EPA Laws on Noise Emissions

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EPA Laws on Noise Emissions

By Craig Barrett

Given that so many motorcyclists cross the border on runs I thought it would be useful to investigate the legal status of motorcycles in the eastern seaboard states, particularly as they can vary from state to state.  I was originally going to write about road and environment laws – and then realised just how big a job that would be.  So, to begin with, I have only looked at the Environment Protection Agency/Authority (EPA) websites for Queensland, New South Wales and Victoria, and only information about noise emissions; this was primarily because of the issue over noise emission limits in New South Wales that many of us are familiar with.  I looked for anything that directly pertained to motorcycles either by using the pre-existing categories offered by the agencies or by using the ‘search’ function available on each website.

Queensland

The Environmental Protection Agency currently does not appear to include any law that directly pertains to motorcycles.  The homepage for the EPA can be found at:

http://www.epa.qld.gov.au/

New South Wales

Most of us have heard something about muffler noise laws in New South Wales.  For those who have not, the basic rule is: if your bike was manufactured in 1988 or later, the level of noise emission from the muffler must be less than 94 decibels and your muffler must have a sticker indicating that it is compliant (from the manufacturer or received upon testing that you have to have carried out yourself at a licensed ‘tester’).  In certain circumstances this law can also be applied to bikes manufactured prior to 1988.  You can be fined up to $500 the first time you are found ‘non-compliant’ and $300 each time you are investigated after a defect notice has been issued and the problem has not been addressed.  This law is managed by the Environmental Protection Authority, the website for which can be found at:

http://www.environment.nsw.gov.au/home.htm

The page that specifically outlines all the information you need to know to ensure your muffler is compliant can be found at:

http://www.environment.nsw.gov.au/noise/motorcyclemuffler.htm

Victoria

It appears Victoria may have similar legislation in place to that of New South Wales regarding noise emissions from vehicles, including motorcycles.  Whilst the website claims it is an offence to exceed legal noise limits, it does not provide a link to explain what constitutes an offence and what penalties apply, or indeed what the legal limit of noise is.  The homepage can be found at:

http://www.epa.vic.gov.au/

And the webpage regarding noise emissions can be found at:

http://www.epa.vic.gov.au/Noise/motor_noise.asp

Though I don’t know for sure, I reckon it would be a good bet that if your mufflers are compliant with New South Wales legislation, you would be compliant in Victoria (and probably every other Australian state) also – though of course don’t quote me on that!  I also have it on good authority that your bike would have to be really loud to be over 94 decibels, so it may not even concern any of us Guzzi riders; but, if you are concerned, follow the links above and check the details.  Though I can’t think of names offhand, I have heard there are muffler shops in Brisbane that can test your muffler to NSW requirements.