The Arizona Department of Environmental Quality recently asked Federal authorities to drop motorcycles from emissions testing, claiming that testing motorcycles is too much trouble for what little cleaner air they get out of it.
Contrast that to earlier this summer, when a California legislator introduced a bill to require smog testing on motorcycles, claiming that too many motorcycle owners were modifying their exhaust systems.
How could one state try to drop smog testing for motorcycles, while a neighboring state try to implement it?
It's about the perception of motorcycles.
In Arizona, motorcycles are accepted as a part of their culture. In California, they're seen as a status symbol. The $20K Harley is more of a rich guy's toy than it is a culture or a form of transportation. And way too many legislators in California are taking aim at people who can afford this kind of freedom.
One green blogger even went so far as to take pleasure with the thought of wealthy motorcycle owners being forced to make their bikes more politically correct...
We're not convinced the Hell's Angels will take to the new laws. But we suspect upper-income California professionals who've carefully cultivated a faux outlaw image after buying a "midlife crisis bike" will grumble, and then in the end, comply.
Which suggests his support for motorcycle smog testing has more to do with his disdain for people who express their freedom so freely, than it is about cleaner air.
Yet Arizona found that even when they forced motorcycle owners to bring their bikes up to spec with the exhaust standards, it still had no positive effect on air quality.
Both California and Arizona are states with a higher concentration of motorcycles, but with contrasting views. Arizona still seems to govern with common sense, while California continues to burden itself with ideology.
The funny is that in the end, that California legislator was forced to rewrite her bill, after Governor Schwarzenegger announced he would not sign such a bill, noting himself as a Harley rider.