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The noise generated by motorcycles is an innate part of life, no matter where you live. While we all live in a noisy world, some vehicles are much louder than others. However, motorcycles have to be loud in order to be heard by other motorists. I know from personal experience – my partner has been knocked off twice in the past year, by a motorist who failed to look for her bike!
There are various regulations that govern the noise of motorcycles. If a motorcycle is too loud, it may lead to a fine and other penalties. In some cases, a loud motorcycle can be dangerous. To avoid any trouble, make sure to use an approved muffler and to carry out an acceptance test.
The regulation that applies to motorcycles is the Road Vehicles (Construction & Use) Regulations. It governs the maximum noise level that a motorcycle is allowed to make on public roads. The regulations state that modified exhaust systems cannot be any louder than the type approved by the manufacturer.
Motorcycle noise levels can reach 82-86 decibels in the UK. However, this can differ from motorbike to motorcycle. For example, superbikes are notoriously loud. Although they have very high-compression engines, their exhaust generates a lot of noise. While these loud motorcycles can be a joy for petrolheads, they can be a nuisance to non-enthusiastic folks. Currently, the UK has a noise limit of 80dB(A), which is higher than the maximum allowed by the US, Germany, and Canada.
Experiments on loud bike exhausts
Motorcycle exhausts are very loud. Most aftermarket exhaust systems are designed to increase flow and pay little attention to noise suppression. This makes them louder than they should be, and is disruptive to other road users as well as the environment. Excessively loud motorcycle exhausts can also affect bats’ echolocation and disrupt the migratory habits of birds.
A new trial in England and Wales is introducing noise-detecting cameras. These cameras can identify if bikes are exceeding noise limits. They can also take photos of the offending vehicles and issue a fine if they are found guilty.
Illegal aftermarket mufflers
Illegal aftermarket mufflers for motorcycles are a common source of loud, unwanted noise. While most states have laws regulating noise levels, the laws do not specify which mufflers are legal and which aren’t. The most common type of muffler that is illegal is a non-factory aftermarket model. Aftermarket exhaust mufflers are typically not EPA-approved and are only designed to increase the motorcycle’s exhaust noise. Because of this, they’re illegal for use on highway motorcycles.
The penalties for violating this law are increasingly severe. Offenders can be fined up to $1,000, or even jailed. The fine is the largest in the country for modifying a vehicle’s exhaust system.
Regulations under Motor Cycle Noise Act 1987
If you’re thinking about changing the way your motorcycle sounds, you should know that there are a number of federal and state regulations on noise. The regulations set maximum decibel levels for motorcycles. In Florida, the noise limit is 82 dB (A) for motorcycles that are under 35 mph. For motorcycles made after January 1, 1988, the noise limit is 80 dB (A).
The Regulations under Motor Cycle Noise Act 1987 allow police officers to issue an order for noise abatement if a motorbike is causing a nuisance. The order is valid for a period of 48 hours and ends at 8 a.m. on the next day. If a motor vehicle is impounded because of noise pollution, the police officer may apply for an impoundment or forfeiture order. A magistrate, including a children’s court magistrate, can also apply for an order.
New ‘noise cameras’ trialled in UK and France
A new technology is being trialled in the UK and France to combat noise pollution in motorcycles. The system uses an array of microphones to detect noise levels that cause annoyance to other road users. The technology has the advantage of being much more accurate than police officers’ ears. The technology has been developed by a joint venture between Atkins and Jacobs, and it has received Government funding.
The UK government has invested a quarter of a million pounds in testing the technology, and has chosen Atkins-Jacobs Joint Venture to lead the trial. This firm will provide the design and technical expertise for the project, and will help the government and local councils to install and monitor the systems. The trial will also include automatic number plate recognition technology, which will help identify the offender’s car.