Updates on: Look Before You Left and the S.L.E.E.P. Act

By Steve Kantor

Welcome to “Riding Weather”! Remember that during the poor weather months there have not been as many of us out on the roads and therefore, the cages are not aware as they should be of our presence. Therefore, it is especially important to be vigilant over the next several weeks as they reacclimate themselves to having to share the road with motorcycles. During awareness month it is especially important that drivers “look before they left”. In my 32-years with The Kantor Law Firm, over 75% of the motorcycle collisions that my office has been involved with include an inattentive driver turning left into the path of motorcyclist. Therefore, The Kantor Law Firm has put its foot down and over the past several weeks have been attempting to raise awareness to “look before you left”. We are actively lobbying the NYS Legislature to assist us in passing the Creto-Kade’s Law and S62021 and A7032 which will penalize inattentive drivers and increase the awareness of the presence of motorcyclists. If you would like to support this effort, please sign our online petition. I know that the motorcycling community completely supports raising awareness and it is critical that our voice be heard in Albany. There is strength in numbers and the more signatures we get on the petitions the better. The Kantor Law Firm aggressively fights for injury victims, and we are bringing that passion and dedication to making this law a reality.

Interesting enough while we are trying to increase awareness of motorcycles, somehow the S.L.E.E.P. Act was passed which outlaws’ loud pipes. We warned about this in our December Hard Tales Article, but now that the law has gone into effect, many people have contacted me to see what they can do about it. To summarize, effective April 1, 2022, the Vehicle and Traffic Law was amended in relation to exhaust equipment violation and penalties. Essentially it is a violation to sell, offer for sale, install, or modify a motor vehicle muffler or exhaust system including any component or device thereof, if it causes the exhaust noise to be louder than the original equipment muffler and exhaust system. This is causing many motorcycle shops to be concerned that they will be unable to inspect vehicles whose original pipes have been replaced.

a judge's gavel with two books

Although we disagree with this law, we cannot simply go into Court and argue that it should be repealed. In order to properly present a case in Court, you need to have “standing”. To have standing means that you have been harmed and are seeking to address the harm through the Court system. Therefore, until a motorcyclist is ticketed for loud pipes, or a motorcycle shop is ticketed for inspecting a vehicle with loud pipes, they do not have “standing” to complain about the law. The Kantor Law Firm is carefully watching this issue and if you are adversely affected and therefore obtain standing, please let us know, we would be happy to discuss representing you to fight the constitutionality of the S.L.E.E.P. Act.  

Give credit where credit is due, fellow attorney, and longtime friend Chuck Swanekamp, pointed out that the S.L.E.E.P. Act may also be a violation of the Constitution that no law shall be made “ex post facto”. Translated into English, that means that it is illegal to retroactively change the legal consequences of actions that were committed or existed before the enactment of the law. Therefore, if you had pipes installed on your bike, before the law was passed, you should not be required to remove them and at a minimum should be grandfathered in.

Lastly, now that riding season has begun, The Kantor Law Firm will be out and about. Please stop by and speak with Chris, Christina or I to discuss motorcycle safety.

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