Right now, there is a conflict taking place all over the country, and it’s putting motorcycles right at the center of the controversy. You see, motorcyclists often choose to put aftermarket exhaust pipes on their bikes. This allows their engines to produce more power, and can sometimes cause the bike to become louder. It is the level of that sound that is causing conflict as many communities don’t appreciate loud bikes. However, many bikers think a loud bike is necessary for safety. Now communities are clashing over this problem, but will technology be able to relieve the concerns of both sides?
Louder Bikes Versus Quiet Communities
In Royal Oak, Michigan a city ordinance was established to crack down on loud motorcycles rumbling through the community. The city’s tenacity in enforcing the ordinance won officials recognition with the “Quiet Hero” award from Noise Free America. But this recognition was short lived. While enforcing the ordinance at the famous Woodward Dream Cruise many riders were chagrinned by the noise checks. These disgruntled riders took the city to court, where they proved that Michigan state law superseded the city’s ordinance.
In Michigan, the law says that over 35 mph, a motorcycle’s maximum noise level is 86 decibels when measured from 50 feet away. Below 35 mph, that limit is 82 decibels. Here in Colorado, we have a similar ordinance which limits bikes manufactured on or after July 1, 1971 and before January 1, 1973 to an 88-decibel noise level from 50 feet of the center lane of travel. At that same distance, every bike built on or after January 1, 1973 is required to not exceed an 86-decibel noise level.
Why Would Communities Want Bikes Quieter Than State Required Levels?
Some believe that the sound of motorcycles is especially disturbing, especially at night. They believe the sound of rumbling engines are a nuisance that serves no purpose, but many motorcyclists would disagree. Motorcycle riders say that the volume of their bike actually helps protect them from inattentive drivers. They also point out that sound deadening in cars are also forcing them to increase the volume of their machines just to be noticed.
Unfortunately, this conflict has yet to find a solution, but new technology is on the way that could change that. More companies are developing electric motorcycles, which perform like normal motorcycles but make far less noise. And automakers have started experimenting with inter-vehicle communications that would allow cars to detect motorcycles and initiate anti-collision measures. The only drawback to these potential solutions is that they are still in development, and much of the motorcycling crowd isn’t ready to accept eBikes over current gas burning motorcycles.