AMA announces 2010 AMA Motorcyclist Of The Year
December 08, 2010
PICKERINGTON, Ohio -- The American Motorcyclist Association (AMA)
announced today its AMA Motorcyclist of the Year. Awarded annually, the
AMA Motorcyclist of the Year designation recognizes the person(s) who
has had the most profound impact on the world of motorcycling, for
better or worse, in the previous 12 months.
For 2010, that distinction belongs to outgoing California Gov. Arnold
Schwarzenegger, whose signature on a controversial law will have
far-reaching and potentially harmful effects on the motorcycling
With no fanfare, Schwarzenegger signed a poorly crafted bill on Sept.
28 that fundamentally changes how California will regulate motorcycle
exhaust systems. The new law also maps a path for the rest of the
country, as other state and local lawmakers look for their own answers
to address excessive motorcycle sound. The full story is in the January
2011 issue of American Motorcyclist magazine, the journal of the AMA.
"Gov. Schwarzenegger signed a piece of legislation that has rocked the
motorcycling world, and will impact motorcyclists in other states as
well for years to come," said AMA President and CEO Rob Dingman. "This
makes him the logical choice for the 2010 AMA Motorcyclist of the Year."
The legislation, California Senate Bill 435, the Motorcycle
Anti-Tampering Act, requires every new motorcycle or aftermarket
exhaust system built starting in 2013 to carry a stamp on the exhaust
certifying that it meets federal Environmental Protection Agency sound
requirements. For most motorcycles, the law is a de-facto OEM (original
equipment manufacturer) exhaust mandate because the federal standard
was not designed for aftermarket manufacturers, and compliance for the
scores of low-volume production models now on the market is extremely
The AMA has long advocated reasonable measures be adopted for the
regulation of excessive motorcycle sound, and cites the Society of
Automotive Engineers J2825 motorcycle sound testing procedure as the
most fair, economical and practical solution to the problem vexing
"The California law is a poorly crafted piece of legislation that's
discriminatory and does little to address the core problem of excessive
sound from all sources, not just motorcycles," Dingman said. "Rather
than objectively regulate offensive noise, this law creates all sorts
of problems for riders, law enforcement and aftermarket manufacturers."
An EPA certification label is no guarantee of sound compliance, and the
lack of a label is no guarantee that an exhaust is too loud. The only
way to know if a motorcycle exhaust is compliant is to test its actual
sound output, Dingman noted.
"As a motorcyclist, Gov. Schwarzenegger should have known better,"
Dingman said. "Now California's motorcyclists, as well as key segments
of our industry, are going to be negatively impacted."
Currently, only two aftermarket manufacturers offer EPA-sound-stamped
exhaust systems for a handful of late-model Harley-Davidsons. The
process of certification is complex and expensive. For the millions of
owners whose motorcycle models were made in relatively small numbers,
the requirement to replace an aging exhaust system with an expensive
OEM system is onerous and discriminatory. Owners of automobiles and
trucks don't have to meet the same standard, and they can buy less
expensive replacement exhaust systems at local muffler shops.
Schwarzenegger's selection as AMA Motorcyclist of the Year was
reinforced by California's position as a role model for the rest of the
"In many cases, we've seen other states follow California's legislative
lead on a number of issues," Dingman said. "There's no reason to think
that trend won't continue with respect to S.B. 435. With the stroke of
his pen, Gov. Schwarzenegger significantly altered the motorcycling
landscape for motorcyclists everywhere, and this is the reason why his
selection as AMA Motorcyclist of the Year is so impactful."
The full story of Schwarzenegger's involvement with motorcycling goes
beyond S.B. 435, and is detailed in the January issue of American
Motorcyclist. Schwarzenegger has, during his tenure, been an ally of
motorcycling with key appointments to decision-making committees that
deal with off-highway riding issues, as an example. In addition, as a
known motorcyclist himself, Schwarzenegger has drawn attention to
motorcycling and, after a high-profile crash in 2006, the need for
proper motorcycle licensing.
"We will continue to work with municipal governments and state
legislatures to implement reasonable measures, such as the SAE J2825
standard, to address excessive motorcycle sound," said Dingman. "But we
now have the added burden of showing how California's new measure is
not an effective solution, and we have Gov. Schwarzenegger to thank for