by Ron Simon

Mansfield News Journal

July 29, 2014

Friends who live in quieter precincts of the city or out in the country sometimes wonder how I can live with all the traffic noise on Wood Street.

The simple answer is that I have no choice and consequently put most of it out of mind.

My portion of Wood Street is a major cut-through between Lexington and Cline avenues. It also is the ambulance route to the hospital.

Boy, do those sirens drive the dogs next door daffy.

The one thing that drives me daffy is the motorcycle drivers who have fiddled with their mufflers.

Some cycles go by so quietly you barely hear them. But others can be heard from many blocks away, and they can make your windows rattle as they speed up and down the street.

Even worse are the trucks with modified mufflers and noisy, smoky exhaust stacks.

Some of these drivers come by in the early morning hours, gunning their engines every time they can to wake up the neighborhood.

The real sadists also have their radios turned up super loud to some nasty music station as they slowly cruise up and down the street.

I won’t even mention the waste items they toss out of their cars and trucks.

Now a pickup is one handy thing to have for hauling and real work.

Motorcycles are a lovely way to travel on warm, sunny days. I see them moving along the country roads and feel a twinge of jealousy as they go by.

Plenty of cycle riders travel the twisty dirt road to the top of Mount Jeez and never cause a problem. They are you and me with a better sense of adventure.

But the noisemakers get on every one’s nerves.

If you have a computer and email, you may have encountered an outfit called Noise Free America. This citizen group lobbies against any kind of outlandish noise.

I get Noise Free America mails via an old friend, Dr. Lorin Swinehart. An outdoors guy and an environmentalist, Lorin dislikes aggravating and useless noise. So he’s associated with Noise Free America.

In a recent newsletter, the NFA folks awarded their monthly “Noisy Dozen” award to the sponsors of a Harley rally in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, that includes “Hear the Thunder” in their promotions.

NFA folks say Harleys don’t leave the factory as rolling thunderstorms. It’s their “acoustically lawless owners” who fiddle with the mufflers. That’s against the law in a lot of states. But those laws are rarely enforced, NFA folks say.

That may be true here, too, but it would make my day if, at 2 a.m., I saw the red and blue flashing lights outside my window where the police stopped one of those noisy riders.

I think most riders have more interesting things to do than stay up all night just to create irritating noise on quiet streets.

Until that happens, I just have to put up with it.

If anyone reading this diatribe is interested, they can email NFA board member Ted Rueter at [email protected]

Ron Simon is a retired reporter, award-winning columnist and veteran of the U.S. Armed Forces. He can be reached at [email protected].