Lawsuit Filed Against Fort Smith, Fayetteville Leaders Regarding Noise At Motorcycle Rallies

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FORT SMITH (KFSM) – A former law enforcement officer has filed a lawsuit against Fort Smith Mayor Sandy Sanders and Fort Smith Police Chief Kevin Lindsey, along with Fayetteville Mayor Lioneld Jordan and Fayetteville Police Chief Greg Tabor.

The federal lawsuit alleges a failure to regulate loud motorcycles attending the Steel Horse Rally and Bikes, Blues and BBQ.

Rickey Holtsclaw, of Uniontown, said his intention is not to put an end to the rallies, but to have them better regulated.

Holtsclaw claimed law enforcement in both cities are not abiding by the law when it comes to excessive noise, and the type of muffler being used on some motorcycles at the rallies.

He claimed 70 to 80 percent of the motorcycles at the Steel Horse Rally and Bikes, Blues & BBQ are illegally equipped, and said the noise is above the legal limit.

“These riders are either drilling holes or cutting the baffling out of those mufflers, or they're taking the muffler, removing it, and purchasing a muffler that is labeled for racing, or closed course only,” Holtsclaw said, “They're affixing it to that motorcycle and they break the law when they go out to a public roadway and operate it.”

President of the Steel Horse Rally Dennis Snow said he received a permit allowing the event to make excessive noise.  Fort Smith Municipal Code, Chapter 16, Article II, Section 16-42 lists exceptions for excessive noise.

"If anybody looks at the law, we have a permit," Snow said. "And when you have a permit to do an annual event, noise ordinances don't apply. So it's [the lawsuit] totally frivolous."

Bikes, Blues & BBQ spokesman Joe Giles said he works with police and the mayor and obtains a permit as well, but said it applies more to the music played at the event, and not specifically noise from motorcycles.

He said most people attending are following the law when it comes to mufflers.

“The vast majority of motorcycles run stop pipes or run after-market pipes that are well within the legal limits of what can be,” he said. “There are those, like in every other facet of the world, who find a way to foul things up. But the most of our attendees are not among that faction.”

Holtsclaw, a former Houston police officer of more than 30 years, claimed police are not enforcing state and federal muffler laws, regardless of what city ordinances may say about noise.

He said he completed an independent survey on violations of Arkansas' vehicular muffler statute from April 1 through October 1, 2015. Holtsclaw said in the survey, which included Arkansas State Police, Arkansas Highway Patrol, the Fort Smith Police Department, the Fayetteville Police Department, the Hot Springs Police Department, and the Van Buren Police Department, he found a total of 39 citations issued.

He said 38 came from  Arkansas State Police, and one from the Van Buren Police Department.

"Our police are in a state of lethargy. They're apathetic. They're complacent. They do not want to get out of their patrol car unless they have to," Holtsclaw said.

Holtsclaw said his goal is not to cancel the rallies, but to have more enforcement of the law.

This year will mark the second annual Steel Horse Rally, and the 17th annual Bikes, Blues & BBQ.

47 comments

    • Jim Belliveau (@jimbelliveau1)

      We are “garbage” because our bikes are loud you say? Well from this piece of garbage FUCK YOU !!! You don’t mind the money that we spend in your towns in the area around rallies that BENEFIT YA’LL, but you got the nerve to call us garbage behind out backs. You got no ball’s BOY. Man up and say that to our faces !!!

      • RickeyD

        Jim, I see you’ve become angry in response to someone referring to the Loud Biker Cult[ure] as garbage…perhaps that is a little over-the-top – but – let me ask you a question Jim. What kind of “man” would take a perfectly legal motor vehicle and, with intent and foreknowledge, modify that motor vehicle to make NOISE – then – take that noisy, egregiously loud, illegally equipped motor vehicle out onto our public roadways and audibly assault children, our handicapped, our elderly, our families and do so in the name of being “cool.” Is this a man? I don’t think so!

        Rick Holtsclaw, Houston PD/Retired

    • RickeyD

      No United States Citizen should have to hide themselves away from the complicit unlawful activity of others. Our families, our children, our elderly, our handicapped should not be forced to seek physical and psychological relief or shelter from the illegal, intrusive, unconstitutional behavior of others. Our leadership that is sworn to protect and serve the citizens of Arkansas and the citizens of the United States as a whole should not be permitted to usurp State and Federal Constitutional protections granted said “citizens” for profit i.e. the expendable income of the Loud Motorcycle Cult[ure] in attendance at a motorcycle rally.

