Revving the question: How loud is too loud? - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Revving the question: How loud is too loud?


Two recent letters to the editor published in the Dubuque Telegraph Herald have revved the question of noise violations, specifically in regards to motorcycles.

At Dubuque's Harley-Davidson dealership, new motorcycles come in all kinds of colors, sizes and models, but they all share a decibel emission level, service manager Jeremy Murphy said.

"EPA requirements are 80 decibels, as far as stock systems go," Murphy said.

He said many of his customers believe in the saying, "Loud pipes save lives."

"It's not like they need to be so much louder that you get that crazy loudness out there, but a lot of people just like the understanding, the knowing that their bike can be heard," Murphy said. "They don't have to be seen to know that a bike is in a blind spot."

Not everyone agrees that loud pipes mean safe driving.

David Klavitter is a longtime motorcyclist.

"I bought a Yamaha when I turned 18 and I still have it, I still ride it," Klavitter said.

He said he doesn't need loud pipes to remain safe.

"I'm a motorcyclist, so I wear a helmet. I wear brightly-colored clothes, I know how to use my horn and I drive defensively," Klavitter said.

Louder pipes, he said, violate the law and his right to a quiet neighborhood.

"Everyone should be sensitive and respectful of everyone's right to quiet enjoyment. Beyond that, law enforcement agencies have an obligation to fairly and consistently enforce all noise, as it applies to any device."

Dubuque police spokesperson Lt. Scott Baxter said the Department has stepped up enforcement of general noise violations since last summer, due to an increase in the number of citizen complaints.

So far this year, Baxter said, the Department has issued 204 muffler, exhaust and loud music citations. 25 of those went to motorcyclists.

"There's a lot of things that the biking community does that's great for the community, as far as raising money for the MDA runs, various benefits," Murphy said. "You know, those people that get out at night and they got the extremely obnoxious exhaust, it just gives a bad name to a lot of bikers out there."

Both Klavitter and Baxter said, the law is the law.

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