Is it Illegal to Have a Noisy Motorbike on French Roads?

While the debate surrounding motorcycle noise has been raging for decades, the recent lockdown and early summer have brought it back into the public eye. A recent article from The Times branded motorcycles “unnecessarily noisy” and the North Yorkshire crime commissioner issued a statement on the issue. But are these laws necessary? Or is there some other solution? Here are a few things to consider when considering the issue.

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Yvelines motorbikes are noisy

Some residents in Yvelines, France, are upset at the new noise regulations put in place by departmental road 46. While officials claim they are not targeting bikers, they are cracking down on all vehicles that emit excessive noise. Yet some local bikers feel that the new laws are unfair and are a direct attack on their freedom of expression. Here is what you should know before you ride a bike on French roads.

A radar is a tool that measures noise. It is set to be inaugurated on January 4 in Saint-Lambert. The device is meant to punish ultra-minority behaviour and will prevent police officers from addressing noise pollution. The radars will be installed on departmental road 46 near Saint-Lambert. The system will be in place by 2022 and the first verbalizations are expected to take place in the second half of the year.

Austria, Switzerland and Germany ban noisy motorcycles

Almost 1.1 million people in Austria and 1 million in Switzerland are bothered by excessive motorcycle noise. This is attributed to road traffic, rail traffic and air traffic. In Bade-Wurtemberg, Germany, noise-detecting devices have lowered noise levels by 50 percent. Austria, meanwhile, has banned motorcycles with noise levels exceeding 95 decibels. A similar ban is pending in Germany.

The proposed changes have already been tested in Austria and Switzerland, but the Swiss Motorcycle Federation has argued against them. The federation is holding additional meetings in summer 2021. Motorrad expects the changes to be put into effect in 2022. However, it is unclear whether the measures will be effective. But the federation of motorcycle clubs in these countries has been lobbying for noise reductions since the beginning of the millennium.

A previous study on the southern side of the Hahntennjoch route found that motorcycles were no noisier than cars in the low 30-km/h range. The study was conducted using the A-weighted standard for technical acoustics, which does not discriminate between motorcycles and cars in compliance with speed limits. Despite the lack of research, the Austrian micro-census found that 9% of 15-year-olds list motorcycles as their most common noise source, while passenger cars account for 16.4%.

Canada has its own noise bylaws

Canada has its own noise bylaws. They regulate noise that disturbs the peace and quiet of the community. There is a right to live in peace and quiet and most noise is legal between the hours of seven am and 10 pm on weekdays. The exceptions to this are construction noise caused by oversized vehicles. You can look up your city’s bylaws online or by calling city hall.

In Calgary, for instance, noise from tires and vehicles-mounted amplification equipment is not allowed. Toys that emit noise from combustion engines are also not allowed in neighbourhoods. Wind chimes are also not permitted after seven PM or on statutory holidays. The city also requires owners of ice cream trucks to remove them after six p.m., so as not to disturb neighbors. And, when the Stampede is in town, noise from vehicles is prohibited from midnight to seven am.

France has its own bylaws

A new law is being introduced in France that aims to curb road noise. In order to tackle the issue, a noise camera will be installed in the town of Saint-Lambert-des-Bois, west of Paris. The noise camera will identify the loudest motorcycles, as well as those with modified exhaust pipes. Violators will be fined up to EUR130. The measure is part of a new law, the Mobility Orientation Law.

According to a law enacted in 2013, a person may be fined if they cause an unpleasant noise on the road. While the Code penal article R623-2 deals with the fines of motorbike and scooter riders, the Code de la route article L236-1 bans repetitive riding, which affects the safety of other road users and disturbs the peace. Other prohibited practices include racing, riding on the back wheel, and braking suddenly.