A GNA member writes, “We have been able to get SB 5544, making it easier to deal with nuisance noise from recreational riding of ORVs in neighborhoods, to the Rules Committee. We really need your help this week to get the Senators to pull it from Rules and put it on the Senate calendar.”
The increasing recreational riding of loud off-road vehicles (“ORVs”) in rural residential neighborhoods is disrupting the peace and quiet of communities and negatively impacting the health of residents and property values. This legislation allows simple, common sense tools to be available to neighbors and law enforcement officers so that peace and quiet can continue to be available in residential areas.
Interested residents are invited to call or email as many members of the Rules Committee as possible, even if they are not your Senator, and ask them to support SB5544 and move it to the Senate calendar.
The legislative hotline number is 1.800.562.6000.
The Rules Committee page is: http://www.leg.wa.gov/Senate/Committees/RULE/members.htm
There have been misleading statements, from opponents, about what this legislation would and would not do.
What SSB5544 IS about:
▪ reduces the allowable tailpipe decibel (Db) level from 105 to 96 Db – this is the level supported by the industry, most states, and many in the ORV community
▪ makes it an infraction for an ORV to be so noisy as to be plainly audible and disturbing to a reasonable person or in excess of 45 Db within the home and 10 feet around the home
▪ sets escalating fines (starting at $100 and capped at $800) for repeat violations, and
▪ allows limited circumstances for recovery of costs and attorney fees for individuals who bring nuisance lawsuits
2) Codifies the existing law, WAC 173-60, which limits residential noise, at the property line, to 55 Db during the day and 45 Db at night.
3) Protects the health of neighbors from the negative impacts of noise and the bullying behaviors that some ORV riders use because there are no clear standards being enforced
What SSB5544 IS NOT about:
1) This bill does not prohibit ORVs or dirt bikes from riding. It just requires them to be properly muffled and used in a respectful way.
2) This bill does not limit use of ORVs to manage land. This bill exempts the use of ORVs to manage forest and agricultural land.
3) This bill does not prevent the use of home maintenance machinery (the bill does not limit home maintenance machinery such as lawn mowers and chain saws).
4) This bill does not prevent users from loading or unloading machines for use elsewhere (ORVs in residential neighborhoods are exempt from noise standards for brief time periods to service and load and unload for transport).
5) This bill does not prevent use of off-road vehicles in designated or permitted parks or tracks.
* Also referred to as Off-Highway Vehicles (OHVs), quads, All Terrain Vehicles (ATVs) and generally including dirt bikes.