June 1, 2020
For immediate release
Chapel Hill: Brewer, Maine, a suburb of Bangor, Maine, has won this month’s Noisy Dozen award from Noise Free America: A Coalition to Promote Quiet for tolerating herds of Harleys roaring by at all hours. Local officials continue to downplay this problem, with devastating consequences for Brewer’s quality of life.
Sherry Wheelen bought a historic house in Brewer in 2015. But her new dream life quickly turned sour, as she discovered how loud the neighborhood is. She notes that “nothing ruins property values like noise. Consider a house with a train running behind it several times a day, so loud you can’t think.”
In 2019, Wheelen was upset enough about the noise situation to try contacting city hall: “The city manager contacted the police department, who did some research on ordinances and responded positively. It did get quieter during the summer of 2019.”
By June 2020, however, noise in Brewer “seems to be back to the previous state of loudness. I was recently sitting in traffic a few blocks from my house by the local Hannaford grocery store, and six Harleys pulled up next to me; I was rendered deaf in my left ear by the time the light changed to green. They constantly revved their engine while they stopped. Why do they do that? To impress each other? It is a very bad, very loud habit.”
“Meanwhile,” Wheelen continued, “in my neighborhood, a particular orange Cruiser-style Harley, decked out with saddlebags and windshield, goes by my house a lot faster than the sped limit, breaking sound barriers and ear drums with reckless abandon. There are so many motorcycles which blast away in my neighborhood.”
“We are in the midst of the pandemic,” stated Wheelen, “and I see the police sitting in groups of two and three vehicles, chatting with each other. They don’t have to look for expired registrations right now, with the BMV closed. This is the perfect time for them to crack down on illegal exhausts. People are home working and kids are studying at home instead of at school; everyone needs the quiet to concentrate. No one wants the racket constantly interrupting their day.”
According to Wheelen, “Once interrupted, it takes a person 23 minutes to concentrate again. That’s about the time another loud bike or truck goes by—if you’re lucky. We need much stronger law enforcement of noise ordinances, so we can enjoy peace and quiet, better property values, and a better quality of life.”
Wheelen reports that she recently “ordered two copies of Noise Free America’s Guide to Modified Exhausts book to donate to my city’s police department, hoping that will help. I also wrote letters to both the city manager and the police department.”
Jamie Gould, another Brewer resident, commented that “I don’t like how the motorcycles are really loud and drive by all day and night. Because of this, I can’t sleep well. I don’t understand why the motorcycles have to be so loud. I would like to have peace and quiet in my house. My cats get very scared when the motorcycles blast by.”
Ted Rueter, director of Noise Free America: A Coalition to Promote Quiet, commented that “Brewer officials need to take noise pollution much more seriously. Excessive noise decreases property values and harms quality of life. Noise is also a health hazard, as it is linked to aggravated behavior, hearing loss, ringing of the ears, sleep disturbance, and fatigue.”
Supporters of peace and quiet are encouraged to contact Brewer officials, through this form: http://brewermaine.gov/contact/
Noise Free America: A Coalition to Promote Quiet is a citizens’ organizations opposed to excessive noise. Past “winners” of the Noisy Dozen award include Portsmouth, New Hampshire; Huntington, New York; and Sarasota, Florida.