Despite Federal Council initiative: Scheuer rejects further restrictions

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Motorcycle noise

Debate about the volume of motorcycles

Despite Federal Council initiative: Scheuer rejects further restrictions
Jorg Kunstle,


traffic & business

Despite Federal Council initiative: Scheuer rejects further restrictions

Federal Council initiative against motorcycle noise
Transport Minister rejects further restrictions

On May 15, 2020, the Federal Council voted to limit the noise emissions for all new motorcycles to a maximum of 80 dB (A). This resolution was forwarded to the federal government. Federal Transport Minister Scheuer rejects further bans and restrictions. The advance is also criticized from Bavaria.

Uli Baumann,

Slawomir Niewrzol,

Dina Dervisevic


The Federal Council is committed to reducing the noise from motorcycles. In a resolution passed on May 15, 2020, he advocates limiting the permissible noise emissions of all new motorcycles to a maximum of 80 dB (A). The Federal Government should advocate this with the Commission accordingly. In addition, the Federal Council considers harsher penalties for tuning motorcycles necessary if the modifications result in a significant increase in noise. The sound design, which drivers can use to set the soundscape themselves, must be prohibited.

In an open letter, the Federal Association of Motorcyclists (BVDM) calls on the motorcycle industry to voluntarily produce motorcycles that are socially quiet in real driving conditions. The industry sees motorcyclists themselves as being responsible.

Scheuer (CSU) against further bans

The federal states have agreed in the Federal Council that they consider time-limited traffic bans for motorcycles on Sundays and public holidays to be necessary for reasons of noise protection. Motorcycles with alternative drive technologies should be excluded. In general, the federal government should increasingly support the switch to sustainable and low-noise mobility with alternative drive technologies. It should be clear that these suggestions are not met with much approval by motorcyclists. Accordingly, an online petition has already been started to prevent driving bans on Sundays and public holidays, and here is to be found. After a very short time, the petition was signed by 50,000 people and the quorum was thus achieved.

The resolution of the Federal Council was forwarded to the federal government. This decides whether and when to implement the Federal Council’s suggestion. Federal Transport Minister Andreas Scheuer from the CSU has a clear stance on this: He rejects further bans and restrictions for motorcyclists. He told dpa at the beginning of July: “We have sufficient, applicable rules. During the protests, the bikers show their stance against tightening and bans. That is also my attitude. I will not implement the resolutions of the Federal Council, i.e. the federal states.”

Support for motorcyclists also from Bavaria

Bavaria’s Minister of Economic Affairs Hubert Aiwanger (Free Voters) has also spoken out in favor of motorcyclists being allowed to travel on Sundays and public holidays as before. “I don’t want to forbid people to ride a motorcycle”, he said to the Augsburger Allgemeine. “You don’t have to regulate everything and you have to let all five be. Otherwise a culture of prohibition creeps in, where people disturb everything, from the crowing bell to the ringing of church bells”, Aiwanger commented on a Federal Council proposal.

Vehicle security should be made easier

In addition, the federal states demand the right for police officers to immediately seize vehicles in the event of serious noise violations or to confiscate them on the spot. The Federal Council’s website also states that a solution must be found to ensure that speeders often escaped punishment because they were not recognized due to the requirement to wear a helmet and the lack of front license plates on the motorcycle. The Federal Council is also making changes to liability in order to be able to prosecute motorcycle owners for at least the costs of drawing up a notice of fines.

Funding program for the acquisition of noise displays

The individual federal states also promote measures against motorcycle noise. For example, the Baden-Wurttemberg Ministry of Transport supports municipalities and districts with the purchase of motorcycle noise displays with up to 4,000 euros. Troubled cities and municipalities as well as rural and urban districts can apply for state funding for the purchase of displays against motorcycle noise until June 30, 2020. According to Transport Minister Winfried Hermann, 31 noise displays are already in use across the country. Minister Hermann underlined: “The motorcycle noise displays have proven to be an amazingly effective measure in the fight against motorcycle noise. The displays rely on the voluntariness and responsibility of the bikers. With these advertisements, we appeal to common sense and encourage people to be considerate of local residents. But the police will also check bikers more often. Nevertheless, further legal measures are required at national and European level in order to permanently reduce noise pollution. We are working on that.”

Two municipalities reject the noise initiative “Silent rider” away

“Silent rider” is the name of an initiative against motorcycle noise that was founded in the Eifel and tries to win over cities and communities. Recently, at the end of August 2020, the communities of Schalksmuhle in North Rhine-Westphalia and Nordrach in Baden-Wurttemberg voted against joining the Silent Rider Initiative. The responsible politicians see responsibility for “Violations of speed limits, manipulation of exhaust systems as well as willful and inappropriate behavior”, at the police station. The task of counteracting noise pollution is not the task of the municipalities.

Open letter from BVDM

The subject of driving bans due to too loud motorcycles continues to dominate the headlines in the motorcycle industry. At the beginning of June, the Federal Association of Motorcyclists (BVDM) also spoke up and asked the motorcycle industry in an open letter to voluntarily produce motorcycles that are socially quiet in real driving conditions. Among other things, the BVDM calls on manufacturers to develop and sell quieter and affordable retrofit solutions for the best-selling models. The BVDM appeals to the Motorcycle Industry Association (IVM e.V.) to use its influence to induce manufacturers to produce quieter vehicles. Below we provide you with the complete BVDM document:


Open letter from the BVDM to the leading motorcycle manufacturers and the Motorcycle Industry Association (IVM) 0.12 MByte

Manufacturers see responsibility in motorcyclists

The Motorcycle Industry Association (IVM) as the representative body of motorcycle manufacturers in Germany has so far been reluctant to make an official statement. In one Interview with the “taz” Association spokesman Achim Marten spoke up: “First of all, start running the machines more quietly”, Marten appealed to the biker community. “We see the main responsibility with the drivers themselves.”

