Loud motorcycle exhausts are not causing as much noise pollution as tyre noise from large volumes of traffic.
That’s according to a World Health Organisation report that found traffic-related noise pollution accounts for over one million “healthy years” lost annually to ill health, disability or early death in Europe.
The report says one of the biggest contributors to noise pollution is the sound of tyres on pavement. No mention of motorcycle exhaust noise.
The worst type of tyre/road interaction occurs at speeds above, 50km/h and “quiet” electric vehicles are not exempt.
Motorcycles with half as many wheels and substantially smaller tyre contact patches produce much less noise than even a small hatchback.
The tyre contact patch of an average motorcycle (depending on tyre profile and width) is about 50cm2 compared with a car of about 948cm2.
In fact, legal limits for motorcycle noise are set by ride-by tests which take into account road noise.
So one way motorcycle riders can be quieter is to ensure they have correct tyre pressures which reduce the contact patch.
The United Nations Economic Commission for Europe has issued legal limits to control the noise from tyres and is now negotiating legal limits for noise generated by the road surface.
In Australia, there has been some testing and application of a “poroelastic” road surface to reduce road noise.
However, recent research has shown that temperature influences noise emission as much as tyres and road surface.
Not sure what can be done about the temperature!
However, while the authorities are concerned about tyre noise, they might be less concerned with motorcycle exhaust noise.