      Rick Holtsclaw, Houston PD/Retired
      Loud Motorcycles Suck – Facebook and YouTube

      • Susan Brodie

        I totally agree with the loud noise situation with some motorcycles & vehicles. I try to be a tolerant person, but when the noise makes you have to cover your ears to protect from hearing damage, that’s too loud. I have to call in every now & then on loud muffler situations, & the police seem to handle it well. I think the police should give them a warning the first time & tell them to fix the problem within a reasonable time or the vehicle will be towed to impound at the owner’s expense if there is another complaint. They make cool sounding mufflers that are not too loud, so there’s no excuse for excessive noise. These guys just think that louder is better, & it’s kind of a macho thing to have the loudest muffler, which is silly. There are some out there who like to annoy others & do it just for being mean.

      • John Frank Fisher

        Grown folk can afford motorcycles, maybe Barney can loan you a whistle and make citizen arrests for jaywalking illegal u turns in small town America and make Yourself feel better from saving humanity from itself.

        “President of the Steel Horse Rally Dennis Snow said he received a permit allowing the event to make excessive noise. Fort Smith Municipal Code, Chapter 16, Article II, Section 16-42 lists exceptions for excessive noise.

        “If anybody looks at the law, we have a permit,” Snow said. “And when you have a permit to do an annual event, noise ordinances don’t apply. So it’s [the lawsuit] totally frivolous.”

        That’s the Law in Fort Smith Arkansas which was followed for a Two day event.

  • RickeyD

    You cannot usurp a State Law or a Federal Law through the acquisition of a municipal permit. A municipality does not have the authority to authorize any such activity unless said activity is contained and controlled within a specif route and location for a specified time limit within a specified area within said municipality – which will be clearly articulated on that temporary permit. A municipality that invites activity into its jurisdiction that violates Federal and State law under the auspices of issuing a permit to authorize the behavior has usurped the Supremacy Clause and a State law, in this particular case, a State Statue to-wit Arkansas Motor Vehicle and Traffic Law, 27-37-601, codified specifically for the protection of the health and welfare of the general pubic. The operation of illegally equipped, illegally LOUD motorcycles on the public roadways of Arkansas is illegal, both Federally and via State Statute. Fort Smith and Fayetteville do not contain or regulate this behavior, nor do they control the ingress or egress of the incredibly loud, illegal, non-compliant motorcycles that effectively audibly assault Arkansans within every municipality on the routes to and from these motorcycle rallies. Simply put: This is unconstitutional.

    Rick Holtsclaw, Houston PD/Retired
    Loud Motorcycles Suck – Facebook and YouTube

    • Michael Cotter

      However Mr. Holtsclaw your lawsuit has some difficulties that a seasoned attorney will perhaps quickly overcome. First your entire complaint is predicated on the issue of singular vehicles when in fact it can be easily demonstrated that at these rallies there are hundreds of not thousands of motorcycles contributing to the noise level. Your assumption that the law is violated as a result of singular vehicles is just that, an assumption. It can just as easily be argued that the resulting noise level, just like the elevated noise levels at my home cause by increased traffic levels is just that. Second your suit assumes that the police are not doing their job because by your personal belief there have not been sufficient citations issued. Once again this is simply an assumption that could as easily be dismissed by the counter assumption, and more likely cause’ that the citation levels are a result of the true level of violations and not a lack of policing as you imply. I ride a motorcycle and know perhaps more persons than you who also ride including those who ride with what has perhaps more motivated your suit than noise, 1%er’s (you will get that part). While I do know a few that will remove the baffles or cut them down the majority of us do not because it creates performance issues (we would rather go fast as sound cool). My Harley has a legal baffled system as do all the guys I ride with and in a pack we are loud. I have attended both rallies and have seen very few bikes that I would think are running without baffles or cut downs and after years riding I can generally tell. So I would like to offer and assumption here, while the noise bothers you I would think your primary motivation for this call in increased policing, i.e. check points, is that we bikers bring violence and drugs to town and need to be better watched to filter out the trash and protect the community form the outlaw biker. After years riding and knowing outlaw club members I can say that in many communities the communities need more protection from the police that “protect them” than outlaw bikers. (Too much Sons of Anarchy). However I wish you luck with your suit and will be in attendance at this year’s rally with my too loud Harley.

