What’s with the growth in vehicular volume? As if our roads weren’t noisy enough, we suffer every summer through the return of car stereos with woofers that shake windows and eardrums, motorcycles with modified exhaust systems to make them louder, and customized cars and trucks with modified engines to make them absurdly powerful, not to mention noxiously noisy.
Granted, most of us don’t live in pastoral settings where relative quiet is the norm, but does that mean we have to put up with this din of excessive noise pollution? If the guy next to you at the intersection with his overpowered stereo turned up ridiculously loud was a factory spewing toxic smoke it wouldn’t be long until he faced charges of some sort. But when it comes to noise pollution, we tend to suffer in silence — except for the muttered curses and the sound of grinding teeth.
Burlington Councillor Marianne Meed Ward isn’t suffering silently, though. She says she’s had enough complaints from her constituents about overly loud motorcycles, and she’s trying to do something about it by proposing a new bylaw capping motorcycle volume at 92 decibels — about the same as a jackhammer or loud lawn mower. Other jurisdictions, notably Oakville and Caledon, have adopted similar measures.
This is an interesting and well-intentioned idea, but it’s hard to imagine it being practical or making much of a dent in the overall problem of noise pollution. Perhaps in areas where there is a regular concentration of bikes that have been altered to make them louder than 92 decibels, a bylaw might provide leverage to eliminate the problem or at least move it to another area.