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Letter: Ryder, N.D.: Motorcycle noise hell

Harley-Davidson is attempting to turn Ryder, North Dakota, into a biker-friendly haven. They've even asked the town to change its name to "Rider."

Harley's goal is to make Rider "the first town in America where everyone has a motorcycle license." In reality, Harley-Davidson is seeking to create another Sturgis, South Dakota, where hundreds of thousands of bikers blast away with their illegal bikes for days and party up a storm.

Law enforcement will probably present no problem for Harley-Davidson and the bikers, for they're confident that Mayor Reinisch and the city council will make sure the bikers won't be bothered by the Ward County Sheriff's Office. After all, if Harley-Davidson and Reinisch get their way, "Rider" will be a biker-friendly town. Having the town's police department enforcing noise ordinances and state muffler laws would be bad for biker business. Harley-Davidson has been marketing the distinctive sound of their motorcycles for years. Harley-Davidson may not admit to this, but it encourages their customers to make their Harleys louder by modifying them with its aftermarket engine modification kits and exhaust systems. That can make Harleys emit excessive air pollution as well. Harley-Davidson has recently been heavily fined by the EPA for manufacturing an emission control defeat device and selling it to customers—and even installing it.

Ryder, North Dakota, is a nice quiet town for now. If city officials let Harley-Davidson and the bikers have their way, it will become motorcycle noise hell.

Rueter is the director of Noise Free America: A Coalition to Promote Quiet in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.

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