Cameras that can identify excessively noisy motorcycles and vehicles have begun being rolled out across France with motorcyclists and drivers who flout the rules facing fines of €135.
The debate over the devices, which have been trialled in various countries across Europe, has run rife for some time but the French are the first to initiate a more substantial nationwide roll-out.
The Bruitparif-designed Meduse cameras feature microphones attached to a camera that can pick up and identify the direction of noise from the road below. Should it rise above a certain decibel, the camera is activated and a fine is subsequently issued.
Though noise cameras are – officially speaking – aimed at all vehicles, many feel motorcycles are being unfairly targeted compared with car drivers with many routes popular with bikers used during trials.
It is a line officials are maintaining despite the first noise camera set to be deployed on Rue 46 in Saint-Lambert-des-Bois close to Paris, which is generally frequented by bikers.
Beyond this Bron, Nice, Paris, Rueil-Malmaison, Saint-Forget, Toulouse and Villeneuve-le Roi will also be part of the scheme, though the initial deployment won’t issue fines as officials are determining where to cap the acceptable decibel limit.
While there is some sympathy to owners in beauty spots who have complained their peace time is being disrupted by bikers and drivers who use the roads to ride/drive out, it is feared the cameras won’t be able to distinguish from important noise affecting instances.
For instance, if a group of bikers comes through together, will the camera consider them as one sound and thus hand out a single fine to whichever registration plate it picks up, while hillier regions where there is more chance of echo could also distort a reading.
Regardless, noise cameras seem to be here to stay and now the French have taken the plunge on rolling them out, expect other nations to follow suit…