ROME- The Oneida County Sheriff’s Office and the New York State Forest Rangers patrolled the Oneida County snowmobile trails Saturday afternoon. Most riders thought officers would be out looking for updated registrations and drinking and riding. However, on Saturday, they extended their range of discipline to not only registrations and looking for intoxicated riders, but also, loud mufflers.
“Today we are particularly looking for the loudness of mufflers on these sleds,” said Deputy Rob Snider, of The Oneida County Sheriff’s Office. “Last year in this area we had issues with loud exhausts and riders modifying them.”
Snider said that any modifications to a muffler on a snowmobile are illegal and are subjected to get ticketed. According to the Sheriff’s department last year the loudness of modified snowmobile mufflers indirectly cost a Rome snowmobile club $10,000.
“Because of the loudness, property owners complained of the loud exhausts,” said Snider. “They closed trails and the club had to relocate the trails and the next thing you knew it was a $10,000 move.”
On Saturday, the Oneida County Sheriff’s Office and the Forest Rangers wrote several tickets for loud exhausts. One rider from the Finger Lakes was stopped for a loud exhaust and was not too thrilled.
“I think they are just picking on us,” said Paul Moberg, of the Finger Lakes. “We spend so much money on this sport and they just come out here on the weekends and harass us.”
The way the Oneida County Sheriff’s Officer checks for the loudness of mufflers is by using a decibel reader. The officer stands twelve feet to the side of the sled while the rider throttles the engine.
“We take a measurement while they throttle their snowmobile to 2500 rpms,” said Snider. “At 2500 rpms if it is over 82 decibels then it is too loud and they are subjected to a ticket for that.”
Now, for the Oneida County Sheriff’s Office they are trying to make today an educational experience.
“You know we’re trying to take an educational approach to this and teach people the rules,” said Sheriff Rob Maciol. “At the end of the day it is our job to keep the people safe.”
The Sheriff’s Office also encourages all riders to take a snowmobile safety class. The next class offered is on February 17th at Vineall Ambulance.