Born to be LOUD!!
Get your motor runnin',
Head out on the highway.
Lookin' for adventure,
And whatever comes your way.
Like a true nature's child,
You were born to be wild ...
Ah -- the lure of the open road; a throbbing engine between your knees; unlimited heights of speed and derring-do with the fresh air in your face all the way. What could be better? If you are there on your 'hog', probably not so much else. If you are trying to get some sleep at 2 a.m. while Mr. loudpipes outlaw wannabe is screaming up your street just seconds after you've dozed off, then a bit of blessed silence and some respect for those who don't share your passion for two-wheeled motorized velocipedes.
A few years ago I got pulled over by the local constabulary for the reason that the pickup truck I had at the time was too loud. The muffler had blown out a few days (weeks, or months earlier, I'd lost track) earlier and I hadn't bothered getting it fixed. The enthusiastic and slightly strident young cop demanded that I get it fixed. He gave me two days to show up at the copshop with a vehicle that purred at a respectable level for polite company, or I would be ticketed. I was irked, but I followed his decree. What else could I do?
Yet, any day of the week virtually muffler-less motorcycles scream by you, me and everyone else with noise emanating at the decibel level of a 747 carrying a cargo-load of rehearsing heavy-metal rock groups, and authorities seem to bat nary an eye. Why is this? Why aren't the biker-boys ordered to cut the noise pollution as I was, and as have been the drivers of many four-wheeled vehicles throughout the years. When I was in my teens hotrodders were busted for glass-pack 'Hollywood' mufflers, and God help anyone who even considered opening up his 'lake' pipes anywhere other than on a competition track. Yet, bikers emerge unscathed from such considerations.
What I find this misbehavior and lack of consequence does for me is arouse my worst prejudices; one of which holds that the stupider a person is, the louder he is. The intellectually satisfactory generally like muted tones, use their 'indoor voice' when speaking in public venues, are comforted by softer music, don't get publicly drunk and obnoxious in the wee smalls, and even hold domestic arguments that drip with sarcasm and irony, rather than screaming expletives. Even sex among the brighter bulbs is a matter of soft endearments and muted moans rather than screamed orgasmic cries of triumph. In other words, when I am really pissed off with that chopper noise at 2 a.m., I automatically assume the driver is a certifiable moron.
Don't get me wrong. I like motorcycles. Some of them are truly magnificent machines and I can look on the hardware with much admiration. I mean, I am a coward about them, and I prefer having four wheels under me and a bit of metal surrounding me when I am out on the highway. So, for driving fun, I have always preferred sportscars. But, I admire in a way those who are prepared to throw caution to the winds (figuratively and literally) and are prepared to deal with bugs in the teeth and semis on the tail. Not for me, however. The underwriters' mortality demographics for bikers are just too damn high for me.
No, all I am complaining about is the damn noise. It is unfair, irritating, and unnecessary. Bikers proclaim, illogically at all levels, that the noise keeps them 'safe' from other vehicles. I say, most politely and respectfully, in a pig's eye. The loud noise is only discernible to another driver when the biker is accelerating away from one, not when he is coming up behind. All sorts of laws of sound transmission belie what bikers fancy happens with the cacaphonous post-manufacture muffling. The bikes make a huge noise when they are accelerating away from a scene, and that is what 'certain' (certainly not all) bikers like. Those are the loud boys who are always desperate to call attention to themselves.
In the city of Vancouver they are changing the law, and they plan to ticket loud bikers. I wish them luck. The same thing has been done in a number of US cities. I hope it catches on everywhere. It is about time. Then I won't resent having to get that muffler replaced quite so much, because the world will seem a little more fair.