Cops to issue tickets for loud motorcycles

May 30, 2009 5:30:28 PM PDT
It is going to start costing motorcyclists who try to ride loud bikes in some popular San Francisco neighborhoods. Police are trying to hush the hogs.

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Police are only focusing on Fishermans Wharf and North Beach. They say it is a noise ordinance that has always been on the books, but now they are making it a priority.

When owner of Oakland Custom Cycles George Kovach starts his Harley, he likes to rev it up.

"Yes I do have a Harley Davidson with modified exhaust and I'm proud of it," he told ABC7.

He is also proud of the roar. Starting Saturday, if he revs his engine up while riding through North Beach or Fisherman's Wharf, San Francisco police will write him a ticket.

"These motorcycles that we're targeting are the same motorcyles that are doing doughnuts in the middle of the street, driving down setting off car alarms, rattling windows... It's an offensive noise. It's offensive to elderly people, to young people... It's a problem for merchants," explained Police Sgt. Neil Swendsen.

"It does cause a nuisance. People can't hear their conversation. It distracts people engaging in a conversation, especially when we have patio dining here too," said Karen Kwong, owner of the Cioppino's restaurant.

Police will start cracking down on riders whose bikes do not sound like average motorcycles without muffler modifications. First, the motorcyclist will be issued a fix-it ticket, to change their bike back to the way it used to sound. If the owner does not comply another fine could be added.

When asked how officers will be able to gauge which bikes are modified they simply said they will know when they feel it.

"When it starts to rattle the fillings out of your teeth, you know the bike is too loud," said Sgt. Swendsen.

The enforcement will last through the summer. Based on residents and business owner responses, the ban could spread to other parts of the city.

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