    • Michael Cotter

      However Mr. Holtsclaw your lawsuit has some difficulties that a seasoned attorney will perhaps quickly overcome. First your entire complaint is predicated on the issue of singular vehicles when in fact it can be easily demonstrated that at these rallies there are hundreds if not thousands of motorcycles contributing to the noise level. Your assumption that the law is violated as a result of singular vehicles is just that, an assumption. It can just as easily be argued that the resulting noise level, just like the elevated noise levels at my home cause by increased traffic levels is just that. Second, your suit assumes that the police are not doing their job because, by your personal belief there have not been sufficient citations issued. Once again this is simply an assumption that could as easily be dismissed by the counter assumption, and more likely cause, that the citation levels are a result of the true level of violations and not a lack of policing as you imply. I ride a motorcycle and know perhaps more persons than you who also ride including those who ride with what has perhaps more motivated your suit than noise, 1%er’s (you will get that part). While I do know a few that will remove the baffles or cut them down the majority of us do not because it creates performance issues (we would rather go fast as sound cool). My Harley has a legal baffled system as do all the guys I ride with and in a pack we are loud. I have attended both rallies and have seen very few bikes that I would think are running without baffles or cut downs and after years riding I can generally tell. So I would like to offer an assumption here of my own, while the noise bothers you I would think your primary motivation for this call in increased policing, i.e. check points, is that we bikers bring violence and drugs to town and need to be better watched to filter out the trash and protect the community from the outlaw biker. After years riding and knowing outlaw club members I can say that in many communities the communities need more protection from the police that “protect them” than outlaw bikers. (Too much Sons of Anarchy). However I wish you luck with your suit and will be in attendance at this year’s rally with my too loud Harley.

  • Susan Rocha

    Dennis Snow is flat out wrong! The permit may allow loud music. The permit does NOT allow illegal modified mufflers! That is a flat out lie! At least Joe Giles told the truth that the permit does NOT apply to noise from motorcycles. But Joe Giles is wrong when he says that most motorcycles have legal pipes. And, he knows the truth that most motorcycles do not have legal pipes. I guess he does not know the difference between a “stock” (not stop) pipe and an aftermarket pipe. A stock pipe is a legal one that comes factory installed from the manufacturer. An aftermarket pipe (muffler) is when someone removes the factory installed muffler with an aftermarket usually illegal modified muffler.

    Dennis Snow and Joe Giles know the truth that most of these mufflers are illegal. They want to cover up the truth.

    • Gerry Alden

      Highway motorcycles, and the people who operate such protected traffic-types on a public way, are legally protected by many constitutional laws. The greatest protection is provided by people like Susan Rocha, who neglect to pressure for an institutional change in the criminal justice system, to demand an easily written noise control defendant must provide empirical sound energy evidence, in order to have the call to court reversed. Isn’t it ironic, that the very people complaining about this specific form of traffic soundscape source by a fail-to-duty process, are the very people who refuse to allow a simple institutional change in the current jurisprudence method. That is the true fail-to-duty process in this issue.

  • usarmyairborne

    I’ll wager that most who oppose the noise have no problems attending local concerts where the noise exceeds 130 db’s.

    • Gerry Alden

      I’ll up your wager by pointing out how ironic these complaints are, coming from people constantly providing, purposely configured outputs of other traffic-type soundscape noise, in the more commonly found source of excessive sounds produced by criminally speeding, significantly over the posted speed limit. Slow down your car, if you wish to better your local traffic soundscape.

  • Larry R Deal

    Notice that President of the Steel Horse Rally claims he gets a permit from the city that exempts the rally, and supposedly all the motorcycles attending it, from the city’s noise ordinance and allows its participant to make excessivie noise. Does it also exempt them from compliance with the state muffler law that requires motorcycles to be equipped with factory equipment mufflers and prohibits their noise emissions from exceeding that as originally manufactured? Of course, Mr. Snow’s claim is not valid but is typical of the attitude of the operators of illegally equipped and excessively loud motorcycles and their apologists.

    Those after market motorcycle exhaust systems Mr. Snow claims are legal, are not legal at all. They are not factory equivalent, do not maintain noise emissions to factory levels. They are intended for use on closed courses only, are designed to increase exhaust noise emissions, do comply with federal law, are not legal for use on public highways and are the root cause of why so many motorcycles are so ear splitting loud.

    And just because those who ride such illegally equipped motorcycles think their excessivie noise emissions are “cool”, or claim they do it for “charity”, is no reason to give them a free pass and exempt them from the laws they are clearly violating.

    The most egregious example of illegal after market motorcycle exhaust systems intended for use on closed courses only and that are designed to render motorcycles into rolling noise polluters are “straight pipes”. The video of this news story shows many such illegally equipped motorcyles.

