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Friday, May 29, 2009

S.F. Police To Motorcycle Enthusiasts: 'Turn That Crap Down!'

Posted By on Fri, May 29, 2009 at 12:01 AM

Hey, you! The motorcycle freak on the chopper so loud it's rattling my fillings out! Yeah, you! The San Francisco Police Department would like a word with you -- a quiet word.

The SFPD will on Saturday announce a crackdown on choppers emitting a noise reminiscent of, as Kurt Vonnegut would have put it, "the opening of the zipper on the fly of God Almighty." The cops' response is the result of a number of noise complaints lodged with the Board of Supervisors, emanating (not surprisingly) from some of the city's tonier and more cruise-worthy zones: Fisherman's Wharf, the Marina, The Embarcadero.

Sergeant Bob Guinan, who oversees the city's motorcycle unit, says his officers will be on the lookout -- or, more accurately, on the hearout -- for motorcyclists who have altered the mufflers of their bikes to emit a sound louder than 95 decibels. (for purposes of comparison, a large orchestra usually clocks in at around 98 decibels, front row of a rock concert at 110, and actual pain starts at 130. Guinan said none of the police bikes go louder than 68 dB, no matter how hard you rev them).

Guinan blamed most of the noise on out-of-towners who head into the city "especially on a hot day on their custom bikes." Altering the muffler to emit an almost literally ear-bleeding bleat is a $300 to $400 operation -- "They enjoy the noise. It's part of having a Harley-type bike," said the sergeant.

He notes that police will not be chasing down noise offenders -- "We're not inclined to engage in pursuits for infractions of the vehicle code" -- but motorcycle cops have now been trained to recognize the sound of a chopper with an altered muffler and will make stops or take license plate numbers if the biker speeds off.

Cops will be handing out "fix-it" tickets; with proof of the muffler being restored to actually allow muffling, bikers will only have to pay a $25 administrative fee. Otherwise they risk a ticket in the hundreds of dollars -- and having their bikes impounded for a second offense.

Sounds like a solid idea -- and anything giving us an excuse to play the above Bubb Rubb and Lil' Sis video is more than welcome.

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About The Author

Joe Eskenazi

Joe Eskenazi

Joe Eskenazi was born in San Francisco, raised in the Bay Area, and attended U.C. Berkeley. He never left. "Your humble narrator" was a staff writer and columnist for SF Weekly from 2007 to 2015. He resides in the Excelsior with his wife, 4.3 miles from his birthplace and 5,474 from hers.


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