The Swarm

Mix it up with The Bee's editorial board.

November 17, 2008
CHP: "Noise is a good thing"
Like some other citizens who cherish their eardrums, I was baffled today to read the response of a California Highway Patrol spokeswoman, Kelly Baraga, when asked about the noise blaring from souped-up motorcycles on the street.

"Sometimes that noise is a good thing," Baraga responded when asked by The Bee's Tony Bizjak about motorcycles with loud aftermarket exhaust systems. "Motorcycles are not as easily seen (as cars), so noise is a way they can notify people they are on the road."

Hmm. By that logic, whenever I ride my bicycle through town, I should yell into a bullhorn.

Perhaps Baraga has not read the California Safety and Health Code, which the CHP is sworn to uphold. The code states that "excessive noise is a serious hazard to the public health and welfare" and it goes on from there... 

DIVISION 28. NOISE CONTROL ACT

CHAPTER 1. FINDINGS, DECLARATIONS, AND INTENT

46000. The Legislature hereby finds and declares that:

(a) Excessive noise is a serious hazard to the public health and welfare.

(b) Exposure to certain levels of noise can result in physiological, psychological, and economic damage.

(c) There is a continuous and increasing bombardment of noise in the urban, suburban, and rural areas.

(d) Government has not taken the steps necessary to provide for the control, abatement, and prevention of unwanted and hazardous noise.

(e) The State of California has a responsibility to protect the health and welfare of its citizens by the control, prevention, and abatement of noise.

(f) All Californians are entitled to a peaceful and quiet environment without the intrusion of noise which may be hazardous to their health or welfare.

(g) It is the policy of the state to provide an environment for all Californians free from noise that jeopardizes their health or welfare. To that end it is the purpose of this division to establish a means for effective coordination of state activities in noise control and to take such action as will be necessary to achieve the purposes of this section.

46001. No provision of this division or ruling of the Office of Noise Control is a limitation or expansion:

(a) On the power of a city, county, or city and county to adopt and enforce additional regulations, not in conflict therewith, imposing further conditions, restrictions, or limitations.

(b) On the power of any city, county, or city and county to declare, prohibit, and abate nuisances.

(c) On the power of the Attorney General, at the request of the office, the state department, or upon his own motion to bring an action in the name of the people of the State of California to enjoin any pollution or nuisance or to protect the natural resources of the state.

(d) On the power of a state agency in the enforcement or administration of any provision of law which it is specifically permitted or required to enforce or administer.

(e) On the right of any person to maintain at any time any appropriate action for relief against any private nuisance as defined in the Civil Code or for relief against any noise pollution.

46002. Nothing in this division shall be construed as giving the Office of Noise Control authority or responsibility for adopting or enforcing noise-emission standards for any product for which a regulation has been, or could be, prescribed or promulgated by the Environmental Protection Agency under the Noise Control Act of 1972.

To read more, go here.

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About The Swarm

The Swarm is written by members of The Sacramento Bee's editorial board. They meet daily and are separate from the newsroom. Views included here are those of individual writers, and do not necessarily reflect those of a majority of the board or the positions expressed in The Bee's editorials.

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