AMA sound test kit at work

Police Use Meters To Educate Community

By Conrad Pfeifer

The Middlesex Township Police Department in Butler County, Pa., was one of the recipients of an AMA sound meter grant in 2017. The department’s purpose in applying for the grant was to inform local riders about the ongoing issues regarding the effects of loud motorcycles in local communities.

Middlesex Township is a semi-rural community 20 miles north of Pittsburgh. The area is growing rapidly, yet still has many farms, wooded areas and trails that off-road riders often use.

Our goal for the sound meter project is to educate riders as to what an acceptable sound level is according to the AMA guidelines, while being able to show quantitative data to the complainants and property owners that perhaps the “noise” is within acceptable range.

Doing so will be in conjunction with the AMA’s mission to keep off-road riding areas open to the public and, possibly, prevent the implementation of local laws and regulations that specifically target riders.

The sound meter will not be used for enforcement or prosecution of noise ordinance violators. Instead, it will be used to be proactive and educational.

We have riders from every generation and type of riding in our jurisdiction. There are two AMA Life Members and International Six Days medalists who are still very active in local riding. Hunter Riemer, former GNCC/AMA Junior National Champion, rides and trains locally on his family’s property.

They are just some of the many local riders who could be affected if an off-road vehicle ban was implemented due to excessive sound.

In addition to off-road riding noise issues, we also have two “custom” cycle builders and repair shops in our jurisdiction.

Our department has a good rapport with them and would like them to continue being good neighbors when it comes to exhaust sound.

Here are the results of some of our tests.

ISDT gold medalist and AMA Life Member Paul Danik and his family still ride on the property. Danik trained on with his Penton for the 1973 and 1974 Six Days. The vintage Penton Jack Piner and the modern KTMs used by the Danik family fell within sound acceptable specs.

John “Crazy Jake” Fischer, an AMA Life Member and ISDT gold medalist, owns a recently restored 1973 Husqvarna 400. And he owns a motorcycle shop that borders a golf course owned by a senior living community.

Jake has been test riding his motorcycles near the course for more than 40 years. His bike was sound tested and is ready for its first vintage race appearance.

Landon and Taylor Klein ride around their yard in a typical suburban neighborhood with several houses in close proximity to theirs.

I stopped and spoke with their dad, Rob Klein. I mentioned it was great to see young riders honing their skills and asked him if I could perform a courtesy sound test.

The process and reason for the check was explained to the kids and Rob. The machine conformed to sound parameters, and the kids continued their spin around the yard.

Tom Lawrence is a custom Harley builder, customizer and expert painter who runs TL Cycles, in Valencia, Pa. Lawrence has been living and working in the area his whole life. He started his riding career on a Honda CT70 traveling around the same yard he owns today.

After performing sound checks on a few of his creations, Lawrence has a better understanding of the excessive sound issue and mentioned the recent “banning” of motorcycles in nearby neighborhoods.


AMA Sound Test Kit Program The AMA Government Relations Department award sound testing kits each year to AMA Districts, club members and others who educate riders about sound. The kit contains a Type 2 sound meter, a tachometer, training materials, a spark-arrestor probe, personal protective equipment and a storage case. For more information, contact Steve Salisbury, AMA government relations manager, at [email protected]. To read the AMA position statement on excessive motorcycle sound, visit, click on “Rights” and then “Position Statements.”