Arkansas lawsuit targets loud pipes

Arkansas lawsuit targets loud pipes

Posted by Ben Baker on Feb 12th 2016

It may be that loud pipes save lives, but some people find them annoying.

One of those people is a former law enforcement office in Fort Smith, AR. Rickey Holtsclaw, of Uniontown, AR, is suing Fort Smith Mayor Sandy Sanders and Fort Smith Police Chief Kevin Lindsey, along with Fayetteville Mayor Lioneld Jordan and Fayetteville Police Chief Greg Tabor. The suit was filed in federal court.

Holtsclaw's complaint is linked to last year's Steel Horse Rally and Bikes, Blues and BBQ, but he said the lawsuit is more general. "I have battled and struggled over the past seven-to-eight-years seeking resolutions to the violations of Constitutional protections articulated within this Pleading." The rally enters its second year this year.

Holtsclaw claims city officials are not doing enough to keep the noise down. He says the law requires the city regulate loud pipes.

Reading the lawsuit shows Holtsclaw apparently has something other than loud pipes in mind. He writes in his court filing, "When did common decency, love and respect for one's neighbor and his family, concern for the health and welfare of our children, our elderly, our handicapped - those most physiologically sensitive and susceptible to the injurious effects of the unregulated vehicular noise NONSENSE on our roadways, become irrelevant and secondary to the desires of those individuals obsessed with the Hellish ideology of Moral Relativism, selfishness and the pursuit of hedonism? Were our laws, as a controlling agent relevant to man's base-nature, not codified for our protection and the protection and welfare of our posterity as we, in a civilized society, pursue a good quality of life in which to raise and nurture our children, freely worship our God, honor, love and respect our neighbor in obedience to our Lord's commandments?"

In an interview with a Ft. Smith TV station Holtsclaw said, "These riders are either drilling holes or cutting the baffling out of those mufflers, or they're taking the muffler, removing it, and purchasing a muffler that is labeled for racing, or closed course only. They're affixing it to that motorcycle and they break the law when they go out to a public roadway and operate it."


Steel Horse Rally President Dennis Snow said he got a permit from the Ft. Smith to have excessive noise last year and plans to do the same this year. City codes do allow getting loud with a permit. "Events that occur only on an annual or greater interval, (e.g., Arkansas Oklahoma State Fair, Air Show)," are listed as exceptions in the law. Some say the permit is for music at the event and not for vehicles. The city's ordinance is not clear on where the loud sounds have to come from when a loud noise permit is issued..

Event spokesman Joe Giles said some people may be violating local and Arkansas law about loud pipes, but they are few. "The vast majority of motorcycles run stop pipes or run after-market pipes that are well within the legal limits of what can be. There are those, like in every other facet of the world, who find a way to foul things up. But the most of our attendees are not among that faction," he said.

The rally hopes to be an annual event. The next one is Sept. 21-14, 2016.

The lawsuit was received in US District Court Western District of Arkansas on Feb. 4, 2016.