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Noise protection zones are booming

In addition to air pollution in our cities, noise pollution is also increasingly coming into focus. Austria, Switzerland and France are leading the way. In Austria's Außerfern/Tyrol, loud motorbikes were already banned last year on particularly popular routes in the Tannheimertal, Hahntennjoch and Lechtal valleys. Anyone emitting more than 95 decibels has to pay a 220 € fine.

In France, too, many cities could soon have devices that measure the noise on certain stretches of road. The French radar traps are called Méduse, which means jellyfish in German and refers to the serpentine hair of the Greek mythical creature Medusa, who turned anyone who caught her gaze to stone. And indeed, the radar with its four protruding microphone arms looks a bit like Medusa's head. But it no longer brings misfortune to brave heroes, but to passing cars and motorbikes that annoy residents and neighbours with their noise. In Paris and seven other French cities, the Medusas are mainly directed against loud motorbikes. But it will be a while before the noise polluters can be prosecuted. Starting in November, the devices will be installed and tested in these cities. At first, they will only record and locate the ambient noise every few seconds. Later, a camera will be added to detect the number plates. Then nothing will stand in the way of handing out fines.

The city of Nice is taking a different, more educational approach. There, warning signs light up red when the permitted noise level of 90 decibels is exceeded. As in Austria, however, the city also wants to discipline motorbikes that whiz through the countryside on their loud machines. To this end, noise meters have been installed in the Vosges at the popular Col de la Schlucht (Gorge Pass) as well as in the tranquil village of Saint-Forget south of Paris. Because both in the Gorge Pass and on the road of 17 bends in Saint-Forget, which is popular with motorcyclists, the noisy motorbikes are a thorn in the side of the residents. But in all likelihood, a nationwide deployment will not be possible until 2023.

By the way: The driving bans in Austria also affected the Multistrada model made by Ducati. Stupidly, the Austrian police also ride around on these motorbikes. Nevertheless, they knew how to help themselves: The police bikes were exempted from the bans without further ado.