We’ve all experienced noise that irritates us — a given, since humans tend to congregate close together. Police, fire and ambulance sirens are noisy because they have to be; emergencies happen. But why must we endure the audible assault of motorcycles, which are made to sound so arrogantly loud? I’m sure many people have stood on the sidewalks as a biker cranked up his machine, getting a rush from the controlled explosions within, a surge of adrenaline adding to the high. We cover our ears and wince not because we enjoy it. Perhaps it is his or her symphony, and that might be fine. Imposing one’s taste on others is not the freedom we have come to expect in this country.
It was suggested that noise does no harm. I beg to differ. I suffer from hearing loss due to vocational exposure, my employer also refusing to believe it caused harm until it was too late for me, and many others. I refuse to go to local indoor concerts, because I don’t see any sense in paying money to listen with earplugs. True, many enjoy feeling the music as it vibrates their body. That, too, has a long-term effect, according to studies on hearing loss in America. Many Americans are losing their hearing because of the high levels of music and other exposures.
In fairness, I have friends who own and love motorcycles and are very considerate in their use and noise levels, the noise within reason. I think the letter of May 4 (“Rethink ticketing priorities,” Miles Zarathustra) was directed to the abusers, not all bikers, though certain bikes still make plenty of noise without trying. Don’t blast your cylinders in my ears and I won’t turn up the volume on “The Rite of Spring” by Stravinsky, not everyone’s cup of tea.
Bob McMurtry, Felton