    Considering that the video is a random sample of motorcycles attending these biker rallies, and that so many straight pipe equipped motorcycles are seen riding by, that would tend to confirm Mr. Holtsclaw’s assertion that a great many of them are illegally equipped and are more likely than not excessively and unlawfully loud, as bikers do not modify their exhaust systems to make their motorcycles quieter than as originally manufactured.

    Straight pipes regardless of the presence of baffles are not proper or legal mufflers for use on highway motorcycles. The least the police could do is ticket the straight pipers on sight for violating the state muffler law. There is no excuse for not doing so and the city’s special event permit does not grant the riders of motorcycles an exemption to the state or the federal motorcycle muffler laws.

    With the police hardly ever enforcing the state muffler laws and local motor vehicle noise ordinances, it’s no wonder why there are tens of thousands of illegally equipped and obliviously excessively loud motorcycles getting away with assaulting the public with unlawful and ear shattering motorcycle noise.

    One would expect the public to have the right to be free from such clearly excessive and unlawful noise pollution. When can the public expect the authorities to do their part upholding that right? Kowtowing to and granting exemptions to those who sponsor biker rallies and those ride state, local and federally regulated motorcycles is not the proper way to serve the vast majority of the public.

    • John Frank Fisher

      Larry this Not North Carolina or California, Give the adjectives a rest Drama Queen, People the Fort Smith Police Department where a Very visible presence at the Rally and on foot, vehicle and above the crowd, But seeing as you wasn’t there You wouldn’t know that!

    • Gerry Alden

      This is where you are wrong bad deal larry:

      Excessive noise in a rally event can be sourced legally from the extra number of participants then normal, not only the extra numerical-decibel-threshold-value of a questioned “in use” regulated product as part of the group participants.

      The state can not preclude federal law and demand “in use” owners not be subject to the presumed tampering provisions afforded under the law. Highway motorcycle product builders are commonly found by empirical data to configure total noise outputs to fall far under the maximum sound level limits. This “under the level buffer” allows “in use” owners to make use of the 205.162-2 tampering provision in law, while being found applicable to both state and federal law, BY LEGALLY NOT HAVING STANDARD COMPONENTS AFFIXED, even when no statement of compliance is stamped into the device.

      Stating a false claim of how minor traffic codes are generally complied to by a volunteer basis, by a hated form of protected traffic-type, is typical of the rhetoric found by anti-noise zealots.

      After-market exhaust systems are not automatically deemed illegal by federal and state code, because the device was sold for the purpose of off-road use if affixed to a standard highway “in use” product. In fact the opposite situation may be true. If a factory exhaust system, designed to maintain noise emissions to factory levels, is attached to a non-standard highway motorcycle model/engine, in such a fashion that the non-standard modifications allow the measured factory silencer and full motorcycle sounds to emit numerical decibel values in excess of the EPA regulation, THEN THE FACTORY SILENCER MAY NOT BE FOUND ROAD LEGAL by the parameters of the EPA’s sound measuring procedure. It is for this reason there is no such objective device as an EPA compliant exhaust system constituent component in an overall component noise control system. Period. Therefore there is no such best-in-practice local enforcement model that can be found by the order of chasing wrong devices.

      Straight pipes are not illegal. They can be purchased legally. They can be installed legally. They can be used legally in many, on or off-road situations. The visual external design characteristics of a rolled piece of cold steel is irrelevant to the legal road use of such a product. Conversely, the invisible internal design characteristics of such devices are interesting to law enforcement officials who may question code use. The internal mechanisms of such devices, purposely designed to fit a standard highway motorcycle, may not be seen by any subjective enforcement process during an officer’s use of discretion, but may hold the most objective evidence of it’s noise mitigation abilities. Therefore, an easily written up defendant by subjective methods must provide the data during the court hearing to remove a charge, not the accuser, to provide the performance mitigation factors (preponderance of evidence) of such a questionable device. Your illogical suggestions about your feelings on effective enforcement reverse clear reasoning in this regard.

      Your suggestion on how to best protect the public from a poor traffic soundscape environment, by use of personal hatred surrounding one traffic-type configuration, while ignoring the most common traffic-type source (speeders) known to adversely harm the public, is alarming. One can only surmise you have a hidden agenda against this beloved form of travel, that has nothing to do with soundscape cures, and everything to do with harming a well protected group of people, you despise. Purposely harming a protected group of people for prejudicial and biased reasons by disparaging writing, is a form of hate speech. Protected groups do not need to be a classified person under discrimination laws to be included in a hate crime.

