"Query a Cop": Muffling those mufflers?

Megan V. Winslow/Town Crier
A local resident wonders whether the city of Los Altos could fine motorcyclists for noisy mufflers. 

“Query a Cop” features readers’ questions fielded by Los Altos police officers.

Q: Aren’t there regulations concerning mufflers on motorcycles and toy Japanese minicars? There seem to be quite a few people running these vehicles apparently with fake decoy mufflers. While riding a bicycle on Foothill Expressway or El Monte Avenue between Foothill and Interstate 280, you could break an eardrum when these nitwits pass (more accurately accelerate) by. Perhaps we could boost Los Altos’ budget by fining these people. We can regulate leaf blowers; what happened to motor vehicles?

– Larry Gagliani

A: There is a vehicle code section that regulates modified or defective mufflers. California Vehicle Code Section 27150(a) requires every motor vehicle subject to registration be equipped with an adequate muffler in constant operation and properly maintained to prevent any excessive or unusual noise, and no muffler or exhaust system shall be equipped with a cutout, bypass or similar device. Officers can and do issue citations when a violation is observed.

– Andy Galea, Los Altos police chief


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