Motorcycles may be fuel efficient, but they present a handful of other problems for the environment. They can also be a menace in neighborhoods, as one Redditor shared recently in the r/neighborsfromhell subreddit.
The poster’s across-the-street neighbor had an “excessively loud” modified Harley-Davidson and would rev the engine off and on for up to an hour at a time.
“What’s even more frustrating is at night he will fire it up at 12 or 1 a.m. and spend two minutes backing out of his driveway, making it impossible to sleep through,” the poster wrote. “When I mean loud, you can feel the vibrations from the house, and it’s well over 90 decibels at my property.”
The poster, who had lived in this quiet neighborhood without issue for six years, didn’t want to engage the biker because of their history.
“I tried calling the police,” but a dispatcher brushed off the complaint, they said.
Idling and revving engines may be appealing to gearheads, but aside from the noise these actions create, they also cost the vehicle and the environment.
Motorcycles may travel 55 miles per gallon of gas, but idling wastes that fuel and can also damage critical engine parts, including pistons and cylinders.
“You might think by idling your motorcycle, you’re warming it up,” Law Abiding Biker stated in a conversation about cold-weather idling. “… The best and only real way to get your motorcycle engine’s temperature up is to actually go out and ride!”
In debunking a myth that idling warms up your engine and even prolongs its life, Ryan Urlacher wrote that this practice may have been prudent when carburetors were the norm. But now, most bikes and other vehicles rely on fuel injectors.
“In those days, it was important to get the carburetor warm before driving [to avoid stalling],” Urlacher wrote. “Those days are gone.”
Idling also wastes a ton of gas — up to half a gallon per hour in a car — and can aggravate respiratory issues. Children and others with histories of health problems can be especially vulnerable.
The pollution idling dumps into our air is also excessive: personal vehicles in the U.S. release an estimated 60 billion pounds of heat-trapping carbon pollution from idling annually. Motorcycles may not emit as much of this toxic gas as they did 15 years ago, but with higher populations and more bikes on the road, the volume has not fallen.
Another issue is that the United States Environmental Protection Agency does not measure motorcycle pollution.
So, even if idling is an outside source of pollution — and illegal in many places around the country, if difficult to enforce — the best way to cut into the problem may be to go after those noisy revvers.
“There are usually noise ordinances. Maybe try contacting code enforcement,” one commenter suggested. “You can get a decibel-meter, and a camera, if you feel you need additional evidence.”
Another said: “My neighbor did that with his Harley and redlined his cars whenever he worked on them as well. We only got some quiet when we found his landlord’s contact info and half the street blasted them with complaints. We got extra lucky when he was racing down the street to show off for friends and you could hear him in the background of one of our calls.”
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