In today's news feeds comes an article out of the US that has me scratching my head.

MIC opposes minimum noise levels for electric motorcycles

According to the article: The NHTSA has published a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking for FMVSS No. 141, Minimum Sound Requirements for Hybrid and Electric Vehicles. The rule would set minimum sound requirements for hybrid and electric vehicles, including but not limited to, motorcycles. Pursuant to the Pedestrian Safety Enhancement Act in 2010, FMVSS No. 141 is designed to ensure that blind, visually impaired and other pedestrians are able to detect nearby hybrid and electric vehicles in a range of ambient environments. End quote.

It seems reasonable that in today's noisy world there should be some noise emitted from all vehicles in order that person's who are visually impaired and blind be able to detect the presence of a vehicle.

Why would the manufacturers be opposed to a minimum noise requirement from electric motorcycles?
According to the article the manufactures are concerned that the addition of a stereo system to an electric motorcycle would shorten the range of the motorcycle and that riders are better at detecting danger than the average motorist:
In the MIC’s comments, the organization argued that because of the unique attributes of motorcycles, the NHTSA should not need to require a minimum sound for them. The MIC says that motorcycle riders are better able to see and avoid pedestrians because their sight is unobstructed, and motorcyclists are more alert because of their vulnerability. The MIC also stated that electric motorcycles are not quiet, so they shouldn’t need to be subject to minimum sound requirements.

The MIC stated further that adding a speaker system to electric motorcycles to emit sounds would be an issue because motorcycles have less space to add such a system, the weight of the system would have a large effect on the motorcycle’s low-speed stability, energy consumption of the speaker system would have a greater impact on a motorcycle’s range and the price of installing the system would be higher than with automobiles. End Quote.

I am confused - I get that the electric motorcycle's range might be shortened - but seriously - motorcycles have less space for a sound system? I guess the MIC has never ridden a full dressed H-D or many of the other motorcycles that have onboard stereos.  And what's this idea of holding the motorcyclists responsible for the safety of others?

I sometimes wonder at the wisdom of the Manufacturers Industry Council - these are the same people who brought us the J2825 SAE test...

What are your thoughts on this topic? I'd dearly love to know.

There are numerous articles in the news feeds today that may have interest to you, check them out at

We are getting some great name suggestions for my Beaver Mascot - have you recommended a name yet?

We have a week left for you to get your machine entered in our online show 'n' shine - it's free to enter and we have some great prizes up for grabs!

I leave you with a few funnies shared with me by friends from Facebook and via emails...

Have a great day everyone.
Belt Drive Betty
Editor & Rider

Post a Comment

  1. BD Betty:

    I think vehicles which emit NO NOISE are hazards on the road. I can tell you from first hand experience riding in areas of our city with dedicated bike lanes . . .

    Bicyclists (the pedal kind) do not obey the rules of the road, they do not stop at stop signs, they do not stay in their lanes and they come out of nowhere, cutting in front and behind. Now we are talking in the evening when the sun has gone down. They do not have reflectors or even lights, in most cases. They think that they have the right of way and ride like they own the road.

    I can't imagine electric scooterists are much different. Most of these riders have no formal training, no license and no insurance, and perhaps, not a lot of road experience in heavy traffic and it shows most of the time when they do silly maneuvers without consequence. If there is an accident, usually our Government Insurance ICBC will take their side

    Riding the Wet Coast