PHOENIX – Carefree has posted signs threatening recreational motorcycle riders with $750 fines if their bikes make too much noise.
The signs went up Monday despite neighboring Cave Creek's protests that the signs are discriminatory.
Local bikers oppose the signs and the fines, which previously were only $50.
However, motorcycle manufacturers generally applauded Carefree's efforts to get bikers to ride responsibly.
The signs are part of a program Carefree launched to encourage bikers to throttle down as they ride through Carefree on their way to popular biker bars in Cave Creek. Bikers must ride through Carefree to get to Cave Creek.
The program emphasizes education as well as consequences.
Carefree also plans to spend $250,000 for increased law enforcement with the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office.
The maximum number of decibels allowed is 80, down 5 decibels from the town's 2002 noise ordinance. Eighty decibels is slightly quieter than a kitchen garbage disposal.
Carefree Councilman Bob Coady estimated that only 10 percent of bikers cause problems, but there are so many bikers coming into Cave Creek on the weekends during the cooler months that the noise is unbearable.
At the Nov. 8 Carefree Town Council meeting, resident Mike Beck said many of his neighbors are so fed up they want to sell their homes, but it is too noisy to even show them.
Rebecca Bortner, spokeswoman for the Harley-Davidson Motor Co. in Milwaukee, said the industry is keeping an eye on Carefree's program, particularly the educational aspects in which the community is reaching out to bikers.
"It's a cool model," Bortner said. "We support the effort and are interested in the resolution."
Jen Dreis, media administrator for the Motorcycle Industry Council, said her national organization is considering giving Carefree a grant to carry out its sound reduction campaign.
Carefree had hoped Cave Creek also would post signs, but Cave Creek Town Manager Usama Abujbarah refused.
Critics have accused Cave Creek of protecting bikers because of the huge amount of revenue they generate for that town.
"That's not it," Abujbarah said. "It's about not discriminating against people."