Several European countries are closing more and more roads to motorcycles because of noise while one German state proposes a crackdown, including rolling off the throttle in built-up areas and a complete ban on aftermarket exhausts.
Baden-Wurttenberg state government’s noise protection office and local councillors also want tighter rules on adjusting the tune of factory-fitted exhausts on new models, more police monitoring and a shift towards quiet electric motorcycles.
Riders will also be banned from certain areas over weekends and public holidays as in several other countries such as the Netherlands and throughout Germany.
This comes as the UK Department of Transport and French noise pollution agency Bruitparif are trialling cameras that detect noise, identify the culprit, take a photo and automatically issue a fine.
While they are set up to detect any noisy vehicles, the Parisienne devices are specifically targeting motorcycles with one set up in Saint-Forget, a hilly rural area near Paris popular with riders.
These “noise cameras” or “noise radars” are still under trial and no fines have been issued fines yet, but it may not be long before they are being used in Australia and other countries.
We contacted police in each state and received mainly non-committal replies saying they monitor the development and introduction of all traffic enforcement technologies around the world.
WA Police were the only ones to admit they were actively monitoring the UK prototype noise cameras and said they would “seek information on its operational effectiveness”.
Queensland Transport and Main Roads say they have trialled other equipment but only to detect noise levels of heavy vehicles.
“Although the technology can potentially be used for detecting noisy, modified or defective exhausts in light vehicles and/or motorcycles there is currently no plan to extend the trials or legislation to include those vehicles in Queensland,” a spokesperson told us.
While Australia is yet to introduce Draconian laws like the road bans in Europe, police and transport officers do occasionally operate noise monitoring checks on popular motorcycle routes.
It may seem heavy handed, discriminatory and ignoring the perceived safety benefits of “loud pipes save lives”, but it’s nothing compared with Indian police methods.
In India, police make a subjective assessment followed by smashing the offending exhaust pipe on the roadside.
They have also made an example of their crackdown by steam rolling confiscated pipes.