Tag Archive: motorcycles

Brooklyn Navy Yard gives birth to quiet electric motorcycle

Brooklyn Navy Yard    Photo credit: Dsigman48 licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0

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

Founded in 1801, Brooklyn Navy Yard’s sprawling 350-acre site overlooks Manhattan and has seen a lot of innovation—including construction of the Civil War ironclad, USS Monitor https://brooklynnavyyard.org/about/history. At it’s peak during WWII, the yard employed 70,000 people. But ship building at the Yard ended long ago, and now it’s home to hundreds of innovative enterprises including a movie studio.

Among those companies is a young company called Tarform funded by a California venture-capital firm and conceived by a young New Yorker, via Stockholm, Sweden, named Taras Kravtchouk, an industrial designer who is building an absolutely gorgeous, all-electric motorcycle using sustainable materials. Even the motorcycle’s “leather” seat is made from plant materials, not animal hide, and there’s no conventional plastic either—because he’s found substitutes made from biodegradable, natural materials.

Of course, we’re interested because electric motorcycles do not use petroleum and are extremely quiet—as well as impressively powerful. But this bike is also unbelievably beautiful.

As Karavtchouk say, “[b]eauty is its own form of sustainability; no one want to throw away something gorgeous.”

There are a quite a number of electric motorcycles coming onto the market—including several models from American “hog” manufacturer Harley Davidson, whose company executives are aware that their stalwart customers—Boomers—are aging out of the market and GenX and Millennials are much more interested in quiet, powerful, electric rides. But the new Tarform is a real knockout in the looks department:


We have nothing to gain from praising it but just can’t pass up the opportunity to point it out.

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.

Toronto cracks down on noisy cars and motorcycles

Photo credit: alyssa BLACk licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

Toronto police have launched an Awareness and Enforcement for Unnecessary Noise campaign that focuses on loud cars and motorcycles. Cops are ready to had out tickets ranging from $110 to $155 for “drivers honking horns, having excessively loud mufflers, revving motorcycles, blasting their car radio, as well as those stunt driving and squealing their tires.”

The mayor, John Tory, said whatever the cause, loud noise is inexcusable. And starting on October 1, the city’s new noise bylaw becomes effective, which will give police even more power to deal with noisy drivers.

Let’s hope New York City and other American cities and towns are watching closely.  Canada may be taking the lead on dealing with street noise, but eventually–one hopes–it’s neighbor to the south will take notice.

We couldn’t agree more

Will Pulos,Time Out New York, writes about a common scourge of the city in “Loud-ass motorcycles in NYC are driving us completely bonkers.” Pulos talks about how they thunder out of the blue, “disrupting the peace of everyone in their nefarious paths,” all in a shameless attempt to get attention. He describes the assault of the erupting sound “that echoes through the streets with fury and arrogance,” and with a perversely exquisite sense of timing–striking just as you put the baby down in its crib or you pour yourself an end of the workday adult beverage. VROOM.

What adds insult to injury is the motorcyclist loudly screaming down an otherwise quiet residential street, setting off car alarms in his wake. We instinctively know that is not an accident. Which leads one to wonder when U.S. cities will embrace something akin to an ASBO for what is obviously anti-social behavior.

There is no social utility in purposefully loud motorcycles, so we might as well go after the low hanging fruit.

 

Who doesn’t?

Residents want police crackdown on loud, fast motorcycles.  The complaint isn’t against all motorcyclists–it never is.  Rather, the residents in this article are angry at “[p]eople driving loud bikes, deliberately modified for the sole purpose of being extra loud and obnoxious.”  We agree.  Those extra loud tail pipes do not come with a new bike, by the way.  They are aftermarket purchases, which clearly shows that rider is deliberately making noise because they want to.  We believe that is called “anti-social behavior,” and the police should be citing motorcyclists who engage in this activity.  Should.  But the article highlights a problem with enforcement, namely that the police refuse to do it:

Lisgo would like to see every officer equipped with a simple sound-measuring device, just as officers are equipped with breathalyzers to check for impaired drivers. She said her efforts to persuade police to crack down so far have been unsuccessful.

“They tell me they just don’t have enough manpower and they have better things to do and I just don’t buy that.”

Either do we.  Good luck to the residents of West Kootenay.  We hope you are successful in stopping this scourge.

Thanks to Hyperacusis Research for the link.

Meanwhile every motorcycle in town could drive by the police and never get stopped:

Opera Singer Arrested for Violating Alexandria Noise Ordinance.

No doubt someone may have found the performance annoying–busking is busking whatever the caliber of the performer.  That said, there is nothing in the article linked above that suggests that the police were responding to a complaint.  That is, it’s unclear whether they saw an opportunity to protect he streets from opera but were provoked into arresting the singer when she refused to shut down her amplified orchestral accompaniment.

Truth be told, we’re torn on who we should support in this story.  On the one hand, we would prefer to not be bombarded by amplified sound.  On the other, we wonder whether the police are normally as diligent when dealing with noise criminals.  Adding that we wish the cops were as vigilant with motorcyclists sporting aftermarket tail pipes as they are with desperate opera singers carrying amplifiers.

Who doesn’t?

Residents Want Less Motorcycle Noise.

Motorcycle noise is a personal nemesis.  It’s particularly discomforting when (obviously insecure) riders rev their engines at stop lights on smaller streets.  City buildings are built one on top of the other, with few gaps on a typical street.  The buildings are hard surfaces off of which the noxious motorcycle noise rebounds, making narrower streets into a hellish echo chamber.  And to what end?  Unless someone can suggest otherwise, it appears this assault on city denizens exists solely because some motorcycle riders enjoy the noise and either refuse to consider the impact on others or get some pleasure out of imposing it them.

Apparently ordinances exist to limit this abusive behavior, but the San Diego residents in the linked article went to their city council to come up with solutions to the problem.  Council wisely has requested that the Sheriff’s Department “help enforce noise ordinances while they try to work out a solution to the issue.”  We will be watching to see how San Diego deals with this  problem.