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Shhhhh! It's NYS Law...

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Welcome back… 

On this day, I am but a mere "intermediary" so to speak on the subject I am about to elaborate on. 

There are many views in regards to the new law our NYS Governor has put into effect this past November. The one in question today, being the "noise law" for snowmobilers. In this recent article, posted in the Utica OD, the measure outlaws operating a snowmobile without a working muffler that keeps noise below 78 decibels at full throttle measured from 50 feet away. It also bans snowmobiles putting out 88 decibels at 4,000 rpm as measured from about 12 feet behind a stationary sled with a sound meter microphone. That will use a test developed by the Society of Automotive Engineers.(1)

Below is a part of the Section OPRHP Law 25.17, Equipment (e) Muffler, found on the NYSSA site...

…Should  the  federal government adopt snowmobile noise level standards different from those contained  in  this  paragraph  and require  that  the  state  conform  thereto,  the  commissioner shall be authorized to adopt rules and regulations superseding  the  noise  level requirements  of  this  paragraph  to  achieve  compliance  with federal standards.  No snowmobile shall be modified by any person in any  manner that shall amplify or otherwise increase total noise emission to a level greater  than  that emitted by the snowmobile as originally constructed, regardless of date of manufacture.(2)

The law is in effect and can absolutely affect many riders out this season, as tickets will be issued for those modified, now illegal, louder than "normal" pipes. This can be costly, both the ticket as well as the modifications to the sled that would need to be made to lower the decibel to standard. I understand both sides of the table, as I'm a fan of the sport of racing and modifying only increases chances to win (and look good). But I also grew up directly across the road from a large field where the trail was used more frequently by snowmobilers than the road was used for actual traffic. The field, approximately 2-3 football fields long approximately, was a popular location for racing and riding and was approximately 50 yards or less from our front door. It spanned in width a couple hundred yards or more as well. Depending on where the snowmobiles were riding, whether it be close to the road or closer to the wooded area further from our home, the noise level was either considerable or nearly unheard. It didn't bother us, as we grew up riding and hearing the sounds. But for others who may or may not be a fan or even just those who have children, trying to sleep, I can see the law's intent to support those who would like to open the trails but are worried about the noise level. This law opens up trails, hopefully, that would have otherwise been left closed due to the landowners disapproval of such noise. 

When it comes down to it, many landowners won't open the trails anyway due to disbelief of the "system". It will be hard to crack down on certain trails and locations. There is no way to reach riders, after a call has been placed to authorities. The riders will be long gone before any authority arrives. But, there will be check points and as riders we must abide and be aware. I enjoy a crisp, relaxing, recreational ride on a perfect afternoon. I also love to go full-throttle down a field, leaving my friends in a flurry of snow dust! If we manage to come to an agreement and leave the modified, louder pipes to racing… and keep the originally manufactured pipes to the recreational riding then we should all get along pretty nicely (in a perfect world). Haha… 

Until next time… 

aaaaand that's a braaaap!

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(2) Read more:

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