New England Noise Crusade

July 20, 2009

All Posts, News

It is noise pollution season. Neurotics nationwide are blaming your bad motorcycle for their unhappy lives. It happens every summer. And, it wouldn’t be so bad except summer after summer more and more of the neurotics turn out to be politicians and cops.

A couple of recent stories from New England illustrate this dismal trend.

Cradle Of Liberty

Last month Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino signed a new city ordinance that basically outlaws aftermarket pipes. The law specifically outlaws motorcycles that are louder than 82 decibels at 45 miles an hour or that are ever louder than 86 decibels. Riding a bike louder than that wins you a $300 fine.

The new law was proposed by City Councilor Salvatore LaMattina who represents Boston’s priciest neighborhood, Beacon Hill. The average price of a home on Beacon Hill is $731 per square foot. A parking space on Beacon Hill recently sold for $250,000. Few bikers live there. Mostly, bikers only pass through.

`The $300 fine, LaMattina told the Boston Globe, is designed to punish bikers who replace their factory exhausts. “If you abide by EPA rules, you’re fine,” he told the Globe. “It’s the after-market [exhausts] we’re after. They’re the ones causing the problems.” He added that Boston’s top cops have assured him that they will enforce the new law.

Well, Isn’t It Your Car Alarm

A Beacon Hill resident named John Bowman told the Globe that motorcycles are “acoustic terrorism…. When they rev their engines, it’s loud enough to set off car alarms,” he said. “Any way to curb that behavior is a step in the right direction.”

Portsmouth, New Hampshire, about 40 miles north of Boston may have just taken the next step in that direction.

A local cop named Sergeant Darrin Sargent – yes, he really is Sergeant Sargent, just like Major Major in Catch 22 – thinks motorcycles “are a real nuisance.” Much as I, and possibly you, think cops are a real nuisance. Except we do not have a grant funded by our state with which we may pursue our prejudices. Sergeant Sargent does have such a grant.

Noise Compliance Checkpoints

In May, that state grant allowed cops from eight different police forces to hold a conference to explore innovative ways to harass motorcyclists about the noise of their bikes. The winning idea from that brain storming session became last Friday’s noise compliance checkpoint.

Every bike passing through downtown Portsmouth was stopped. Bikes that might have sounded too loud or that were ridden by someone who looked untrustworthy or suspicious or possibly too hairy to be a real American were directed to a separate area where the noise levels of their exhausts were checked by highly trained noise police.

No bikers were ticketed. Just harassed. “Today, it is really about education,” Sergeant Sargent said.

Yeah. Education. Who can argue with education? When does it get to be about freedom?

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4 Responses to “New England Noise Crusade”

  1. YYZ Skinhead Says:

    I drive a cage because I have no bike as of yet. I always give bikers a lot of space because they are exposed on two wheels, and I am on four wheels enclosed in something that may weigh ten times as much as a bike. When I hear loud pipes I know to give a biker more space even if I cannot see him at that instant. LOUD PIPES SAVE LIVES.

    YYZ Skinhead

  2. squirts Says:

    I have to admit I use to rap my pipes in a parking lot and grin when the car alarms wailed… Now a little older and maybe (?) a little smarter, I no longer get my kicks by kickin’ up the noise. I understand that ALL bikers, not just 1%ers or clubbers, are under the gun right now. My current ride has nice, minimally baffled pipes and I am very aware of the sound they make, to the point of idling down my street and in parking lots. Rode into a Wally World yesterday… Momma with a cart full of kids about plotzed when I idled in. I stopped, waved her and the cart o’ kids across and was dismayed when the littlest of her rug rats immediately squinched up her face and covered her ears. Man! I’ll hate runnin’ quiet pipes, but ya’ know it’s comin’…..

  3. FatBobber Says:

    This is the future – we will be hunted and harassed. All the beach cities in Ca do this already – so when funds are low – and they’re looking for ways to raise them – and the general public don’t care – we’re a target. I see it as 2 sided – there’s dipshits that crank their pipes at 3am – get up to go to work and let the bike idle for 10 minutes with straight pipes. You know what? I don’t like that shit either – I barely sleep as it is. I coast my Thunderheader to the main street before 8am – I coast in late at night – some people are fucking stupid – and we’re all going to pay the price.

  4. dragsta Says:

    my superglide is as loud as they get and i like it that way. i am very conscious however to NOT bust ears. sometimes i will roll my bike out into the parking lot before starting. babies and children especially are sensitive to loud noises. lots of bikers can’t stop revving and blipping the throttle for attention and they don’t care who’s walking behind their bike. because of this, eventually they will come down hard on all of us.

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