June 1, 2015

Noise Free America: A Coalition to Promote Quiet
For immediate release

Geoff Keller
[email protected]

Ted Rueter
[email protected]

Chapel Hill: Johnstown, Pennsylvania, located 70 miles from Pittsburgh, has won this month’s Noisy Dozen award from Noise Free America: A Coalition to Promote Quiet for sponsoring the “Thunder in the Valley” motorcycle rally from June 25 to June 28, 2015. The weekend is certain to be a celebration of illegal and destructive motorcycle noise. Around 10,000 motorcyclists are expected.

The “Thunder in the Valley” event, will feature an “extreme motorcycle thrill show,” motorcycle stunt riding, MCW Micro championship wrestling, a wet t-shirt contest, and plenty of loud music.

There will also be plenty of loud motorcycles. A significant amount of the “thunder” in the valley will come from illegally-modified motorcycles without any muffler whatsoever. These vehicles will be making noise at least five times that allowed by federal law.

Geoff Keller, chairman of Noise Free America’s board of directors, noted that “it is a violation of Pennsylvania state law to operate a motorized vehicle on a public roadway without a muffler. Excessive noise is a quality of life issue. Numerous studies demonstrate a direct link between excessive noise and risk factors for heart disease. Also, excessive noise reduces property values. Rather than promoting such acoustical lawlessness, city officials need to generate a plan of action for addressing the issue of illegal vehicular noise. Johnstown needs an ongoing noise abatement program. The participants in this event will subject their fellow Americans to illegal noise, which degrades the quality of life for all in their path.”

Keller also noted that “city officials should not be allowing an event for individuals who think they have the right to illegally remove the muffler from their vehicle. Rather, the Johnstown Police Department should be issuing citations to all bikers making illegal, excessive noise.”

Ted Rueter, Noise Free America’s director, stated that “many people seem to believe that motorcycles are naturally noisy. This is not accurate. Motorcycles are designed to be quiet when they roll off the factory floor. Excessive motorcycle noise is the result of deliberate, illegal action by the owner. Removing or altering a motorcycle exhaust is a violation of state and federal law. Law enforcement officials should be enforcing the law and protecting the public.”

Rueter also noted that “excessive motorcycle noise is very harmful. Excessive noise is related to heart disease, chronic fatigue, aggressive behavior, hearing loss, and sleep deprivation. Recent scientific studies link exposure to excessive noise to weight gain.”

The Johnstown Visitors and Convention Bureau is one of the sponsors of the noisemaking event. Their theme is “tourism=jobs.” Unfortunately, the sponsors of the event seem not to understand the destructive nature of noise for community development. “Very few people,” said Rueter, “want to live in a noisy neighborhood or community. Excessive noise drives tourists away. The ‘broken windows thesis’ argues that broken windows, vacant lots, and abandoned houses leads to community decline. Similarly, a noisy community indicates that the bad guys are in control, the police have given up, and good people move out. Noise is Americans’ #1 complaint about their neighborhood and the #1 reason they wish to move.”

Noise Free America: A Coalition to Promote Quiet is a national citizens’ organization opposed to noise pollution. Past “winners” of the Noisy Dozen award include the Pennsylvania General Assembly, the Erie “Roar on the Shore,” and the Pennsylvania Harley Owners Group.