Wrecking Ball: Loud Motorcycles

Standard wrecking ball anchorage (0/5 Anchors)

Lyle Griggs, Copy

Picture this: you’re sitting beside Massachusetts Street in one of those converted outdoor seating spaces with some friends on a beautiful April afternoon, eating a delicious reuben from Pedestrian (the restaurant) and sipping a cold, crisp Coca-Cola. All is well; there is peace on earth. Then an earthshaking rumble shatters the calm as a man on a motorcycle pulls up beside you and revs his engine. Conversation stops, your ears ring and everyone on the sidewalk pauses for a moment to wince. 

Some people brush aside these common downtown disruptions, dismissing them as mild everyday annoyances, but they incense me. While I don’t generally consider myself a confrontational person, loud motorcycles throw me into a violent rage. With the silly little motorbike men, it’s on sight. My blood boils, my fists clench and I have to fight the urge to throw punches and obscenities. 

But fortunately for my conscience (were I ever to submit to those impulses), my anger is completely justified. There is no reason — none — for motorcycles to be as loud as they are. And yes, their explosive, headache-inducing noise is intentional; the loudest motorcycles on the street are modified with after-market products that increase engine noise beyond the legal limit. And even production-legal models are noisier than they need to be; BMW motorcycles, for example, manage to be relatively quiet, unlike the ubiquitous American Harley. Fact is, the things are simply loud for the sake of being loud.

To my attacks, a biker may cry, “but Lyle, I cannot ride safely unless everyone within a two mile radius can hear the explosive rumble of my engine!” This is a bogus excuse. For one, the Doppler effect exists, so loud pipes do not actually make motorcycles substantially easier to avoid. What’s more, studies have shown that there’s a clear correlation between pipe noise and traffic accidents involving motorcycles; those with loud bikes are actually more likely to wreck. In reality, bikers like noise because it makes them feel good; it feeds some weird macho fantasy that insecure men entertain. But even if noisy bikes did have some safety benefit, I would still despise them. If motorcycles are really so dangerous that they need to be as loud as air raid sirens, perhaps people shouldn’t choose to ride them. Nobody has the right to make everyone else miserable just because they want to go zoom zoom on a manly machine.   

Motorcyclists, I’m warning you. My rope nears its end. Quiet those things down or I might blow a fuse.