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New Bill Targets Motorcycle Owners

Audio

Aired 5/11/09

State lawmakers are considering legislation that would require motorcycles to pass smog checks starting in 2012. State Senator Fran Pavley says motorcycles create greenhouse gasses linked to global warming and owners make the problem worse by altering the engines of their bikes.

State lawmakers are considering legislation that would require motorcycles to pass smog checks starting in 2012.

Steve Shadly reports from Sacramento.

State Senator Fran Pavley is the author of the bill. She says just like cars and trucks...motorcycles create greenhouse gasses linked to global warming. She says a lot of motorcycle owners make the problem worse because they alter the engines of their bikes.

"Not only are they louder...but they emit 14 times more pollutants than a car. And, one of the win wins from this smog check program is that they will check to make sure that the catalytic converter is in place," she says.

Pavley's bill would require a smog check for motorcycles manufactured after the year 2000. She says they'd have to pass a smog test every two years. It would not include mopeds or scooters. The program would start in the year 2012.

Bonnie Holmes-Gen is with the American Lung Association, which is sponsoring the bill. She says besides the health benefits, smog checking motorcycles is a matter of fairness.

"Car owners have been subject to smog checks for 25 years. And, motorcycles have never been checked. Some people think, well there's not enough motorcycles on the road. But, when we look at the actual emissions, about ten-percent of the pollution is from motorcycles," she says.

Don Curtis revs up his Harley Davidson motorcycle outside the Tumblewee Inn in the Sacramento Area. Curtis opposes the legislation. He says it won't do much to clean up the air and he says it's just a way for the state to collect more revenues.

"They're just attacking everything. Where's it going to end up with a guy paying for stuff? Smog checks for everything. Nothing but a big ol' money thing to me ya know," he says.

Curtis says it would be expensive to retrofit his bike to pass a smog test. He says if the measure does pass, many motorcycle owners will fix their exhaust systems to pass the smog check, only to remove it later.

Senator Pavley says she expects the bill to be up for a senate floor vote in a few weeks.

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