Teesside Trail Riders

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    Noise is Not Power

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    rikidooos
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    Noise is Not Power

    Post  rikidooos on Tue Feb 15, 2011 8:07 am

    Noise is Not Power

    When motorbike engines are generally smaller than those of cars,
    why is it that the former often make more noise? Is it because some
    bike riders think noise equates to power? Or is it because the
    stringent regulations that are supposed to govern noise emissions of
    both cars and motorbikes are flouted by some manufacturers and
    retailers of aftermarket motorbike accessories?

    For many years, a segment of bike riders have been adding accessories to their
    bikes to make them produce more power than an original showroom model, often
    with the result that they become much louder and more intrusive to pedestrians.
    For almost as many years, other riders have been working hard to mitigate the
    damage that noisy bikes do to their reputation and recreation. The latter group,
    including the TRF are now taking their requests to the highest level.

    Earlier this year, DEFRA (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
    issued a consultation on ‘Mechanically Propelled Vehicles on Public Rights of
    Way’. The purpose of this consultation was to look at ways of reducing the
    damage and disturbance purported to be caused by vehicles being driven and
    ridden through the British countryside on legal rights of way. Members of the
    public often point the finger at trail bike riders, claiming they are the main culprits,
    even though in many areas, there is no evidence of damage or disturbance.
    Even more common are complaints of the intrusive noise caused by their
    machines. What many members of the public do not know is that currently, these
    riders have very little control over the noise their bikes make.


    Paying for Power

    Car and motorbike manufacturers are strictly regulated on the amount of noise
    any of their vehicles destined for the public highway can make. Even those that
    are engineered to sound louder, thereby giving an impression of power –
    including many sports cars and motorbikes – are subject to these regulations.
    Without the enclosed bodywork and exhaust pipe length of cars, modifications to
    the silencers of motorbikes lead to a disproportionate increase in noise levels
    compared to cars.

    Presently there are no regulations enforceable in the real-world governing the
    purchase and fitting of accessories which make motorbikes illegal for road use
    such as exhausts, once new bikes have left the showroom. Enthusiasts can buy
    non-standard, post-production exhausts for their machines, to increase the
    output of the bike by several brake horse power, with little risk of prosecution.
    Riders often pay many hundreds of pounds for such a piece of kit. The result
    however is usually a noisier and more intrusive bike.

    Manufactured Choice

    The TRF, Britain's national organisation for off-road riding, claims that the future
    of its recreation is in danger, partly because of the insensitivity of the very
    industry on which members rely. The MCIA (Motorcycle Industry Association) is
    the body which represents motorbike manufacturers and retailers. Members of
    the TRF feel that the MCIA is not providing sufficient support to riders who want
    more choice and who want to improve the reputation of their recreation.

    In June, the TRF sent a strong message to the MCIA, asking for its support for a
    campaign to make trail bikes quieter. The voluntary organisation wants the MCIA
    to help provide solutions to counter those who claim that trail riding is no longer
    compatible with Britain’s countryside. While the TRF encourages all its members
    to ride in a responsible manner, it can have little influence on the noise of their
    bikes and is requesting that the MCIA take responsibility for this area.


    The TRF is asking the MCIA to get sensitive about noise, by restricting the sale
    of aftermarket noisy exhaust systems. These are used mainly for competition
    bikes and have no place on trail bikes. Restrictions would prevent riders from
    buying a new trail bike with a quiet exhaust system and then adding a nonstandard
    exhaust that makes the machine louder, for the sake of a small
    increase in power.

    Whose Problem?

    The TRF is pushing the MCIA to bring in these changes, in order to safeguard
    countryside motorcycling for the next generation and to counter the prejudice
    towards bikes expressed in DEFRA’s consultation. However, so far, people
    within the motorcycle industry have maintained that the problem is not theirs to
    worry about, that everyone else is just too sensitive and that it is the
    responsibility of the police to apprehend the law breakers.

    Geoff Wilson, Chairman of the TRF, says, “Through their own actions, trail riders
    can do much themselves to take their recreation into the 21st century. However,
    there are many things which the motorcycle industry must do as well, such as
    making bikes quieter. A programme of customer education and information at
    point of sale is needed, while competitive riders should be encouraged to ride at
    sporting events, rather than bringing race track noise levels to rural green lanes”.

    He continues, “So called ‘off-road’ bikes have moved on at a pace that some
    other users of the countryside cannot accept. Motorcycling and the needs of the
    countryside have been on a diverging course and it is time to bring them back
    together again. The MCIA has a key role to play in convincing the government
    that the biking world is sensitive and accepts that there are problems in some
    parts of the countryside that it is actively working to solve.”


    A Range of Solutions

    Other solutions that the TRF is working to implement include sophisticated and
    selective route management processes, such as flexible traffic regulation orders
    and route hierarchies. The adoption by riders of a low-impact attitude that
    encompasses greater sensitivity to speed, surface damage, tyres, noise and
    safety of others using the same tracks is being actively encouraged. The
    organisation would also like to see the adoption of a series of special byway rules
    to minimise primary legislation.

    The TRF is a national, voluntary and non-competitive body that was established
    in 1970, for people who enjoy exploring green lanes by motorbike. It aims to
    conserve our heritage of green lanes for everyone to enjoy. However, without
    top-level support of the MCIA, the future looks unsure. It is for this reason that
    the TRF will keep pushing for the changes in motorbike manufacture that it
    deems necessary, to safeguard the future of its members and their recreation
    into the twenty-second century.



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