  • David Mcclellan

    How about the cities harass the motorcycle riders and watch the millions of dollars these bikers bring into your community from all over the country evaporate and the retired cop then can pay higher property taxes to make up for the money the city will lose.

    • Larry R Deal

      Bikers can attend biker rallies and spend money without violating the muffler laws and making a lot of excessive and unlawful noise. You seem to think they should be given an exemption to those laws because they spend money while violating them. That does not smack of rational thinking and is not consistent with the rule of law.

    • RickeyD

      Hi David, I’ve published two videos on YouTube relevant to your comment about the money and biker rallies…should you want to view them I’ll give you the titles since this comment section does not seem to allow for hyperlinks: go to YouTube’s page, plug-in Loud Motorcycles Suck in the search bar and look for “Biker Rallies and Your Rights” and “Philanthropy or Thuggery.” My name is Rickey Holtsclaw and with this information you should have no problem locating the videos…you’ll get a kick out of the content.

      Rick Holtsclaw, Houston PD/Retired

      • Max Frisson

        This would be the Rickey D run out of Houston for harassing motorcyclists? Forced into retirement for his obsession with enforcing a Federal law on a municipal level. In 2010 Holtsclaw was removed from street patrol and placed on administrative assignment for 5 months while the Houston Police Department Internal Affairs officers investigated his harassment of motorcyclists. Basically he went crazy over one single issue. Now he has brought his prejudices to a community that obviously does not support his extremist position.

      • RickeyD

        Find me one letter, on piece of evidence from the COH that I left the Department except on my own terms in order to fight this issue without the restrictions of a gag order…one valid piece of information and I’ll shut the entire effort down.

  • ugotthatrite

    just set up check points to check/ ticket them as they travel to or when they leave after… the rally! problem solved!! 🙂
    mufflers, drunks, druggies and no insurance or motorcycle endorsements on their licenses…jus say’n, itsa win win

    • Larry R Deal

      That’s called “enforcement”, and that is a good idea. And in the case of the city of Fort Smith and the biker rallies it sponsors, is seriously lacking and sorely needed.

    • Gerry Alden

      I totally disagree with your statement. Vehicular noise is an epidemic not because the authorities are too lazy or sympathetic to the known sources, but because
      people like you are proven in neglect-of-duty to institutionally pressure for change in the current jurisprudent method used in noise control cases. We are talking about providing comparison evidence to a known noise control product, already measured.

      Isn’t it your fault that an easily written up defendant can’t provide data to reverse a charge, if you have never pressured for it? Why do you continue to support the accuser to provide the invisible sound energy evidence?

  • RickeyD

    The Arkansas State Legislature codified Arkansas’ Muffler Law 27-37-601 specifically for the protection of the health and welfare of the citizens of Arkansas. Arkansas’ muffler law specifically advises that every motor vehicle operated on the roadways of Arkansas must be equipped with the very quiet “factory-installed muffler” or a muffler conforming to the specifications of the “factory-installed muffler.” Subsection (b) of 27-37-601 specifically forbids the “sell” or retail of a muffler within the State of Arkansas that does not conform to the specifications of the “factory-installed muffler.” Very articulate, very clearly defined, easily enforceable; therefore, why are approximately 80% of the motorcycles operated on the roadways of Arkansas illegally equipped with modified OEM-Factory exhausts (baffeling removed or holes drilled into the exhaust) or equipped with an aftermarket exhaust labeled as “closed-course/racing exhaust” (not for street use) that DO NOT conform to the specifications of the factory-installed muffler emitting two-four-six or more times the dB(A) (logarithmic scale) of the factory-installed muffler? The muffler noise laws were codified for the protection of our families, our elderly, our children, our handicapped – those most sensitive to this unnecessary NOISE nonsense – why is this unlawful, selfish, intrusive, NOISE debacle allowed to continue? Why?

    Rick Holtsclaw, Houston PD/Retired

    • Danno Rockswell

      I’m glad you posted this comment, I did not know if you were ill informed or just pontificating bullshit to push your agenda. Now it’s clear. Can you verify the 80% comment you made…of course not. I ride Arkansas roads…is my exhaust factory or aftermarket? If you can’t answer that question, as well as answer it for every motorcycle in or traveling through Arkansas, then you are a liar. Second, can you provide case evidence of one…just ONE…”elderly, child, handicapped, homeless puppy etc” that has suffered injury due to loud pipes? Didn’t think so. Nice how you chose those particular demographic to appeal to the bleeding heart. I’m glad to see your retired, because law enforcement officer like you give the rest a bad name. Unfortunately, some will not be able to see through your manipulative bullshit, but just know some of us can. And by the way, unless you can emphatically state that you wrote citations for EVERY single violation of any law or ordinance you witnessed in your 30 years, then you are a hypocrite and you owe the officers your stated were “lazy” and apology.

