July 1, 2013
Noise Free America
For immediate release
Geico’s radio spots, designed by The Martin Agency, features an extremely loud motorcycle rumbling down the highway, with dollar bills falling off behind him, set to “Midnight Rider” by the Allman Brothers.
Ted Rueter, Noise Free America’s director, commented that “Geico’s radio commercial is a celebration of loud, illegal motorcycle noise. The rumbling in the ad is meant to suggest coolness, hipness, and fun. In reality, it represents illegality and aggressive behavior—which an insurance company should not be promoting.”
Rueter notes that the federal Noise Control Act of 1972 makes it illegal for motorcyclists to remove or alter their exhaust for the purpose of making additional noise. Also, the Act limits motorcycle noise to 82 decibels. In 1982, the EPA enacted a label match-up program, which mandates that motorcycles have a stamp proving that the factory exhaust has not altered.
“Clearly,” Rueter stated, “the motorcycle featured in the Geico ad has been illegally modified. Many people seem to believe that motorcycles are naturally noisy; that is not the case. Motorcycles are quiet when they leave the factory; they are obnoxiously loud because of the deliberate, illegal actions of their owners.”
Unfortunately, this is not the first time that illegal motorcycle has been celebrated in American popular culture. In August 2008, Senator John McCain, speaking before 50,000 roaring Harleys, declared, “This is my first time here, but I recognize that sound. It’s the sound of freedom!”
According to Rueter, “The United States need to stop celebrating noise. Noise is celebrated on radio and television, in advertising, on the road, in stores, at sporting events, at social events, and in the average American neighborhood. The United States needs to quiet down and learn to celebrate peace and quiet.”
Noise Free America is a national 501c3 organization devoted to noise reduction. Past “winners” of the Noisy Dozen award include the Discovery Channel, the United States Environmental Protection Agency, and the Florida Marlins.