Increasingly, residents on popular motorcycle routes feel annoyed by noise, join together in citizens' groups and complain Authorities, police and media. MOTORRAD also received letters in which the writers demand not to publish a tour tip about their area, because 'children can no longer play outside and neighbors can no longer talk' because of the many motorcycles. There is even a dedicated website on the topic: Initiatives have been launched under www.motorradlaerm.de and working groups have come together to take action against those motorcyclists who are driving with roaring loud and therefore illegal sound.
The Federal Association of Motorcyclists BVDM has around 50 full closures for motorcycles in Germany alone (2017), plus around 30 weekend driving bans - and the trend is rising. Just a few years ago, motorcyclists were courted guests in many areas. Meanwhile, however, their presence is disturbing. But why are motorcycles getting more and more criticized? Is it really true, as the website 'motorradlärm.de' claims that engine noise continues to increase?
Motorcycle noises are more annoying than car noises
Hardly, because the standards for noise emissions are becoming increasingly stringent. Basically, motorcycles are not louder than cars in road traffic, but rather quieter, at least when it comes to levels. A study on the subject of motorcycle noise on behalf of the State Institute for the Environment, Measurements and Nature Conservation Baden-Württemberg came to the conclusion in 2010 that the emission level of motorcycles and cars is about the same at the same speed. TheAuthors had evaluated the measurement data from around 17,000 pass-bys, including around 1,800 motorcycles. Many motorcycles were even significantly quieter than the cars. However, there were a few particularly noisy motorcycles and, according to the authors, they would probably be noticed more by the residents concerned.
Because it is not the sound level itself that is disturbing, but the subjectively perceived loudness that can be determined in psychoacoustic measurements. According to the study cited, motorcycle noises are perceived as significantly louder and therefore more annoying than car noises - at 100 km /h even as twice as loud, although the noise level is the same. Musicologists at the University of Vienna came to a similar conclusion. In a psychoacoustic study, they found that motorcycle noises are perceived as particularly annoying because they have 'a high level of loudness with a high energy content at two to four kilohertz, a sharp sound color and pronounced roughness'. And: test persons who had negative attitudes towards motorcycles reacted particularly sensitively to the sounds.
So it is mostly possible the frequency and timbre of the motorcycle sound. Motorcyclists can't do anything about that, which is why one can lament about it now. Also about the fact that many people react more sensitively to noise than they did a few years ago, or that tourism authorities have discovered more promising target groups than motorcyclists and that annoyed residents perceive the engine noises as louder than they are because they have chosen motorcyclists as their enemy.