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Motorcycle noise: measurement procedure on the test bench

Motorcycles have been in the line of fire in the media as rarely before. Some of the two-wheelers are too loud, but criticism of the decibel measurement method is growing.

According to the EU standard, motorcycles must not exceed a certain noise level. The engine noise is measured at high revs and especially, for some people not logically comprehensible, when stationary, whereby the decibel value of 80 must not be exceeded. Politicians in the form of the Federal Council are now trying to prohibit motorcycle owners from riding on Sundays. But for many, including Transport Minister Andreas Scheuer, this is tantamount to an invasion of privacy. The minister is also against noise protection zones with the 80 decibel limit.

The Green Party is now obviously trying to find a compromise. However, they also demand more personal responsibility for bikers. More open communication and, for example, noise displays that advertise "quieter driving" should prevent the problem of motorcycle noise from taking on a life of its own. New approval criteria on the part of the manufacturers are also being discussed, and for their part they are already regulating engine noise at the factory.

In addition to the proposal to completely exclude bikers from Sunday traffic, the Federal Council has, however, brought a further demand into play, which seems less unrealistic than the proposal with the holy Sunday without bikers. For example, the Federal Council is calling for the maximum value of 80 decibels to be made legally binding for all riding conditions, which would take some confusion out of the heated discussion, as most motorcycle owners cannot understand why measurements have so far only been taken when stationary.

Paul Lohmar, an expert for motorcycle approval procedures at TÜV Rheinland, points out that such a fixed limit value demanded by the Bundesrat would mean in reverse that "there would only be motorcycles with very large-volume, low-turning engines and a maximum of 40 hp".

The discussion will probably continue to accompany us through the summer. It is clear that something has to change, a reduction in noise and a measurement procedure that is transparent and logical for the public is inevitable.