Release 09-74
August 31, 2009

    Gennet Paauwe
(916) 322-2990
South state motorcycle dealers pay $180,000 in penalties
Illegal sales put public health and safety at risk

SACRAMENTO -- The California Air Resources Board last month fined two San Diego-area motorcycle dealers $180,000 for illegal sales.

In 2006, ARB enforcement officers got an anonymous tip that San Diego-based GP Motorcycles and Moto Forza of Escondido, Calif., were illegally selling Husqvarna off-road motorcycles as on-road models. ARB investigators confirmed the allegations and took action.

"Companies that deliberately flout the law are often assessed higher penalties," said ARB Chairman Mary D. Nichols. "Playing by the rules from the start is the most cost-effective, smart business plan any company can follow."

GP Motorcycles and Moto Forza sold several dozen off-road motorcycles to customers who thought they were purchasing on-road models. Many of the bikes were outfitted with so-called "street-legal" kits and licensed for on-road use, both illegal in California.

ARB revoked all the on-road licenses and registrations for the illegal bikes sold by GP Motorcycles and Moto Forza. The motorcycle owners were permitted to return their license plates to the Dept. of Motor Vehicles for the appropriate off-road riding stickers and plates.

Off-highway vehicles do not meet federal motor vehicle safety standards -- or ARB's emission standards -- required of on-road motorcycles. There are no street-legal kits or conversions that make an off-road motorcycle legal for on-road use or registration. A motorcycle is either certified by ARB for on-road use or off-road use.

California's air pollution control efforts include regulating emissions from cars, trucks, buses and motorcycles. Smog can damage lungs, cause coughing and chest tightness, and worsen asthma symptoms while also affecting crop yields.

The Air Resources Board is a department of the California Environmental Protection Agency. ARB's mission is to promote and protect public health, welfare, and ecological resources through effective reduction of air pollutants while recognizing and considering effects on the economy. The ARB oversees all air pollution control efforts in California to attain and maintain health based air quality standards.

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