Good Question: Are there noise restrictions for cars and motorcycles?

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. — If you’ve ever heard a motorcycle zoom down your street and wondered about the noise level, you’re not alone. Are there rules for how loud motorcycles are allowed to be?

Now that it’s spring, with warmer weather comes more motorcycles on the roads. Chuck wrote: “I believe there are noise laws that govern how loud cars can be. Are motorcycles exempt from noise laws or are the police just not enforcing them?”

I reached out to the Rochester Police Department and it pointed me to a law passed in 2021 by Gov. Kathy Hochul. It’s called the SLEEP Act which stands for “stop loud and excessive exhaust pollution”.

The law “increases penalties against motorists and repair shops that illegally modify mufflers and exhaust systems to make them excessively noisy.”

The law also creates stricter regulations on vehicle equipment. Engines, on both cars and bikes, cannot be louder than 90 decibels which is loud enough to cause hearing damage.

It applies to drivers and auto shops. An auto repair shop that knowingly installs illegal equipment three or more times within a year and a half, the shop risks losing its credentials to operate.

The maximum fine for installing illegal equipment is $1,000. RPD says that its traffic enforcement unit is responsible for handling all vehicle and traffic law violations including noise violations.

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