That reverberating vroom-vroom sound they've been hearing up in Maine may soon be reduced to a purr.
In March, the Portland City Council approved a hybrid ordinance that takes a new approach to quelling the noise generated by motorcycles. Drawing on state law, the ordinance makes it easier to enforce a ban on unmuffled vehicles, such as bikes with straight pipes running directly from their manifolds. And borrowing an idea from Daytona Beach, Florida, Portland police now can crack down on individuals who generate noise just to draw attention to themselves.
It was a compromise that had support from bike lovers and detractors alike. Finding that his original standard-issue decibel-limit draft drew heavy opposition, Peter O'Donnell, chairman of the council's public safety committee, set up a task force of interested citizens. "There is a large segment of the motorcycling population that recognizes what a serious problem noise has become," says Sam Zaitlin, an advisory committee member, "and if the sport doesn't help with regulation, other people are going to impose it."
Not only are all the interested parties happy with the stakeholder process that O'Donnell suggested, but the actual substance of his legislation is winning kudos as well. A couple of other Maine communities are already talking seriously of adopting his approach to cutting down on the loud revs of motorcycles in full throttle.