Germany and Switzerland crack down on motorcycle noise

Photo credit: Mia & Steve Mestdagh licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

by David M. Sykes, Vice Chair, The Quiet Coalition

Want to incite some really nasty mobs in American cities? Try banning motorcycle noise as they’re doing in Germany and Switzerland. No noise above 95 dB with perpetrators spotted and fined based on evidence from roadway-mounted microphones & cameras.

If you think the NRA is virulent about 2nd Amendment rights, just wait until you see flash mobs of bikers demanding their right to “freedom of speech”—i.e., their presumed “right” to make as much noise as they want.

David Sykes chairs several professional organizations in acoustical science: QCI Healthcare Acoustics Project, ANSI Committee S12-WG44, the Rothschild Foundation Task Force on Acoustics, and the FGI Acoustics Committee. He is lead author of “Sound & Vibration 2.0” (Springer, 2012), a contributor to the NAE’s “Technology for a Quieter America” and the GSA’s “Sound Matters,” and co-founded the Laboratory for Advanced Research in Acoustics at Rensselaer Polytech. A graduate of UC-Berkeley with advanced degrees from Cornell, he is a frequent organizer of professional conferences in the U.S., Europe, Asia and the Middle East.

Comments (2)

  1. Steve Orfield

    This is why we helped Harley silence their bikes for Europe in 1991. They had no choice, so we did a sound quality study with 32 bikers to measure their pre-verbal response to noise, and we defined the sound of power, excitement, quality and expense, and got rid of lots of noise that the riders thought they liked but really didn’t

    1. David M. Sykes

      Hi Steve, thanks for this update. We’re betting the growing interest in electric motorcycles among GenX&Y (which Harley is pursuing too) together with Boomers aging out of the market, will produce the kind of road-way quiet that we’re all looking forward to enjoying someday!



Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *