Section 40610 of the Vehicle Code is amended to read:

40610. (a) (1) Except as provided in paragraph (2), if, after an arrest, accident investigation, or other law enforcement action, it appears that a violation has occurred involving a registration, license, all-terrain vehicle safety certificate, or mechanical requirement of this code, and none of the disqualifying conditions set forth in subdivision (b) exist and the investigating officer decides to take enforcement action, the officer shall prepare, in triplicate, and the violator shall sign, a written notice containing the violator’s promise to correct the alleged violation and to deliver proof of correction of the violation to the issuing agency.

(2) If any person is arrested for a violation of Section 4454, and none of the disqualifying conditions set forth in subdivision (b) exist, the arresting officer shall prepare, in triplicate, and the violator shall sign, a written notice containing the violator’s promise to correct the alleged violation and to deliver proof of correction of the violation to the issuing agency. In lieu of issuing a notice to correct violation pursuant to this section, the officer may issue a notice to appear, as specified in Section 40522.

(b) Pursuant to subdivision (a), a notice to correct violation shall be issued as provided in this section or a notice to appear shall be issued as provided in Section 40522, unless the officer finds any of the following:

(1) Evidence of fraud or persistent neglect.

(2) The violation presents an immediate safety hazard.

(3) The violator does not agree to, or cannot, promptly correct the violation.

(4) The violation cited is of subdivision (a) of Section 27150 or of subdivision (a) of Section 27151.

(c) If any of the conditions set forth in subdivision (b) exist, the procedures specified in this section or Section 40522 are inapplicable, and the officer may take other appropriate enforcement action.

(d) Except as otherwise provided in subdivision (a), the notice to correct violation shall be on a form approved by the Judicial Council and, in addition to the owner’s or operator’s address and identifying information, shall contain an estimate of the reasonable time required for correction and proof of correction of the particular defect, not to exceed 30 days, or 90 days for the all-terrain vehicle safety certificate.

The CHP clarified all this murky mumbo jumbo in a press release on December 17th of last year:

Certain vehicle exhaust violations no longer correctable (AB 1824, Committee on Budget): A fine will become mandatory, not correctable, when loud motor vehicles and motorcycles are cited. Previously, a driver or motorcyclist who was cited for modified or excessively loud exhaust or muffler systems could correct the violation to avoid a fine.

The bill that actually “took our rights,” SB 435, passed in 2010, and applies to motorcycles manufactured after January 1st, 2013. Those of you who are keeping track will realize that 2013 was six years ago.

There are other sections of the vehicle code that govern exhaust and noise levels, but you’re gonna have to research further yourself if you’re interested—we’re probably going to be busy responding to pissed-off, poorly spelled attacks from snowflake libs who like to cherry-pick when and where things like personal responsibility apply to them. “Libs” in this case are Libertarians and other self-styled “defenders of liberty.”

Smart companies like Yoshimura responded to the changes brought about by SB 435 by beginning to manufacture “Qualified Manufacturer Declared Replacement Parts” like this pipe for Kawasaki’s bitchin’ Z900RS, a bike we thought sounded pretty damn sweet from the factory.

CityBike’s perspective on such things has always been simple: you get caught, you pay the price, not bawl and blubber about “tyranny” and how much California sucks now. If you’re going to behave like an antisocial asshole or even just break the law (because sometimes it’s fun), do it out of the public eye like we do (most of the time) so your behavior doesn’t unnecessarily affect your fellow motorcyclists (or your fellow humans).

Yes, a nice exhaust note is pleasing to the ear of many a gearhead, but “loud” doesn’t necessarily equate to “nice,” and excessively loud exhausts are annoying not just to the large group of people that some motorcyclists myopically dumb down to “moto-hating cagers,” but to many riders as well. Repeating the stupid slogan “loud pipes save lives” ad nauseam doesn’t make it true, and “let those who ride decide” is roughly as effective and intelligent as claiming helmets hurt more than they help.

Adding fuel to the fire. Artwork by Mr. Jensen.Further, real riders know that the true joys of hooning—or just cruising—are largely derived from riding itself, not from being a self-important, loud-mouthed asshole, and that’s what riding with an excessively loud pipe makes you.

It’s also worth noting that the time to complain about this sort of legislation is before these laws pass—in this case, years ago. This is why we keep harping on the necessity of education and involvement, of joining and supporting organizations like the AMA, even if their various positions don’t jive perfectly with your own.

18 Responses

  1. Chumley Wombat

    Yosh and Akripovich ARE CARB-legal for at least my ride, the Yamaha FZ/MT-07. If other companies want to legally sell THEIR pipes in this state, then they, too, will have to get their products certified. Not such a big deal, people.

  2. Kelly A

    Don’t you just love it when someone says, “I heard that…” People, just read and do some research! Sorry, preaching to the choir here…

  3. Patrick Shaughnessy

    Always keep it real and accurate, Surj. Thank you.

