The temperature outside reached the 80s last week and I did what any normal person would do: I threw open the windows and the doors. I took my coffee outside in the sun to bask in the warm breeze. I sank into a chair and reached for my trusty electronic news device.
My reverie lasted approximately three minutes.
Then the earsplitting VROOOOOOM of an illegally modified motorcycle erupted on the street, reverberating off the buildings and driving me back inside where I could close the windows and seethe in peace.
The season of the underdeveloped, insecure, overcompensating child-man has begun.
These sad little exhibitionists torment the rest of us and, despite longstanding noise abatement ordinances and limits on noise levels explicitly aimed at motorcycles, they gleefully flaunt the laws and get away with it all over Denver.
As spring turns to summer, the situation gets worse.
Several times a week, usually around midnight, gangs of 25, 30 or more of these vulgarians rally to parade around and around downtown, revving their engines and doing wheelies as they race past hotels, hospitals, apartments and condos with impunity.
They roar past WashPark and down Sixth Avenue. They terrorize the Park Hill neighborhood and treat Federal Boulevard like a lawless war zone.
I’ve heard the cyclists’ argument that “Loud Pipes Save Lives.” They contend that they are forced to modify the mufflers on their bikes to make sure motorists hear them on the highways. They insist it’s merely self-preservation.
It’s utter nonsense.
Research has found that even the noisiest motorcycles can rarely be heard inside a car traveling on a highway with the windows closed and the radio on — at least not until they’re too close for a motorist to react in time to avoid a collision.
Better to ride defensively like your driver’s ed instructor told you.
Besides, it’s hard for me to take anybody seriously when he’s doing wheelies outside my window in the middle of the night. C’mon, if you really care about personal safety, put on a freakin’ helmet.
I know, I know. Lots of idiots drive loud cars, revving their obsolete gas engines at stoplights and cruising neighborhoods at all hours, too. I hold them in the same disdain.
I mean, didn’t that go out with poodle skirts?
So, as I prepare for another high-decibel summer, I’m thinking maybe it’s time for Denver to take a cue from European cities where enforcement of noise ordinances is getting very real with sound levels for motorcycles and souped-up cars monitored electronically and strict fines imposed on violators.
While I’m not exactly an expert in policing, I can’t imagine it would take much to do targeted enforcement in the locations in Denver where these nitwits routinely congregate.
One hot spot, the tunnel under the convention center, is such an egregious example, it seems obvious noise enforcement there could become a low-effort, high-reward revenue generator for the city.
I’d bet a set of my fanciest earplugs that a noise monitor would blow well past 135 decibels again and again in that location on any average summer night. Targeting obnoxious riders and their illegally modified motorcycles as they exit the tunnel on their back wheels seems like it might be an entertaining way for a cop to spend a night shift now and then.
If a little long-overdue law enforcement ends up costing each crotch-rocket boy $500 or $1,000 for a night of hellraising, well, let’s just say it might get their attention.
And if that fails, there’s always the ultimate solution: electric motorcycles.
They’re faster, cleaner, cheaper to operate and blissfully quiet. Even Harley-Davidson is betting on them as the future for its beloved hawgs.
In cities around the world that are fed up with the tyranny of puerile men and their ridiculous look-at-me machines, regulations are emerging to keep gas-powered motorcycles off the streets once and for all.
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I know what you’re thinking. It can’t happen here. They’ll never take my gas-powered motorcycle away, even out from under my cold, dead crotch.
But for all those who don’t want to part with the rumbling, squealing symbols of their precarious manhood, the solution is simple: respect the rest of us and knock off the childish rebellion.
You know what we’re thinking when you roar past our homes and wake us up in the middle of the night. It’s not that you’re cool.
Diane Carman is a Denver communications consultant.
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