Muffler Enforcement Kicks Up its Own Noise


A weekend crackdown on excessively loud cars and motorcycles elicited 2,000 comments on the Laguna Beach police department Facebook page, many of them criticizing the use of police resources.

As a result of the Saturday, May 12, detail, police issued citations to 26 of 45 motorcyclists which were stopped and 21 of 24 motorists in cars which were pulled over for excessive noise, Sgt. Jim Cota said.

Citations generally require a motorist to pay a fine which is determined by the court, not by the police department. The police department does not generate revenue as a result of issuing these citations, Cota said.

“We hope to encourage those who drive through Laguna Beach to be respectful of the community and to not intentionally create excessive noise by revving their engines,” said Cota. “This enforcement effort is what the Laguna Beach citizens and City Council want from the PD.”

The enforcement effort follows Council member Toni Iseman’s request to tamp down on loud vehicle noise in the wake of noise complaints she’s received from visitors and merchants over a motorcycle group’s recent ride through town.

Asked if she also received feedback about enforcement, she said, “no one has complained to me. So many people are happy. Who would complain about enforcement but Harley guys and the $300,000 car club?”

Iseman seemed unmoved by the volume of criticism voiced online. “How many do you think are Laguna residents? 10?”

Cota echoed her sentiments. “We have received numerous supporting emails and calls because of the enforcement and they are happy we are taking their complaints seriously,” said Cota, who noted nearby cities intersected by Coast Highway wrestle with similar complaints because the road is a popular recreational drive.

Reader Bret Davis questioned at what decibel level a violation occurs. “Sad they decided to target and attack instead of educating residents and visitors,” he said.

An online reader Niccathome questioned a police warning to motorists at the city limits about entering a “quiet zone” when she often encounters people yelling obscenities in a public park. That experience, she said, “is far more caustic than motorcycles.”

Cota said officers cited based on observation and were not equipped with decibel meters. “The enforcement was aimed at those individuals who intentionally modify their exhaust so that it is loud or those who have a legal exhaust, but intentionally create excessive or unusual noise by revving their engines to create noise,” he said.

He denied that Harley style motorcycles or sports cars are being targeted. “We welcome everyone to Laguna Beach, but are asking that motorists drive responsibly, keeping in mind that the noise from vehicles echo throughout the community.”

Sunday, May 13

Traffic stop. Agate St. 1:57 a.m. An Aliso Viejo woman was cited for DUI.

Traffic stop. 20600 block of Laguna Canyon Rd. 2:46 a.m. A 22-year-old Aliso Viejo woman was cited for DUI.

Traffic collision. Laguna Canyon Road. 11:03 a.m. A car that fled from police and collided with two other vehicles evaded authorities in a high-speed chase. The pursuit involved three law enforcement agencies across several freeways. The driver was not caught, though his passengers were, and the motorist could face multiple charges, police said.

Saturday, May 12

Traffic stop. Crescent Bay. 12:04 a.m. A 59-year-old Missouri man was cited for DUI and treated for a head cut. No details about how he was injured were available.

Attempted burglary. 2900 block of Alexander Rd. 9:46 a.m. A rear sliding door was shattered by someone attempting entry.

Warrant service. 800 block of Glenneyre St. Donald Jones, 38, was arrested for a Wyoming warrant.

Friday, May 11

Traffic stop. State Hwy 1 at Niguel Rd. 1:07 a.m. A 34-year-old Capistrano Beach man was cited for DUI.

Trespassing. 31800 block of Coast Hwy. 1:15 p.m. Alexandra Lujan, 19, of La Puente, was arrested for suspicion of burglary, carrying a knife and trespassing after she allegedly entered two homes.

Thursday, May 10

Burglary. 1000 block of Oro St. 1:18 p.m. A resident who returned after a week of vacation found a front door lock gone, but nothing missing inside.

Reckless driving. Laguna Canyon Rd. 3:22 p.m. A 52-year-old Costa Mesa man was arrested for DUI after a witness described a swerving car.

Theft. 500 block Park Ave. 4:24 p.m. Someone stole a $100 flower arrangement delivered and left on a front porch.

Traffic collision. S. Coast Hwy. 4:43 p.m. A driver escaped injury following a collision that sparked a vehicle fire within brush near the southbound State Route 73 off ramp. The fire was quickly contained and outbound traffic was diverted to El Toro Road for two hours.


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  1. I am a Laguna Beach resident and am opposed to using police resources to enforce rules about various resident’s idiosyncratic pet peeves. While there is a lot to like about Laguna Beach, the complainer-centric culture fostered by the local government is not one of them. From something as silly as the smoking ban to more serious problems like the nightmarish process of building/fixing a house in Laguna Beach, a lot of this seems to be driven by the city council tripping over themselves to appease the loudest complainers/whiners in town. For my part, I think Laguna Beach would be a lot nicer place if people would relax and take a more ‘live and let live’ attitude toward their neighbors and the visitors who keep our town’s economy running. I see no reason to flip out over the occasional motorcycle rider, who enjoys the engine rumble of yesteryear as he/she takes a Saturday cruise down PCH. Live and let live.

  2. Thank you for caring about the citizenry in your area and protecting our most innocent from those who seek to selfishly and irresponsibility abuse our most innocent by illegally modifying their motorcycle by either tampering with the quiet, legal OEM, EPA approved muffler or by replacing same with an illegal aftermarket exhaust (NOT FOR ROAD USE) that emits in multiples (logarithmic scale) the legal, total, safe motorcycle noise emissions of 80 dB(A). This illegal behavior is pandemic within the United States yet our law enforcement community is too participatory in the illegal conduct off-duty to enforce the law while our elected officials prostitute themselves with the LOUD bully-bikers for revenue.

    Thank you,

    Rick Holtsclaw, Houston PD/Retired
    Concerned Citizens Against Loud Motorcycles – Facebook


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