A newer type of zone literally makes you sit up and take notice: the noise protection zones.
Environmental zones, which have been established to combat air pollution (fine particles/ NOx) and have existed in Europe for several years, are now known to the general public. Now comes the next level: the noise protection zones. As the name suggests, noise protection zones are designed to prevent or reduce noise. This mainly concerns the noise caused by traffic and individual vehicles. Basically, there are already official decibel limits for the new registration of a vehicle, which must not be exceeded. The noise level is determined in so-called "accelerated pass-by" and laboratory conditions. The vehicle to be tested accelerates in such a way that it reaches a speed of 50 km/h in the middle of a 20-meter test track. Now the vehicle accelerates further. In most cases, however, the vehicle does not exceed 80 kilometers per hour. The gear and speed are specified according to the model. All decibel values measured within the 20 meters count for the test. Only the highest value measured within the distance is taken. So much for the theory. The limit values are between 70 and 78 decibels. Unfortunately this has little to do with the reality of the road. Anyone who has ever observed or heard a vehicle accelerating strongly in traffic knows that not only the perceived but also the verifiably measured background noise is exceeded 500 times. A vehicle on the road can be as loud as 500 vehicles of the same type under laboratory conditions - insane! Noise is anything but harmless. Just as fine dust and nitrogen oxide affect our lungs and blood circulation, noise reduces our ability to concentrate, triggers stress and increases the risk of heart attack enormously. The hormones adrenaline, noradrenaline and cortisol are increasingly produced by stress. These lead to rising blood pressure and an accelerated heart rate. Experts estimate that about 4000 people die every year due to street noise. According to a survey conducted by the Federal Environment Agency in 2012, a good 50% of the population feel strongly disturbed or annoyed by road traffic noise in their living environment. It is precisely for these reasons that Austria, or more precisely the province of Tyrol, has set up a noise protection zone in the Außerfern mountain region. Since 10 June 2020, particularly loud motorcycles with a registered stationary noise level of 95 decibels are no longer allowed to drive in the area. A fine of 220 euros must be expected in case of violation. According to the noise expert of the state Christoph Lechner, about 7% of all registered motorcycles are affected by the ban. Other countries, such as Germany, are already planning similar zones. Many motorcyclists, but also other motorists with larger engines, who are affected by this new type of zones, are once again exposed to the whim and arbitrariness of the legislator and are raising the alarm with media coverage throughout Europe. For many, the noise protection zone and its regulations is just another brazen attempt to bully the consumer and take money out of his pocket. Greedy rip-off or really justified?