Last weekend, hundreds of motorcyclists protested in Bern over two parliamentary initiatives aimed at silencing their bikes.
According to Le Matin, between 200 and 300 motorcyclists assembled to protest after calls were sent out via social media.
The proposed laws would ban motorcycles emitting more than 95 decibels from Swiss roads. 95 decibels is around double the sound emitted by a typical car. Touring Club Switzerland (TCS) estimates that around 10% of the 745,000 motorcycles registered in Switzerland emit sound above this limit.
A second initiative would allow greater use of anti noise radars, which measure the sound emitted from a passing motorcycle. These could be adapted to take photographs and issue fines when the noise limit is exceeded. A trial device, which does not issue fines, was installed in Geneva in July 2020, according to RTS.
Federal laws currently ban avoidable noise pollution. However, the laws do not set a noise limit, which makes it difficult to issue sanctions. Introducing a 95 decibel noise limit would make it easier to issue fines and other sanctions.
Data published in 2018 show that 1.1 million people in Switzerland are bothered by noise during the day and 1 million at night. The most frequent source of noise pollution is the road traffic, followed by rail and air traffic.
In Bade-Wurtemberg in Germany, noise detection devices and warning signs such as the one installed in Geneva led to a 50% fall in the number of noisy vehicles.
In neighbouring Austria the issue has generated so many complaints that the government introduced a ban on motorcycles emitting sound above 95 decibels from 10 June 2020 until 31 October 2020. The ban applies to all motorcycles used in the country regardless of where they are registered.