      • RickeyD

        1) Yes, evidence will be presented at trial that approximately 80% of the motorcycles traversing our roadways are illegally equipped and in violation of Arkansas Motor Vehicle and Traffic Law, 27-37-601.
        2) After 31 years in law enforcement, I can generally tell if your exhaust is compliant simply via a visual inspection…if there is a question, one punch of the starter button will confirm compliance or non-compliance.
        3) Yes, read the statements from the World Health Organization, the Environmental Protection Agency, a sundry of medical studies on the Internet will provide all of the substantive evidence you need…and more.
        4) You’re vulgarity and your insolence are indicative of one who is desperately seeking justification for his illegal, intrusive, arrogant, irresponsible, behavior. Remember, the World does NOT revolve around you or your hedonistic desires. Install your legal exhaust, respect others and you will do well!

        Rick Holtsclaw

    • Gerry Alden

      The minor traffic code crimes, under penalty of law, are only complied to by members of the public by a voluntary basis. There is no forced compliance. Little threat of penalty equals little compliance or modification of behavior. Everyone reading this 5news page would agree to trade all high speeding noises past each readers home for every day of the year, for one weekend of another’s traffic-type sound energy entering their ear canals. Why can’t the authorities offer that trade? Surely the effective enforcement model for removing speeding is far advanced over noise control. I’ll tell you why. It is not possible in a system of voluntary compliance.

  • Blake Nunley

    Noise regulations only apply to the bikes from this state. All other bike are to follow the laws of their home state. With many that come from out of state this lawsuit is kinda pointless.

    • RickeyD

      Mr. Nunley is incorrect. If Mr. Nunley wants to be regulated by his States motor vehicle code, Mr. Nunley must remain within “his” States jurisdiction. Once Mr. Nunley crosses the State line into Arkansas, Mr. Nunley and his motor vehicle’s muffler (or the lack thereof) are subject to Arkansas Motor Vehicle and Traffic Law, 27-37-601, which clearly requires that Mr. Nunley’s motor vehicle be equipped with the “factory-installed muffler” or a muffler duplicating the specifications of the “factory-installed muffler.” Mr. Nunley’s motor vehicle, even though registered in another State, does NOT bring with it any form of reciprocity from said State. This is why Mr. Nunley’s has the obligation to “know the laws” of the State he will be entering. Same edicts govern concealed carry laws, criminal statutes codified with the States penal code.

      Rick Holtsclaw, Houston PD/Retired

      • Gerry Alden

        Wrong. The interstate commerce act, must allow the legal configuration of another state to operate across state lines. For the purpose of noise control, a different code violation, (making purposeful noise) can be issued instead of a general muffler code violation

  • Jim Brown

    Arkansas Motorcycle Law
    Road
    Safety Helmet Required by law under age 21
    State Funded Rider Ed Not Available
    Eye Protection Required by law
    Daytime Use of Headlight Required by law-modulating headlight permitted
    Passenger Seat Required if carrying a passenger
    Passenger Footrest Required if carrying a passenger
    Passenger Age Restriction Prohibits passengers under age 8.
    Helmet Speakers No Restrictions
    Periodic Safety Inspection “Random” – Subject to Law Enforcement Road Side Inspection.
    Mirror Left(L) Right(R) One required by law
    Radar Detector No Restriction
    Turn Signals Not Required
    Muffler No acoustical criteria.
    Maximum Sound Level No acoustical criteria.

    • RickeyD

      Jim, you’ve fallen victim to another spurious site that I’ve tried to correct for a year or two. I’ll repeat myself though I’ve related this information numerous times.

      Arkansas Motor Vehicle and Traffic Law, 27-37-601, requires every motor vehicle operated upon the roadways of Arkansas to be equipped with the “factory-installed muffler” or a muffler duplicating/conforming to the specifications of the “factory-installed muffler.” Jim, the genesis of the “factory-installed muffler” is the Code of Federal Regulations as per the Environmental Protection Agency which clearly restricts 1986 year model motorcycles forward to a “total” motorcycle noise limitation of 80 dB(A).

