Reagan Redd, mug, staff note

Reagan Redd

Correction: The Indy inaccurately reported the decibel levels allowed by law in its June 13 Indy Now blast titled ‘Huh?’ The actual decibel levels allowed by law for a vehicle weighing less than 10,000 pounds is 80 decibels. There are no specific decibel limits for motorcycles. The Indy regrets the errors.


“Shut the [expletive] up!” were my thoughts at 3 a.m. when what sounded like a jet engine zoomed by my bedroom. Of course, it wasn’t a jet but a loud, speedy motorcycle taking advantage of the empty pre-dawn roads. How loud it was is difficult to say but a study by University of Florida audiologists found that after testing the noise levels of 33 motorcycles throttling at full speed, the loudest was recorded at 119 decibels. For reference, the loudest recorded decibel level at the old Mile High Stadium, when fully packed with Broncos fans, was 128 decibels. Some might see this as a trifling annoyance, especially when considering the other serious public health risks this nation faces. Yet I urge those in the Springs, one of the fastest growing cities in the country, to take noise pollution seriously.

Studies abound on noise pollution's negative impacts on public health. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) reports that health issues related to noise include stress-related illnesses, high blood pressure, speech interference, heart disease and hearing loss. An underlying cause of many of these health issues is the sleep disturbance caused by traffic noise, according to the World Health Organization. Given that one of the primary sources of noise pollution in most U.S. cities is road traffic, the obvious place to start addressing this issue would be by policing loud vehicles.

While Europe is beginning to combat this problem, the U.S. backed away from legislation a long time ago, according to National Public Radio. France is on the forefront of traffic noise crackdowns, installing sound-detection devices with cameras throughout major cities and ticketing motor vehicle decibel violators through their license plates. Here, the Colorado Noise Statute prohibits vehicles from exceeding 55 decibels during the day and 50 decibels during the night —comparable to conversation and light rainfall, respectively.

Light rainfall at night sounds like a utopian fantasy compared to reality. I’ve lived around the world and the Springs has the most loud vehicles and motorcycles I’ve ever heard. The road I live by sounds like a racetrack early on Saturday mornings and I can feel my blood boiling with every rev.

Unfortunately, Colorado Springs doesn’t have the resources to install state-of-the-art sound violation machines, nor is the problem high on peoples’ agendas. Between potential wildfires, increasing crime, water management issues and so much more, we just don’t have the capacity to deal with this problem. Still, it seems to be a public health hazard to allow the equivalent of a packed NFL stadium ride through my neighborhood at 3 in the morning.

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