And it’s not for the reason you’re thinking…
I’ve warned before about the strong possibility of motorcycles being banned on public roads in some areas. Such proposals have been floated in certain UK counties as well as parts of the European mainland and even some cities in the United States. However, nobody has moved on the idea of outright banning all internal combustion engine motorcycles in a specific geographical location. As a result, by pointing out movements towards that, I’ve been mocked by those who think they know better.
Get a refresher on the banning motorcycles from public roads movement here.
Well, news has come out of Paris, France where there’s a serious push to get all internal combustion engine motorcycles and scooters off the roads entirely. That’s right, not just stop selling them but to make driving them anywhere in the city limits illegal.
This fight isn’t about how much carbon spews out of the tailpipes of motorcycles, which is probably what you’re assuming. Instead, it’s all about noise pollution. That’s right, Parisians are sick of their city being loud. Instead of realizing that’s what you get by packing so many people into tight spaces, they’ve decided to blame motorcycles and scooters for their woes.
A noise plan for the City of Paris was presented last October, with 30 actions proposed by city administration. However, an initiative sought to collect ideas from regular citizens. One proposal which gained a lot of support was the banning of internal combustion engine motorcycles since all-electric models produce little to no noise.
The author of this proposal is quoted by the local news as saying, “Outright banning thermal PTWs is therefore a commonsense solution to solve the number 1 source (by far!) of noise pollution in Paris.” A total of 944 voted for this proposal and 307 voted against it.
Already, Paris authorities have been experimenting with sound radars as a way to fight excessive noise pollution in the city. Such devices allow police to pinpoint which motorcycle is emitting more decibels than is allowed, then fine the rider. The claim is that noise pollution is leading to serious health and economic consequences.
If you think the claim of health consequences is ridiculous, you’re not the only one. The European Environment Agency says 16,600 “premature deaths” in Europe are caused by noise pollution as well as 72,000 hospitalizations. Yes, everything is a health crisis these days.
Of course, there’s the saying that a loud motorcycle is a safe motorcycle. Anyone who’s ridden in traffic before knows many drivers just plain don’t see you, so it’s better if they can hear you. While all-electric motorcycles might make some noise, I have yet to hear one that duplicates the Screaming Eagle wail which does such an excellent job of making a bike noticeable. Apparently, riders being hit by cagers in 6,000-lb. vehicles doesn’t constitute a health crisis, at least in Europe.
Reinforcing the argument for banning motorcycles and scooters from Paris is the supposedly inevitability of all internal combustion engine cars also being banned. This is, of course, to fight the health crisis known as noise pollution and not global warming, global cooling, climate change, or whatever the term is this week.