RIVER NORTH — A Downtown alderman is revving up his campaign against noisy motorcycles.
Ald. Brendan Reilly (42nd) has submitted a proposal to ease enforcement and increase maximum fines for violators to $1,000, which he trumpeted in a newsletter emailed to constituents Tuesday.
He called the persistent problem "a major quality-of-life issue" in his River North and Downtown ward.
According to Reilly, "many motorcyclists alter their mufflers to be much louder than legal decibel levels, which contributes to noise pollution throughout Chicago, especially in Downtown Chicago's skyscraper canyons."
But Reilly's ordinance would not necessarily target loud motorcycles, such as Harley-Davidsons, by decibel levels, but instead takes aim at those with altered mufflers.
That approach, he said, allows the City Council to streamline current regulations so local police would not have to work with State Police to issue tickets, as is required now by city law.
The new ordinance enables Chicago cops to issue tickets to motorcyclists with any exhaust pipe "lacking a muffler," which he said "would allow the Chicago Police Department to more easily enforce the law with a simple visual inspection."
Reilly said he has received "hundreds of complaints," especially in warmer months, about the loud bikes. Most recently, at a Downtown community-police meeting in September, Loop and Lakeshore East residents like David Klinger called loud motorcycle noise in the early hours of the night "an ongoing problem" in the neighborhood.
Officer Mary Panick agreed and said the Chicago Police Department's midnight team in the neighborhood was working to address it.
"Once they're on the move on Lake Shore Drive, they will run from the police," Panick said at the September meeting. "We have a new no-pursuit policy on them."
Reilly's new ordinance doesn't address that problem, but instead aims at laws police can enforce.
Reilly introduced the muffler ordinance at last week's City Council meeting, and it was sent to the Committee on Pedestrian and Traffic Safety. It would increase the maximum fine from $100 to $1,000.