Motorcycle Noise


Motorcyclists have of course as much right as anyone else to use the roads, but the noise made by many of their machines is excessive, and constitutes a real and persistent nuisance to people living nearby or using the streets.  This is becoming worse as the roads become more congested and more and more people are using motorcycles to get through the traffic. The vehicle need not be travelling at excessive speed to cause a noise nuisance, and fierce acceleration in low gear is the main problem.

Motorcycles are small vehicles with small engines, and yet they make so much more noise than much larger and more powerful vehicles – and some of the smallest emit the worst noise.  The reason for this is that their silencers are inadequate.  The same applies to certain types of car – in particular Ferrari, Maserati, Lamborghini, and Porsche.

We think that our MP, and our GLA Member and the Borough Council should propose to the Government that they amend the Road Vehicles (Construction and Use) Regulations 1078/1986 to require that motorcycles and cars manufactured here or imported be equipped with silencers which are much more effective, even if this reduces speed and/or acceleration.

It would appear from the noise we have to endure every day that even the existing law is not being complied with.

Reg 54(2) of the Road Vehicles (Construction and Use) Regulations 1078 of 1986 provides that “Every exhaust system and silencer shall be maintained in good and efficient working order and shall not be altered so as to increase the noise made by the escape of exhaust gases.”

Also, Reg. 97 of the Road Vehicles (Construction and Use) Regulations 1078 of 1986 provides that “No motor vehicle shall be used on a road in such manner as to cause any excessive noise which could have been avoided by the exercise of reasonable care on the part of the driver.”

In addition, a Public Space Protection Order under s. 59 of the ANTI-SOCIAL BEHAVIOUR, CRIME AND POLICING ACT 2014 has been made by the Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea, which applies in the east of Chelsea and prohibits:

(a) Revving of engine(s) (as to cause a nuisance);

(b) Repeated sudden and rapid acceleration (as to cause a nuisance);

(c) Racing;

(d) Performing stunts (as to cause a nuisance);

We do not expect a noise monitor on every street corner, and we are aware that the police have limited resources, but we do expect the police whilst on patrol to stop a vehicle which appears to them to be making excessive noise, and to issue a Fixed Penalty Notice and/or require it to be taken to a testing station.  We also expect the Vehicle and Operator Services Agency to make checks and to visit the dealerships where these cars and motorcycles are sold and imported

There are engineers who will alter exhaust systems so as to increase the noise, but there will usually be a warning stamped on the exhaust; ‘Not for road use’, ‘track use only’ or similar, and the police should be looking for these.  It is also not unknown for the owners of certain motor cycles and cars to fit a silencer which meets the MoT standard for the purposes of the test, only to replace it with a noisy one afterwards.  The police should also be aware of this.

The drivers are a changing group of people so we cannot expect action taken on one or two occasions to solve the problem.  The police need to be vigilant at all times when they are on patrol.

We all now know the nature of the problem and the combination of measures which can be taken.  We now expect the Police, the Vehicle and Operator Services Agency, the Borough Council, the GLA, and the MP to take the necessary action.

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