Wednesday, January 7th 2009, 6:25 PM
The confiscation provision in a City Council bill drew a backlash of protest e-mails from motorcyclists and biker advocacy groups to the City Council members sponsoring it.
After the Daily News published an article on the bill last month, scores of bikers complained they were being singled out for harsh punishment. Why should motorcycles be seized for making noise, while cars and trucks are not, they asked.
The bikers picked up a potent ally in Councilman Leroy Comrie (D-Queens), the deputy majority leader, who pushed for changes in the legislation.
He said that most motorcyclists are law-abiding and shouldn't be penalized for the too-noisy few.
Comrie and Councilman Peter Vallone Jr. (D-Queens), whose Public Safety Committee has jurisdiction over the bill, said Tuesday that Council lawyers and staffers have conferred on the bill with motorcycle activists.
The bike confiscation provision is likely to be changed to make it applicable only after a third violation, rather than after a second, as in the original bill, said Vallone.
A vote had been expected this week, but it has now put off until a final version of the bill is produced and another public hearing is held, according to Vallone.
Backers of the original bill said many New Yorkers are fed up with improperly muffled motorcycles that disregard the 80-decibel limit in the city's noise code.
They said current enforcement methods haven't worked because they require cops to be present to hear the noise or to monitor it with noise meters.
Also, police officials testified that chasing noisy motorcycles poses public safety problems.
The bill would have allowed cops to ticket a stopped or parked motorcycle if it didn't bear a tag stating it meets noise-control standards set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
Motorcycles made after 1986 are required to bear the appropriate EPA tags at time of sale, and replacements parts are also required to have the right EPA tags.
Bikers contend that not all manufacturers use the EPA tags.
They also assert that loud pipes help save lives - theirs and those of other motorists and pedestrians.