Online petition against driving bans

It should be clear that the proposals on driving bans are not met with much approval by motorcyclists. Accordingly, an online petition has already been started to prevent driving bans on Sundays and public holidays, and here is to be found. After a very short time, the petition was signed by 50,000 people and the quorum was thus achieved.

The current regulation has many loopholes

Unsurprisingly, numerous industry insiders have meanwhile also commented on the two topics. There are both critical and sympathetic expressions within the industry. Achim Marten, spokesman for the Motorcycle Industry Association (IVM), spoke to colleagues from Spiegel as follows about the Federal Council decision: “The requirement for 80 decibels in all driving conditions is unrealistic. It is not defined at what speed, where and how measurements are taken. Anyone who drives past a measuring point on a normal motorcycle that complies with the rules at 100 km / h is always louder than 80 decibels.”

Michael Lenzen, Chairman of the Federal Association of Motorcyclists, who is in principle in favor of fixed upper noise limits, was also critical of the current regulations: “We have long been calling for a fixed upper noise limit that applies in all driving situations. The Federal Council has not defined whether the 80 decibels are intended as stationary or driving noise, nor what a measurement method should look like at all. Such a blanket requirement that has not been coordinated with experts is of no use.”

If you take a closer look at the current regulation, it becomes clear that the current limit value is 77 decibels – i.e. below the 80 decibels now required. Currently, measurements are taken when driving past, once with and once without acceleration. However, this restriction can currently be circumvented relatively easily. Holger Siegel, Chairman of the United Working Groups against Motorcycle Noise (VAGM), shows the problem using the example of a Euro 3 Panigale: “A Ducati Panigale that was approved according to the Euro3 standard valid until 2016 and is subject to grandfathering, may not be loud at more than 80 decibels. However, it only has to adhere to this value at 36.6 km / h in third gear. On the other hand, it can be 107 decibels when standing at half the rated speed, and it is significantly louder at full throttle.” According to Siegel, this loophole was not closed when the Euro4 standard was introduced, which was also ours Practical test “Euro3 vs. Euro4” confirmed.

Siegel further explains: “This is due to the flap exhausts that are installed in almost all modern machines. These are actually supposed to improve the torque curve through targeted interventions in the exhaust gas flow – but at the same time help to keep the volume limits in the tests despite ever higher peak performance. The manufacturers have too much influence on the design of the regulations. So far, the industry has made recommendations, which are then poured into limit values. However, a standard does not have to be based on what is technically possible, but on what is appropriate from a health point of view. Legislators should intervene and prescribe limit values ​​that manufacturers then have to adhere to.”

Driving bans discriminate against motorcyclists

When it comes to driving bans on Sundays and public holidays, however, most industry insiders largely agree. Above all, the Federal Association of Motorcyclists in the person of Michael Lenzen made clear statements on this topic to colleagues from Spiegel and even described such a driving ban as discrimination: “Those who do not talk about sports cars and quads, but at the same time want to shut out motorcyclists on certain routes on weekends and holidays, discriminate against four million people. Before passing new laws, the available options should first be exhausted. The anger of the residents is absolutely understandable, but we should solve this problem together without locking out decent motorcyclists across the board.”

The ADAC describes collective penalties against motorcyclists as inappropriate and instead calls for other solutions, such as noise displays and increased police checks.

The Biker Union, representing the interests of bikers, rockers and motorcyclists, has also taken a position on the Federal Council initiative. “Of course we know that there are problems with unacceptably loud motorcycles in some scenic areas”, says Rolf Frieling, Chairman of the Biker Union e.V.. “That is why we have been working with various municipalities and districts to solve the problem for years. Because a lack of consideration for residents on busy motorcycle routes is not a trivial offense, even from our point of view. In doing so, however, we repeatedly find that tuned cars and other sources of noise also lead to unacceptable noise pollution for residents. We don’t want to point the finger at others. Since the Federal Council only targets motorcycles in its resolution, the issue is obviously not at stake. Instead, a witch hunt is used on motorcyclists.”

“The closure of roads only for motorcycles due to noise pollution would be a clear violation of the principle of equality and the introduction of family liability for the mass of motorized two-wheelers who drive considerately and adhere to the rules. That would be completely disproportionate”, so Frieling. “In addition, the Federal Constitutional Court ruled that owner liability was unconstitutional as early as 1989.”

Noise avoidance is limited due to the design

Manfred Bach, board member of the BU, adds: “The Federal Council’s catalog of demands suggests that there was a lack of expertise in its formulation. An absolute noise limit of 80 dB (A) in all driving conditions would mean the end of the internal combustion engine in motorcycles. In contrast to cars, the options for avoiding noise in motorized two-wheelers are limited due to the design. Even with modern machines, which are usually extremely quiet, there can be operating states that occur extremely rarely in real road traffic, but in which the limit would be slightly exceeded. Even if such a limit were introduced, it would only apply to new vehicles. With a current vehicle fleet of around 4.4 million registered motorcycles, it would take at least 10 to 15 years for this to become noticeable on the roads.”

opinion poll

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How do you feel about motorcycling and noise??

There is no need for excessive noise, so I adapt my driving style.

This is not noise, but sound – and it is part of riding a motorcycle, no matter how loud.

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The pressure is growing. If the motorcyclist community does not manage to calm down the black sheep in their ranks soon, all motorcyclists will have to pay for the consequences.

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