Loud Motorcycles

Adverse Health Effects

The effects of excessive motorcycle noise on the health and welfare of the general public are well documented. The EPA became concerned about the issue of motorcycle noise when it became evident that in every survey, motorcycle noise is over-represented in the interruptions of people's everyday activities4-1, such as sleeping, relaxing, TV and radio listening, and face-to-face and telephone communications (speech interference). Excessive motorcycle noise that causes these activity interruptions additionally can have serious negative health effects on the unsuspecting public.

"Exposure to noise causes stress. The body has a basic primitive response mechanism, which automatically reacts to noise as if to a warning or danger signal. A complex series of bodily reactions to noise (some times called "flight of fight" response) takes place; these reactions are beyond conscious control. When noise intrudes, these reactions can include elevated blood pressure, changes in heart rate, secretions of certain hormones (most notably adrenaline) into the bloodstream, changes in digestive process, and increased perspiration on the skin4-2."

The automatic "flight or fight" reaction can also happen to unsuspecting citizens while they sleep. A single loud motorcycle riding by at night is all it takes to be awakened from a pounding heart and an adrenaline reaction. The secondary effects include: exhaustion, fatigue, depressed mood or well-being, and decreased work performance thoughout the day4-3.

"Stress [from noise] can be manifested in any number of ways, including headaches, irritability, insomnia, digestive disorders, and psychological disorders. Workers who are exposed to excessive noise frequently complain that noise just makes them tired4-4."

Numerous studies indicate that there may be some risk of increased rates of high blood pressure and other cardiovascular health problems for people exposed to noise-induced stress. Excessive community noise may be potentially more dangerous to this group as well if they are already suffering from circulatory and heart problems, since it can aggravate an existing health problem4-5.

Studies have shown a link between low birth weight in infants and their mothers having been exposed to excessive transportation noise during pregnancy4-6. Additionally, noise above 80dba may increase aggressive behavior in people4-7.