The ACEM – European Association of Motorcycle Manufacturers – has issued its response to growing efforts across the continent to ban bikers from certain routes over complaints motorcycles are too noisy.
The union, which represents 18 manufacturing companies and 20 national industry associations, is concerned bikers are being unfairly singled out for an issue that is endemic across all road users, saying modern motorcycles don’t exceed the permitted decibel levels compared with many four-wheel alternatives.
Interestingly, the ACEM also supports the use of devices that measure noise and issue fines, since it places the onus on the individual potentially abusing the regulations, rather than the industry as a whole.
The debate over noisy motorcycles has stepped up in recent years, becoming a key battleground in local elections across various routes in Europe. At the heart of the complaints are residents along popular routes frequented by transport, particularly bikers on weekends.
The issue has led to a number of measures being introduced across various stretches in Europe. Germany and Austria have been particularly pro-active in introducing rules seemingly aimed specifically at the motorcycle industry, stretching as far as motorcycles being banned entirely from certain routes.
However, as the ACEM points out, Euro4 and Euro5 motorcycles are already designed not to exceed the permitted 77dB of noise (on average), though a number of models reach 90db-plus when revved or under acceleration. That said, this can be altered by various customisation techniques, even this also applies to cars.
With this in mind, the ACEM’s position is that manufacturers, the industry in its entirety and every biker shouldn’t be unfairly targeted with specific motorcycling bans since the issue comes down to individual practice and can just as easily be mirrored across all modes of transport.
It adds that by using this argument, the case should therefore be that all road users are banned from routes if residents find it too noisy.
As such, the ACEM has taken the stance of supporting the use of noise pollution devices – increasingly common on the mainland in built up areas or beauty spots – despite them coming in for sharp criticism from bikers.
It says so long as the devices are placed in key locations, they shift the onus back onto the individual – regardless of machinery – and encourage them to temper potential anti-social behaviour in areas where noise is a legitimate concern for residents, without using the sweeping brush of preventing all bikers from using certain routes.