by Mark Haag

Quiet North Blog

January 1, 2010

The Wisconsin State Journal has an editorial about motorcycle noise that doesn’t actually address any of the complaints about motorcycle noise. Instead, they take umbrage at a group called “Noise Free America,” calling them shrill for, well, taking umbrage at motorcycle noise.

I don’t know anything about the group “Noise Free America.” Perhaps they are shrill and use a shotgun approach to advocacy. But, from their press release, the group seems to make four points that the editorial staff could have attempted to refute with evidence and argument. To summarize:

-Harleys are loud, as motorcycles go.
-Many Harley owners make a virtue of making their bikes even louder with after-market tinkering.
-Noise is unhealthy for us.
-Noise screws with a lot of other people’s interests and activities.

Instead, the only point that the Wisconsin State Journal manages to address is the final one, and only the way that all such complaints are addressed: By name calling. Or, to be more generous, with the following argument: “Complaining that noise screws with your interests and activities isn’t a valid point because we don’t recognize your interests and activities.”

A recent television commercial showed the joy of Harley riders cruising along winding rural Wisconsin roads. Rural roads often wind because they follow river valleys. Canoeists and Anglers also like river valleys-partly because they are ways of getting away from human noise. This does not have to be a conflict because motorcycles don’t have to make so much noise.