May 1, 2005
Noise Free America
For immediate release
Madison: The “pocket motorcycle” industry has won this month’s Noisy Dozen award from Noise Free America for manufacturing a dangerous product that sounds like a leaf blower or a weed whacker. Pocket bikes are the latest noisy motorized gizmo.
Pocket bikes are miniature motorcycles, usually 15-18 inches high, that are capable of going 35 to 70 miles per hour. Weighing 35 to 60 pounds, they can be purchased for as little as $200, at speciality stores, auto parts stores, and even pharmaciies. Many retailers can’t keep this latest craze in stock. Pocket bikes are marketed to “enthusiasts” seeking “an extreme feel of the road.” Many pocket bikes are manufactured by little-known Chinese companies.
“Pocket bikes emit as much noise as lawn mowers and chain saws,” said Ted Rueter, Noise Free America’s director. “They emit a high-pitched screetch that rises in intensity to what sounds like a super-sized chain saw. The excessive noise is generated because these flimsy bikes have 2 1/2 to 3-horsepower engines, identical to the ones used in weed whackers and leaf blowers.”
These “lawnmowers on wheels” rip through many residential neighborhoods, disturbing the peace. Boston police lt. Kevin Foley stated, “In every district, the community groups were screaming about them.”
Pocket bikes, which buzz in and out of traffic, are also an extreme safety hazard. Connecticut state senator Bill Finch called pocket bikes “little rockets for kids.” The Consumer Product Safety Commission reports than more than 10,000 injuries were treated by emergency room physicians between July 1, 2003 and July 2, 2004.
Noise Free America is a national citizens group opposed to noise pollution. Its web site is http://www.noisefree.org. Past “winners” of the Noidy Dozen award include Flowmaster, Congressman Darrell Issa, Governor Jesse Ventura, and Youngstown, Ohio.