Myrtle Beach tweaks noise ordinance affecting motorcycles

Myrtle Beach, SC - MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - The Myrtle Beach City Council agreed to change the city's noise ordinance for motor vehicles Tuesday.

The ordinance was one of 15 new laws city council passed in September of 2008 in an effort to eliminate bike rallies in the city limits.

The ordinance limited motor vehicles to a decibel level of 89 with the engine idle. That is about as loud as a hair dryer. The adjustment pushed that limit to 92 decibels, which is still about as loud a hair dryer on a higher setting. So although it does not really change much, for some it does change perception.

"It's getting it uniform on the national level," explained Mayor John Rhodes. "This is the national standard."

Matching the national standard is the reason the council is making the change Rhodes said. The new level - just three decibels louder - will not make a lot of difference, but Rhodes said the adjustment is in line with the recommendation of the Society of Automotive Engineers and the American Motorcycle Association.

"We have taken the city and shown that we want to cooperate with what is recommended by their associations," Rhodes said.

Denise Triece at Myrtle Beach Harley-Davidson said she likes the idea of bringing the city in line with the national recommendation. While it is not a big change she said it could send a more positive message.

"If it's been researched and that's what the national level is and what people are doing, it makes sense," Triece said. "I think it will make the motorcycle community feel a little bit more at ease, knowing that the Myrtle Beach area does want their business and they want to work with them. You know, we just have to work within the ordinances and work together."

Mayor Rhodes said bikers who adjusted to and followed the new ordinances were always welcomed. He pointed out the change will not motorcycles to be very much louder in the city.

"It's not saying you can have straight pipes and come through the city, no, or whether it's on a motorcycle or it's loud Hollywoods or straight pipes on a vehicle, such as a truck or a car," Rhodes said.

The ordinance applies to all motor vehicles, but most normal cars and trucks would not approach 89 decibels.

Although city council agreed to the noise ordinance change Tuesday, it will not take effect until council gives it final approval at a second reading.

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