I am unhappy with the excessive motorcycle noise in front of my apartment on Ala Moana Boulevard. Mopeds, Harley Davidsons and bikes that sound like Harleys roar up and down and the law is never enforced. I even went to Ala Moana Boulevard when the hogs were doing their toys for tots drive and recorded decibel levels in excess of 100 when they pulled out of the park into the parade. That's also when the gave their bikes a little celebratory revving. "Noise, man, noise; lots of noise!" you could hear them saying as if paradise is found in a snarling machine. They seem to enjoy the macho camaraderie of being in a gang that makes the loudest roar. A policeman with several stars on his shoulders was standing there overseeing everything. I asked him what would be done by his officers. He shrugged his shoulders, probably thinking I was a cad to be raining on the toys for tots effort. The regulations I've discovered on my own research (which I'm sure is incomplete) says things like "an exhaust system should fail inspection if it emits a much louder noise than that emitted by the vehicle as equipped from the factory". And what if Harley Davidsons are built too loud in the first place? They are capable of 80 dB with no modification from day one yet a bill in the Hawaii legislature in 2017 prohibited vehicles making more than sixty decibels.
The potentially good news is Harley is making an electric motorcycle which will be noiseless. Now is the time to make sure they don't add a noisemaker to the system so their customer base will still be able to enjoy their noise. So now is the time to enact legislation that bars registration of any vehicle CAPABLE of making more than 60 dB. The average dB level for a car idling at a traffic light is about 40 dB; and it goes up to 60 on the freeway; but a hog can do 80 without trying. Sometimes Harley’s go over 100 dB without modification of the factory original. Don't forget 70 dB is ten times louder than 60; and 80 dB is ten times louder than 70, which means it’s fully 100 times louder than 60. This is unsafe. What can I do?
Quieter O'ahu Response:
Aloha. Thanks for your note. Agree with your assessment completely. Would point out that the loudest of the loud aftermarket exhausts for motorcycles registers a booming 125dB. On our motorcycle noise page we have a video of a common "Loud Pipe Contest" at a bike rally and you again are correct that it's just about the noise. Nothing else. Mine is bigger/louder than yours. Infantile.
What can you do? We always recommend participating and lending your voice in your neighborhood board. I think you'll find many more like-minded members of the community. At the board meetings urge - insist - that your board hold HPD accountable for non-enforcement. There's an HPD rep every month at every board meeting and anyone can ask them questions. A good one might be "why aren't you enforcing the law?"
For Quieter O'ahu, we continue to educate the public about noise, the mechanics of noise, and the worst noises we face on O'ahu. We are also building a mailing list of concerned individuals and when we reach a meaningful threshold or about 250 - 300 participants (we're at approximately 200 now) we plan on beginning mailing campaigns to HPD, City Council, and the Legislature letting them know in a full-throated voice that we've had enough and we're going to begin voting our dissatisfaction with their performance on containing noise. With approximately 250 participants we project we can generate upwards to 500 - 750 emails. That would be significant.
We'll post your comments to our blog without attribution. Helps others knowing that they're not alone with their frustrations over noise.
Thanks again for your input.