Posted: Monday, May 4, 2009 | Posted by Chico Brisbane | Labels: , ,

My motorcycle riding experience began and ended at the age of 13 when my friend was trying to teach me how to shift gears. An unfortunate mix-up up between the front brake and the clutch sent both of us flying through the air. I haven’t been on a motorcycle since. Nevertheless, I still have an appretiation for motorcyclist and am always mindful in rush hour traffic to pay exta attention to blind spots. While some folks see motorcycles as a hazard on the highway, people need to realize that every motorcycle on the road takes up less space than a car, and produces only a fraction of pollution compared to cars and SUV's.
So when I bacame aware of California Senate Bill 435, which would require motorcycles to participate in the Smog Check Program, I was shocked. There isn't a single motorcycle that could produce enough carbon dioxcide not to pass a frickin smog check. So why would California legislators force the owners of the most fuel effecient and least smog producing form of transportation to pay for a God Damn smog check? - Answer: Money! - The law makers in this state have run us into the poor house and now they need more money and there gonna try to tap into every source, even if it means forcing citizens to pay for something that don't need to begin with.
This bill turn the most eco-friendly from of transportation into one that is no longer economically viable. Let’s face it! – motorcycle riders create the least amount of pollution and they do so at a greater risk to life and limb that any soccer mom in her 9-passanger mini-van, or even myself in my 4-cycinder Chevy.
Just because you don't ride a motorcycle doesn't mean that this sort of nonsense shouldn't concern you. We can't just let the motorcycle riders fight this battle alone! – It effects all California residents because it's just a matter of time before you'll be paying you're quartly tire rotation inspection fee or some other bright idea these nuckleheads can come up with.
SB 435 is on suspension, but could come back to the floor at any moment. Write to your State Representative and let them know that this law creates more problems than it solves.

Here is a copy of my letter to my state representative.


April 29, 2009

Senator Ron S. Calderon
State Capitol, Room 5066
Sacramento, California 95814

Dear Senator Calderon,

I am writing to you in reference to Senate Bill No. 435: Clean Air Equity Act. Senator Fran Palvey of District 23 authors it. While Senator Palvey has done many wonderful things for her constituents and all Californians, I am afraid that 435 will not be among them and here are my thoughts as to why. As a non-motorcycle owner, I was moved to action by the unfairness of pending legislation.

On April 11, 2007. There was an amendment to AB 829 regarding motorcycle aftermarket and performance parts. The amendment allows aftermarket parts to be sold and installed on motorcycles where the parts have received an exemption via a California Air Resource Board Executive Order. In the course of my researching this issue, I found that the term modify or alteration from the manufacturer’s design, more often than not, refers to the removal of the catalytic converter by motorcycle owners to improve the performance and gas mileage of their motorcycle. Herein lies the basis of my argument. There are existing laws known as California’s anti-tampering law that prohibit the installation, sale, or advertisement of any device, apparatus, or mechanism intended for use with, or as a part of, any motor vehicle pollution control device or system that alters or modifies the original design or performance.

Motorcycles represent less than 2% of the total for all vehicle emission and in California they represent less than 3% of the total number of registered vehicles. It does not make sense to pass a bill that would create a mechanism for inspecting the one type of vehicle that produces the lowest emissions, and yes, including those that have been modified. Therefore if the purpose of the legislation is to have a measurable impact on pollution, focusing on the vehicle type that is the least used and the most eco-friendly, is the wrong direction to go. I traded my 6-cylinder Ford Taurus in for a 4-cylinder Chevrolet Cavalier specifically for the purposes of reducing my carbon footprint.

California motorcycle riders are without question the lowest producers of pollution in the state and they do so at a greater risk to life and limb than other commuters. Don’t let SB 435 punish motorcycles riders by making the most eco-friendly form of transportation into the one that is no longer economically viable. If pollution control is truly the target, then come take a look at my gardeners leaf blower and weed whacker. Pass legislation against that and I’ll be the first one to call the AQMD.


Representative Grace F. Napolitano
1610 Longworth Building
Washington, D.C. 2051