      Now Jim, this is “total” motorcycle noise meaning that a sample make and model motorcycle seeking compliance through the EPA is tested via a very strict, scientifically controlled testing procedure as per the EPA mandate. That motorcycle is tested at full-throttle between two designated points and the “total” motorcycle noise emissions is measured at 49.2 feet on each side of the bike. Total motorcycle noise emissions cannot exceed 80 dB(A)…that’s measuring every constituent element, every moving part in its totality.

      Jim, imagine how quiet that compliant muffler must be in order to dampen engine acoustics to a point where total emissions does not exceed 80 dB(A). Why does the EPA restrict street motorcycles to 80 dB(A)? Because after extensive testing and input from the medical and related science community, 80 dB(A) has been determined to be the the “minimum” safe level of motorcycle noise emissions for the general public.

      Once the motorcycle passes the 80 dB(A) compliancy standard, the muffler for that make and model is permanently embossed “in a readily visible location” with an EPA stamp that designates the make and model of the motorcycle that particular muffler is designed for and it clearly articulates the fact that the muffler meets the 80 dB(A) emissions requirements of the EPA. The another label is placed on the down-tube of the motorcycles frame that indicates at what RPM that particular motorcycle reaches the 80 dB(A) limit.

      Back to Arkansas’ muffler law that requires the factory-installed muffler. Why? Because the Arkansas State Legislature, concerned about the health and welfare of the citizens of Arkansas, restricted motorcycle mufflers to the EPA’s mandated “minimum” safe level of emissions. A fantastic muffler law that uses the OEM-Factory muffler as the “objective” standard for enforcement. Simply excellent, easily enforceable, no sound meter required. Arkansas’ Law Enforcement community has absolutely NO excuse for their apathy, nonfeasance and failure to intercede on behalf of the citizens of Arkansas and STOP the vehicular NOISE nonsense in this State!

      Jim, never trust those biker sites advertising state-by-state compliancy standards…they’re far too often incorrect, especially in the area of acoustical requirements.

      Rick Holtsclaw, Houston PD/Retired

      • Gerry Alden

        The Arkansas general muffler code is not unique. All states codify by a concept of working mufflers that must not result in excessive or unusual noises over what the factory design was intended to produce. Every state uses the Federal code as a starting point for what is “standard”. The big secret that noise control zealots refuse to leak out, is that all highway motorcycle testing prototypes entered into U.S. Commerce and their exact production clones, are not purposely produced to measure the 80 dB(A) limit, or even close to it. The sound engineers for these regulated products, build in an extra quiet buffer of sound, well under 80, to offer customers a wanted feature. This modification feature provides the benefit of a more aggressive exhaust note, and overall highway operation on a public way with a legally raised standard volume. The increase is calculated for a standard motorcycle/engine attached to the non-standard sound mitigating device. The trouble is, any number of non-standard engine/motorcycle constituent components to the overall noise control configuration can significantly raise the operation volume above standard, and above the legal modification standard. Note this new “over the limit” state, may exhibit all of the stampings, and legal device attachments by visual inspection, neutering effective enforcement efforts designed to chase wrong devices. Every state’s code by definition, takes into consideration that these regulated products may operate within the state code when found operating with raised standard volumes. Our State’s Commander of the Traffic Division at Public Safety, defines operation with raised standard volumes by factory approved devices, as “close sounding” and legal for passing the Class C exhaust system examination for a sticker and for an infield road side examination, even if the technical definition of the general muffler law does not allow modification with the result of raising a volume, by a known device designed to fit a standard motorcycle doing just that.

        Has any written work by Rick Holtsclaw introduced this commonly found factory concept? Surely the general muffler code for Arkansas takes into consideration the ability to operate with raised standard volumes, by a legal fashion, under federal law cfr40part205-162-2. Ask yourself why he hides this fact, and then ask yourself if you can trust a person who attempts to hide the obvious. To rid the din in your area, we need to trust leaders, and have proper leadership.

        Anti-noise control zealots, don’t want you to know that the EPA mandates don’t produce products that measure 80 dB(A) limit. They don’t want you to understand that it is the manufacturer who ultimately limits the total noise output of these products, by their purposeful design (albeit within the parameters of the code). A Harley Davidson sound engineer and attorney confirmed this company policy during Maine’s Working Group on Motorcycle Noise investigative session under legislative law. HD’s catalog after-market exhaust significantly raise operation volumes, outside the definition of the State’s code, but meets or exceeds a state of road legal configuration by the enforcement authorities. The zealots want you to believe that any non-standard state is definition of operation with raised standard volumes and outside the law. Nothing can be further from the truth. These failed anti-noise efforts will result in harm to the public. Every area of the country that has tried that approach has resulted in relaxed enforcement and louder operation with less chance to be subject to penalty under law. California’s revised “label law” is a great example of total failure.

