Thursday, May 5, 2016

OP ED - OHV Sound Compliance Paints Bright Future for Motorized Recreation

Chris Real Administers SAE J1287 at NOHVCC Workshop


I believe agency adoption of the SAE J1287 20 inch sound test @ 96dBA for OHVs is the single most important factor in the land-use equation as it relates to sustainable motorized recreation on public lands.

QWR/D36 Sound Tech Station @ 2016 Fools Gold Enduro

As a member of the 2002 California State Park OHV Sound Working Group, I commend that diverse interest group (which included representatives from the OHV Industry, motorized organizations, environmental groups, land agencies, and the Off-Highway Motor Vehicle Recreation Division) that came together to address the number one user complaint at the time which was excessively loud OHVs.

OHV Sound Education Day @ Carnegie SVRA
(circa 2003)

 That collaborative effort laid the foundation for eventual enactment of the 2003 California Sound Law which adopted the SAE J1287 20 inch sound test @ 96dBA for OHVs.

2003 CA OHV Sound Law

While working the sound/spark arrestor tech station at the 2016 Fools Gold Enduro, I discussed the progress made over the last 13 years on the “sound issue” with AMA District 36’s sound guru, Ed Santin.

Agency Staff Practice SAE J1287
2014 OHV Workshop - Foresthill OHV Area - Tahoe NF

Both of us agreed the OHV community has largely embraced a “quiet ethic” when operating a motorized vehicle on State Park, Forest Service, and BLM lands in California.  This has resulted in the “loud OHV” complaint being reduced to a non-issue in California and other states that have adopted a reasonable sound law.

Our collective success can be attributed to the following factors; OEMs producing high quality sound compliant exhaust systems, outreach by land management agencies, peer pressure, law enforcement, OHV sound education/tech at events, training of certified personnel, and availability of sound compliant aftermarket mufflers.

Quest Type 1 Law Enforcement Grade Sound Meter

In closing, I must give credit to Chris Real who is the go-to-guy when it comes to OHV sound technology and who also certifies both civilian and agency personnel to administer the SAE J1287 Sound Test.

Sound Certification for Don Amador

I also want to thank the dedicated trail advocates, FS, BLM, and State Park staff that I have had the privilege to work with over the last 18 years on sound compliance issues and application of the SAE J1287 Sound Test.


Lastly, I want to thank all my sponsors and supporters who have helped me develop my skill-set in the field of OHV sound.  I think the OHV community has a lot to be proud of.  The work we have done to address what once was the number one complaint against OHV is a major factor in helping create a positive future for motorized recreation in the 21st Century.

Don Amador is President of Quiet Warrior Racing/Consulting.  Don is also a contractor to the BlueRibbon Coalition and serves as their Western Representative.  Don writes from his office in Oakley, CA.  Don may be reached via email at:

1 comment:

  1. This does help us when we meet with State Senators and Assembly Members who have no clue such activity takes place...........
    AMA District 36 LAO Program............