In the debate about motorcycle noise, two sides are irreconcilable: on the one hand, the residents who suffer from noise. And the motorcyclists who do not want to let their hobby take away because of a few tuners and razors. Most recently, the Federal Council clearly sided with one another: in mid-May, it decided to take an initiative against motorcycle noise. Now the federal government has to decide whether and how to react to it.

The Federal Council called on the government to advocate that the EU Commission limit the permitted noise emissions of all new motorcycles to a maximum of 80 decibels (db / A). Sound systems with which bikers can adjust the volume of their exhaust systems are to be banned and driving bans on Sundays and public holidays are to be made possible. The federal government must now decide whether and how it will respond to the demands. There is no deadline for this. One thing is certain: if she takes the initiative, she will make herself unpopular on one side or the other.

However, the Federal Council overlooks the basic problem with its claims against motorcycle noise: the tests used to measure the volume of motorcycles are unrealistic. And the manufacturers apparently use tricks, similar to the auto industry.

Unrealistic tests

At the moment, new motorbikes can actually be no more than 77 decibels. That roughly corresponds to the sound of a piano. However, this value is determined in tests that have little to do with reality. The volume is measured over a short distance in which the machine accelerates. How quickly is calculated using a formula that takes into account the performance and weight of the motorcycle and a standardized rider weight. As a result, the speed at which the volume is measured is low: it is between 35 and 40 km / h. This certainly does not correspond to a realistic driving situation with a motorcycle. But this is how the law and the machines are legal, even if they are louder in operation.

The Federal Council now wants to ensure that no motorcycle exceeds 80 decibels in all driving situations and all speed ranges. "This is only possible if the machines are completely encapsulated against noise emissions and therefore completely clad, and then not at high freeway speeds," says Hermann Winner. He is a professor of vehicle technology at the Technical University of Darmstadt and teaches motorcycle technology. Winner is also a member of the scientific advisory board of the Federal Ministry of Transport and the German Traffic Watch. His opinion is heard. And that is clear.

Headwind louder than engine

Winner says: In cars, wind noise drowns out the engine from around 100 km / h, for motorcycles this value is probably somewhat higher. At this speed, air resistance causes the noise problem and not the exhaust.

Winner sees a veritable campaign against motorcyclists, the Federal Council's request confirms it. "Such emotional offensives make a factual discussion impossible," he says. Winner believes that general vehicle noise control is good and necessary, but not when it is isolated against a shape such as a motorcycle.

"There are popular motorcycle routes where a lot of bikers are out and make noise on nice days. But even in big cities it is often loud because of the heavy traffic," says Winner. Forbidding one and tolerating the other is not possible in his opinion. He suggests sensible limit values ‚Äč‚Äčagainst vehicles that are too loud across the board, instead of punishing a single group with individual rules and driving bans. Stationary and mobile speed cameras are also a promising measure against vehicles that are too loud.