Like It Loud? Apparently, the Neighbors Don’t

There are a wealth of people in the off-road and performance industries who have a deep-seated appreciation for a vehicle that rumbles. While luxury auto makers tout the ability of their vehicles to create a nearly noiseless interior, and absolutely nobody is sure whether or not their Prius is actually on or just coasting through the parking lot, it’s hard to find a true blue car person who doesn’t prefer a loud set of pipes.

And now, loud exhaust systems extend far beyond the muscle car and diesel truck crowds. As more and more off-road enthusiasts remove mufflers and modify exhaust set-ups, more and more ATV’s, dirt bikes and 4×4 trucks are being labeled and just plain loud. And as far as some are concerned, it’s just plain annoying.

A new law in place in Tinicum Township Pennsylvania has aimed to deter off-road riders from modifying vehicles that later become a noise nuisance. Under the ordinance, any vehicle found to be over the decibel limit will be subject to a citation and fine between $500 and $1000. Not cheap.

While town leaders say that the law has been put in place to solidify rules on not only loud vehicles, but also other potential nuisance activities like music and gun fire, they also admit that a wealth of complaints about noisy off-road riders in this rural area spurred the final decision to push the ordinance through.

Which leads to the question: just how loud is too loud? According to the Tinicum Township ordinance, exhaust noise must measure no more than 99 decibels at a distance of 20 inches from the muffler, and noise must not exceed 65 decibels at a property line. As a gauge for those of you not exactly formally schooled in decibel levels, an air conditioning unit produces about 65 decibels.

In addition to keeping it down on the noise side, the ordinance also requires all off-road vehicles to be equipped with a muffler and spark arrestor, and no more than three off-road vehicles (or construction equipment, as the law covers that, too) can be run at once on a piece of property.

While some off road enthusiasts may be angered by the ordinance, and similar ones being put into place throughout the country, when it comes to respecting our neighbors, we must realize that not all people love the same noise. And hey, at least your neighbor will have to turn down their Mozart, too.

As they say: ride softly and carry a whole lot of horsepower. Just don’t let those ponies neigh over 99 decibels, please.