Translated from GErman
Spring is here – and with it the motorbikes that are winding up the Black Forest in great numbers. But what is a nice hobby for some is increasingly a nuisance for others. Residents on particularly popular routes in the country are fighting against motorcycle noise. The “Motorcycle Noise Initiative” of the state government now includes around 160 places and districts. They agree: it cannot go on like this. They demand consideration – and if necessary also bans.
Where are the focal points?
Motorcycling is fun on scenic, mountainous and winding routes. The Black Forest, the Swabian Alb, the Odenwald, the Löwenstein Mountains and the Bergstrasse are all noise hotspots in Baden-Württemberg. According to the ADAC, the Black Forest High Road (B500) between Baden-Baden and Ruhestein and the connecting route into the Murgtal (L83), the Albaufstieg (L360), the Lautertal in the Zollernalbkreis and the Löwensteiner Mountains (B39) are particularly affected.
Why is there trouble?
Above all, it’s the mass that matters. There are more and more motorcycles: Since 2011, the number of new registrations in Baden-Württemberg has increased by 22 percent to almost 700,000 last year, according to the State Statistical Office. A new high. According to the ADAC, the stock has increased almost twentyfold over the past 50 years. According to ADAC estimates, between 3,000 and 6,000 bikers are out and about on summer days in the northern Black Forest alone. If they turn up, manipulate the exhaust for the right sound and drive in bulk, the rest of the rest of the world is over. The noise protection officer of the state government, Thomas Marwein, also observes increasingly louder machines from the factory. In some cases, the topography amplifies the sound: in a valley location with steep walls around it, it echoes back directly into the village.
When does noise become dangerous?
According to the Federal Environment Agency, a noise level of 65 decibels during the day and 55 decibels at night should not be exceeded. According to the Ministry of Transport, every second motorcycle was on the road with 87 decibels or louder during a measurement on federal highway 39 near Löwenstein (Heilbronn district). According to the noise protection officer, anyone who lives near a biker route often suffers from noise of up to 100 decibels. “That’s equivalent to a jackhammer.”
What is being done about it?
The police are intensifying controls and taking action against speeders. Attention is paid to technical manipulations on exhaust systems. As part of the first police action weekend at the start of the season, 600 police officers across the country scrutinize suspicious motorcycles. And they enlighten. The ADAC sign campaign (“Drive more quietly”) also has the same goal. Around 160 towns and districts are now defending themselves with the “Motorcycle Noise Initiative”. Transport Minister Winfried Hermann (Greens) demands: “Motorcycles have to be quieter.”
What if everything doesn’t work?
Then comes the hard way. “Reckless driving must have clear consequences,” says Hermann. He already has the Federal Council on his side; the federal government should initiate legal changes. For example, what is needed is an upper noise limit that a motorcycle must not exceed in any driving condition. “Anyone who does not adhere to the rules is consistently monitored and reported,” says Interior Minister Thomas Strobl (CDU). Lush fines included. There is also discussion about driving bans based on the “Tyrolean model”. Some mountain roads there are closed to loud machines from June to October.
What do motorcyclists say?
The Federal Association of Motorcyclists emphasizes that the vast majority of motorcyclists adhere to the rules. Bernd Obrecht, motorcyclist from Freiburg and representative of the motorcycle club “Kuhle Wampe”, recently said in an online discussion that his club does not agree to route closures only for motorbikes. This would punish everyone for some “black sheep”. Most motorcyclists are properly on the road, says the ADAC. You should not be disadvantaged because of individual outliers. After all, auto posers also cause frustration among residents.
What is easily possible?
Consideration. Those who stick to speed limits, choose a higher gear and drive with foresight are quieter on the road. “Everyone can have a significant impact on the noise development of their vehicle through their driving style,” says Karin Buhrke, Mayor of Forbach. Motorcyclists must be made more aware of the problem.