Lack of Mufflers

Automobile MufflerWhy don't you do anything about noisy motorcycles? This is a common question when the weather is good and the Harleys are out in force. It's a good question too, why don't the police do anything about this?

The situation puts me in mind of an excessive noise trial I once watched in traffic court. The presiding Justice of the Peace found the driver guilty and commented "You are not a criminal, you are nothing but a social pest!" This is the category that excessively noisy motorcycle owners are in. It is one of nuisance rather than one of safety. Given a choice between the two, the safety related violations must be a priority for enforcement.

Having said that, nuisances must also receive some attention. The Motor Vehicle Act Regulations do help somewhat in this regard. They state that the opinion of an inspector as to whether the engine and exhaust noise is "greater than that made by other vehicles in good condition of comparable size, horsepower, piston displacement or compression ratio shall determine whether exhaust gases are expelled with excessive noise." This standard is fairly straight forward, wouldn't you think?

Unfortunately, this is not so. In my experience, a conviction for not having a muffler at all is difficult to obtain, and an unnecessary noise conviction based on the opinion of an inspector is virtually impossible. I have never had a civilian witness available to bolster the opinion, and perhaps that is what is missing for a conviction.

What about noise measurements? The 91 dBa limit for motorcycles must enforceable. Again, there are difficulties with this as well. This standard is for testing in an inspection station, and the police are working at the roadside, most often without the benefit of a measuring device.

I still try and deal with the loudest of the loud, but the riders know it is unlikely that they will be convicted and often tell me so at the roadside. I don't have the answer to your complaint yet, but I'm still working on it.

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Comments

Motorcycle noise: too much

It's a tough one. The Harley motorcycle's just make too much noise - when accelerating, of course. We were on the sidewalk outside of a resturant the other evening, enjoying the warm evening, and a Harley goes up the mild-sloped street. We had to stop talking, and a couple of us put our hands over our ears. The noise is too loud, no question about it. I know there is a 'threshold' of sound (xx decibels) that is too much in our society. Harleys go over this -- when accelerating.

As for the "Motorcycles have to be loud so they send out a notice that they are around" argument, that's ridiculous! Maybe bicycles should have constant horns blaring? If you want to be heard, there is a horn.

Well if you can fight them, maybe I should get into the act, buy a Harley, black leather jacket, and drive up and down the streets with lots of jerked throttle - "Sorry neighbours! I can do this because there is no enforcement!"

 

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