Right to Quiet Society Noiseletter
Fall 2012, page 5

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...continued from page 4

MECALM believes that police should consistently stop all loud motorcycles and check for the inspection sticker and the muffler, and write tickets for violations. It would be even better for Maine to adopt the EPA matching label system, which is what the federal law is designed for. In 2007, Denver adopted the EPA label law despite the vocal opposition by many loud bikers. Thanks to consistent enforcement and substantial penalties, city officials now receive very few complaints about loud motorcycles. Since the police target only the loud bikes, this has resulted in no inconvenience to the quiet bikers.

Denver was in part motivated to enact the EPA label into law because a loud biker died after crashing into the side of a fire truck that was on an emergency call with lights flashing and the siren on. Officials, who investigated the accident, concluded that the motorcycle was so loud, the biker couldn't hear the fire truck! The city of Green Bay, Wis., also has adopted the EPA label law, where the police like it because it's very easy to enforce.

The problem of loud bikes has spread to most areas of the state and there are now thousands of Mainers who are fed up with loud motorcycles, and want something done about it. This anger will only increase when the loud bikes begin blasting our homes, neighbourhoods and communities in May.

Editor's note

We contacted Mr. Ford who replied as follows: Thank you for writing. I'm happy to hear that Right to Quiet is active in the effort to curb noise pollution. And it's good to see the reference to noise and health. There's a number of groups that have sprung up in the last year or so; New Hampshire Citizens Against Loud Motorcycles, Connecticut Citizens Against Loud Motor vehicles, North Carolina Citizens Against Loud Motor vehicles, Indiana Citizens Against Loud Motorcycles/ Motor-vehicles, and my group, Maine Citizens For Quiet Motor vehicles. All of these groups have Facebook pages with lots of information. RtoQ member Craig D. in Oregon recently sent us the URLs to several interesting articles and a letter to the governor of Texas, from a Houston policeman about his lonely battle to enforce the law. It turns out that everyone in authority he approached was part of the bully culture. Read that comprehensive letter here

The following three URLs lead to articles about boom-cars, and one about the "free speech defence":

Defeating Boom-Car Legislation (Boom car crowd is worried)

Boom-car noise issue in Houston

Houston Noise Article

Gainsville Article


Can't hear the fire truck coming? Meet the Howler

By Brian Morton, The Vancouver Sun, Sept 7, 2012

Boombox-like siren tested by Vancouver Fire and Rescue can be heard and felt by plugged-in citizens.

If you are one of those drivers or pedestrians who, for what ever reason, is oblivious to the sound of an approaching fire truck's siren, say hello to the Howler. That deep, vibrating "boombox" sound you might be hearing is the fire department's latest wake-up call for distracted drivers and pedestrians. "You can actually feel it," Lt. Carol Messenger of Vancouver Fire and Rescue Services said of the device, being tested in downtown Vancouver on a medic truck from Fire Hall No. 8 at Smithe and Hamilton. "It has a low-frequency deep tone and it's quite loud, and it gets attention. It's like a boombox vibration (and) you can actually feel it. So far, our crews have been happy with its effectiveness."

Messenger said that the Howler, made by Whelen Engineering in the U.S., is designated for high-traffic areas and intersections that fire trucks need to get through in a hurry.

She said that although traditional sirens attract attention, the Howler - which runs for eight seconds each time it's activated - takes things a giant step further by producing a noise that's meant to penetrate a vehicle's cabin and through the earplugs of pedestrians. "Today's vehicles are quite sound-proof," added Messenger. "There's loudspeakers, cellphones, insulation (and) pedestrians have earplugs on. (With Howler), they realise they have to pull over or get out of the crosswalk."

Messenger said the department has purchased one Howler for $700 and is considering more, although she couldn't say how many of their 54 fire trucks would need them. Messenger cited a recent instance when a fire truck equipped with the Howler approached a Vancouver inter-section where a pedestrian with an iPod was oblivious to the regular siren. "When they turned (the Howler) on, (the pedestrian) looked up and definitely moved in an expedited manner." Messenger said it's all about safety and that the Howler will be used with discretion.


The Noise/News International (NNI) magazine is no longer available in print form. It is now free for download or viewing at the Noise/News International website


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