        My intent is to educate for the purpose of creating better traffic soundscapes.

  • Don Scott

    Can the local authorities give a permit “exclusion” to doing meth, or riding intoxicated, or stealing beer from the local market when these events take place? If the bikers want to party, shouldn’t they be allowed some leeway, like is done with the noise from the bikes?

  • RickeyD

    For clarification purposes, Dennis Snows’ “permit” supposedly granting permission for the operation of illegally equipped, illegally loud motorcycles on the public roadways of Arkansas and specifically Fort Smith is only valid between 8am – 12 noon on a specific contained route in Downtown Fort Smith. In order for this “permit” to be valid and applicable, all illegally equipped motorcycles, illegally LOUD motorcycles operating in violation of Arkansas 27-37-601, would have to be trailered into the Downtown Fort Smith area, started and operated only between 8am – Noon on the two days of the rally and these egregiously LOUD motorcycles could only be operated on the designated route around the Garrison Avenue city-center route.

    Once the illegally loud motorcycles have been ridden on the designated route and the Steel Horse Motorcycle Rally completed, the egregiously LOUD motorcycles would have to trailered from the area. No illegal motorcycle operation after Noon and no illegal motorcycle operation outside the designated route articulated on the permit. This is obviously done to protect the health and welfare of the citizens of Fort Smith and the citizens of Arkansas from exposure to the intrusive, illegal, excessive, decibel levels of the illegally equipped motorcycles attending the Steel Horse Motorcycle Rally; after all, the “permit” is issued for exemption from excessive noise violations. Have these “permit” restrictions been adhered to?

    Rick Holtsclaw

  • Gerry Alden

    I’ve read your complaint. What sticks out in my mind, is your purposeful removal of any mention of the number one traffic-soundscape source adversely effecting humans. This 24/7 source is prevalent in the direct area where you live and across your state, under an active professional enforcement policy, yet it’s mention in your wordy complaint is mysteriously neglected. This source, if officially measured, on the Rally day in question, would of had a far greater frequency of individual, excessive noise outputs, then found by visiting powered-two-wheelers. This #1 traffic soundscape source would of occurred in such huge numbers to be physically received and cognitively deduced in error, by most humans as not abnormal, but normal. The source? Excessive, needless and harmfully high sound pressure energy levels, generated by standard light trucks, standard automobiles, and standard heavy trucks operating on a public way, as a direct result of purposely operating these traffic types significantly over the posted speed limit. This largely unenforced noise pollution found in every traffic-soundscape pales in comparison to any other form, because it is produced by huge multiplying factors over minor traffic-types. Speeding increases tire whine noise, air screaming sounds, suspension pounding, mechanical engine noise, and other noise factors found from exponential decibel increases on a single vehicle going to fast.

    The reason for limiting general vehicular traffic velocity in any given area by codification, and the enforcement effort under penalty of law, to protect the speeding code, is to first mitigate accident risks, and then to mitigate known traffic soundscape sources. Traffic makes noise. Faster traveling traffic makes more noise. If we are to complain about lack of enforcement efforts, and temporary permit use over one traffic-type by our local authorities, because of it’s adverse effects on the public by the excess noise it has proven to generate on one calendar date, and fail to follow up on the largest daily source of noise generated at the roadside that is well known to harm the public 24/7, then our represented interests may not be true. I am very sure a Judge must weigh this factor carefully when considering the merit of your lawsuit.

  • Max Frisson

    Holtsclaw and a commentator below, Larry Deal, are notorious anti-motorcycle carpetbaggers, running around the country spouting their derisive negativity, they are equivalent to the freaks from Westboro Baptist, they troll the nation spewing hate and distortions. Their current campaign is to threaten communities that benefit from motorcycle events with legal action like this one.
    RickeyD is a disgraced cop, run out of HPD because of his obsessive hate of motorcycles.

  • Earl Nicholas

    Really we have A President who is flooding the United States with illegals and terrorists and taking race relations back to the 60’s and here is this whiney assed retired Texas cop bitching about loud motorcycles. If it bothers him so much about loud motorcycles in Arkansas take his pansie ass back to Texas and quit whining.

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