PORTSMOUTH — Motorcyclists in Portsmouth this summer should be mindful of whether their bikes adhere to state decibel laws because, “We’re going to be paying attention and we have the equipment to enforce the laws,” said police Capt. Frank Warchol.
The Portsmouth Police Department sent two officers, Master Patrolman Dean Outhouse and officer Joseph Melanson, to train with New Hampshire State Police to use new equipment for measuring decibels from motorcycle exhaust pipes, Warchol said. The department now also has a decibel reader, an anemometer and a custom-made tool to take sound readings at the 45-degree angle required for an accurate reading, Warchol said. And the officers know how to use them, he warned.
New Hampshire police agencies are newly barred from conducting motorcycle-only checkpoints, since the passage of legislation (HB516) with language reading, “No law enforcement officer or agency shall establish or conduct motorcycle-only checkpoints.” The law became effective May 30, so there won’t be any checkpoints in Portsmouth and, Warchol said, police aren’t planning on “hammering anyone.”
But police do now have the gear to measure and enforce decibel limits set by state law, with fines ranging from $100 to $300, according to police. Citations can also be issued to people who alter their exhaust pipes. And if a bike is pulled over for running a stop sign, or another traffic infraction, police can now also take decibel readings.
Warchol said Outhouse, a motorcycle officer for the Police Department, will host an event later this month, at a time and place to be determined, to educate about motorcycle decibel limits and safety. Riders will be able to have their exhaust pipes tested, as a no-penalty public service and “community safety initiative,” Warchol said.
“It’s not just about loud pipes,” said the police captain. “This is an education piece. It’s a broader safety initiative.”
The Seacoast will likely see an increase of motorcycles this week as the 95th annual New Hampshire Motorcycle Week in Laconia began on Saturday.
Warchol said the Police Department will also be publishing and distributing postcards with information about motorcycle-noise laws and will leave them on motorcycles around the city.
New Hampshire law says motorcycles can’t exceed 92 decibels when idling, 100 decibels for 3- and 4-cylinder bikes at 5,000 revolutions per minute and 96 decibels for all other bikes at 2,000 RPMs. Cities and towns are barred from setting their own decibel-limit ordinances, after a Rockingham County Superior Court judge ruled municipalities can’t set sound limits stricter than what state law allows. That law evolved from North Hampton’s since-overturned decibel ordinance.
“If each town in New Hampshire had the authority to enact different noise emission ordinances, the state would be subject to a checkerboard pattern of laws,” ruled Superior Court Judge Kenneth McHugh. “For example, a motorcyclist who complies with the state noise emission limit could be precluded from driving through a town because that town enacted a lower noise emission limit than the state.”
According to federal Environmental Protection Agency rules, motorcycles must be made and sold with exhaust systems that do not exceed 80 decibels. There’s a little-known exception for custom kit bikes allowing one kit bike per owner to exceed decibel limits and the federal rules are imposed upon dealers and manufacturers, not motorcycle riders, according to police.
Warchol said complaints about motorcycle noise are one part of a multi-faceted traffic-complaint category, which police hear the most. He said details about the pipes-testing event and the postcard distribution will be forthcoming.
BAKERSFIELD, CA – New details tonight in a deadly shooting between two rival biker gangs and the evidence that led to three recent arrests.
Initial details painted the fatal confrontation between the rival gangs as an argument that escalated. But court documents allege that several members of the Mongols Motorcycle Club knew exactly what they were doing-and had it planned out to a tee.
It was Cinco De Mayo when the Hells Angels Motorcycle Club held a charity car wash near Zingos Café on Buck Owens Blvd. Court documents say that several members of the Mongols knew about the event days prior and set a plan in motion.
56-year-old Ricardo Viera who was shot and killed at the fundraiser, received a text message from Eliseo Miranda two days prior-saying quote “light em up.” He also sent a photo of the flyer for the rival gang’s event.
Documents say on the afternoon of the car wash, Mongol members, Eliseo Miranda and Arturo Desiderio showed up, driven by an associate of the gang, Christopher Wilson. They got out of Wilson’s car in Mongol attire with tire irons in hand, shouting at the Hells Angels to come fight them.
Once 10 to 15 members of the Hells Angels were lured away from their event and into an adjacent parking lot, Ricardo Viera, who’d recently driven up in his car, got out and fired into the crowd.
That’s when police say a man who is not a gang member-fired back with his legally obtained weapon and killed Viera. Police found a sawed off shot gun next to his Viera’s body. Documents say that two years ago, Ricardo Viera was stabbed by a Hells Angels member who’d recently been paroled and was believed to be at the car wash that day.
Wilson, Miranda, and Desiderio all face charges of conspiracy, gang participation, five counts of attempted murder, and three counts of assault with a deadly weapon.