Loud Motorcycles

Urban Blight

The traffic noise associated with the degradation of neighborhood citizens' health is also recognized as a leading factor of urban blight. In a 1975 national housing survey, over one half of respondents rated street noise as bothersome. Approximately one-third of all the respondents who wished to move because of undesirable neighborhood conditions did so because of noise5-1. More recently, from a housing survey of the metro Pittsburgh area, one-third of the households exposed to street noise considered it bothersome and, of this group, eleven percent (11%) considered it bothersome enough as a reason to move5-2.

The New York City Police Department also recognized noise as a serious quality of life problem. Police officials learned from neighborhood community meetings that residents were more concerned with crimes that caused the degradation of their neighborhoods, mainly from prostitution, drug dealing, blaring car radios and loud motorcycles, than high profile crimes like murder, robbery and rape.

The NYPD initiative entitled, "Reclaiming the Public Spaces of New York" (Police Strategy 5) addressed the noise issue.

"Operation Soundtrap gave rise to another initiative known as Operation Cyclecheck. In neighborhoods where Operation Soundtrap reduced the noise from boom cars, police enforcement agents were still hearing the powerful drone of unlawfully loud motorcycles. Some illegally modified motorcycles produce exhaust noises so loud that they set off the anti-theft alarms of cars parked along the street. When packs of riders cruise neighborhoods on loud motorcycles, they make sleep impossible and drown out car horns and emergency sirens, creating a serious safety hazard."

"Under Operation Cyclecheck, investigators from the New York State Department of Motor vehicles (DMV) joined police officers at checkpoints to stop two wheeled motorized vehicles for inspection of their exhaust systems. DMV investigators introduced police officers to various techniques for detecting illegally modified exhaust systems."

Interestingly, the police found more than just illegal exhaust systems when inspecting loud motorcycles:

"When police officers stop motorcycles that are illegal or unsafe to operate, they voucher the motorcycles. Aside from muffler violations, Operation Soundcheck had found a substantial number of stolen motorcycles as well as unlicensed, unregistered, and uninsured ones. The police allowed none to drive away5-3."