  4. Michael Carion

    Thanks for the informative write-up. I’ve been wondering about the minute details of AB1824. As always, clarification. Thanks again for your moto presence. See you out there!

  5. hrwolfe

    I love being lectured by someone more than half my age and less riding experience and did this writer do anything about Fran Pavley’s SB435, l did over a 2 year period and didn’t notice much AMA presence that said does the NEW Law bring points against your license? If fix-it tickets went unresolved the you got points how does it work now?

    • Surj Gish

      You’re gonna need to clarify your points / questions, Mr. Wolfe.

      As for points, the changes to the vehicle code are included above. There is nothing about points—the only material change is that a fine is now mandatory.

      • hrwolfe

        A mandatory fine doesn’t bother you? You lecture your readers, I’ve no knowledge of you or your qualifications to lecture.

      • Surj Gish

        That’s correct—a mandatory fine doesn’t bother me in the least. I’ve already articulated why in this article above, but I’ll quote myself to make it easy: “If you’re going to behave like an antisocial asshole or even just break the law (because sometimes it’s fun), do it out of the public eye like we do (most of the time) so your behavior doesn’t unnecessarily affect your fellow motorcyclists (or your fellow humans).”

        Stupid-loud pipes bring the wrong kind of attention to motorcycling—why should such an infraction be treated differently than say, a speeding ticket?

        As for lecturing, as you call it, a bit of reading here and a bit of Googling of my name will provide a more complete picture of my background and involvement, while you remain an anonymous commenter who has yet to display qualifications to reject any of the points made here.

      • hrwolfe

        My name is Raymond Fleischman, I was and in some areas still known as HR or Honda Ray. The fact that Ape Hangers are Legal in California is yes due to my push with Jean Hughs and Jim Lombardo pushing it over the goal line, though I was the only one in the entire State that wrote a letter of my experience with THAT fix-it ticket. My 20+ years of activism in ABATE of California benefited the Riders of this State. I’ve walked precincts, stuffed envelopes and worked phone banks for many a Motorcycle Friendly politician and wrote countless columns for the Bailing Wire and gave a few speeches on the State Capitol Steps at our annual Freedom Rally, the first legislative day of the year, also riding from So. Ca. to Sac. for the event in early January. I also created the current Motorcycle Awareness Month (MAM) program here in California back in 96 and co-created the ABATE MAM pamphlet with the late Paul Thomas all as a volunteer. Now back to the matter at hand, should your packing diminish, as it does, you now get a fine AND a fix it ticket, oh how lovely. Yes overly loud pipes are obnoxious, I don’t see where I endorsed it but I put in a lot of work to halt Fran Pavely’s SB435 which curtailed aftermarket exhaust here in Cali. [edited to remove over-the-line assholishnesss per our terms.]

      • Surj Gish

        Raymond, I’ve edited your comment to remove blatant assholishness, per our terms. We welcome discussion, and sometimes it’s intense, but as it says at the top of the comments here, don’t be a dick.

        Since you know James Lombardo, ask him about me. As for your extensive list of “qualifications,” you’ve yet to present a single thoughtful, reasonable rebuttal to AB 1824, a perfect example of why we here at CityBike are frustrated with so many of the self-styled “defenders of liberty” who claim to be working on behalf of motorcyclists: it’s often little more than knee-jerk gnashing of teeth that makes us all look bad and less likely to be taken seriously on things that actually matter.

      • hrwolfe

        In other words you’ve not done anything but from a Citybike desk, thank you for your service.

      • Nick Benson Sr.

        Ray: I wish I wasn’t so backed up and had more time to respond to this, but suffice to say that everytime a law is passed, we lose one more freedom. Many people feel that govt babysitting for all of us is a good thing, but for those of us that are able to get along without being babysat, we will be fighting this law. ABATE of CA, AMA, MMA, MPP, the COCs, and several others will be fighting this law big time this year. Again, I wish I had more time, but as you well know, I am super busy right now so that is all I will comment on this.

      • Surj Gish

        @nick_benson_sr:disqus – specifically, what freedom did this law take away? Further, since you stated that “everytime a law is passed, we lose one more freedom,” perhaps you can tell me what freedom we lost with AB 51, or any of the other countless laws that actually formalized “freedoms” and put good stuff on the books? Isn’t ABATE pushing for an anti-profiling bill? But that’ll take freedom away!

        You’ll likely label me as a promoter of state babysitting or a fan of AB 1824, neither of which are true, but this black and white, sky-is-falling language that ABATE and other MROs often use to trump up outrage among the masses is nonsensical and hurts our credibility when we need to be taken seriously.

  6. Cootz of SF

    Thanks for setting us lazy fuckers straight. I’d heard whining about this on the Internet. Unwarranted whining it seems.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.