Back in February, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) submitted legislation that would have changed the wording of the law. It would’ve allow the EPA to regulate emissions on production-based track bikes. That meant that motorcycles modified for racing and track use would have needed to meet EPA emissions regulation. Needless to say, there was a massive backlash, and the proposed rule change was dropped. However, that didn’t mean the EPA was done trying to keep you from modifying your motorcycle.
Is The EPA Going to Make Motorcycle Mods Illegal?
There were many who believed that the massive public reaction to the EPA’s attempt to regulate track bikes was an overreaction. Then the EPA announced that Harley-Davidson would be paying a $12 million fine for producing defeat devices. And just like that, the EPA sounded another warning shot over the head of motorcycle modification.
You see, Harley produces an aftermarket device called a “super-tuner”. It allows Harley owners to improve the performance of their motorcycles, but there’s a catch. These tuners can also increase the motorcycle’s emission of nitrogen oxides, just like Volkswagen dieselgate cars. But Harley’s device is a bit different from the VW defeat device.
The super-tuner was offered to motorcycle owners as a performance upgrade, not as a way to trick emissions regulators. Harley even specified that the device is for off-road and racetrack use only, but that didn’t matter to the EPA.
In addition to the $12 million fine, Harley has also been tasked to donate $3 million to help get rid of wood burning stoves in mountain communities. Apparently the wood stove initiative will also help improve air quality. Harley will also be required to buy back their super-tuners from the stores that carry it.
Do you think the EPA is right to fine Harley-Davidson? Or do you think Harley is being used to threaten the manufacturers of racing equipment? Log onto Facebook and Twitter to let us know, and stick with your motorcycling attorneys and our blog for more updates.