Boston Police unveiled a new voluntary program to reduce motorcycle noise on North End streets, called “Pipe Down Please.” The Boston initiative is mirrored after a successful program in Golden, Colorado named “Silence is Golden.” The police will be handing out cards requesting cooperation from bikers on the neighborhood’s residential streets. Police intend to initially target areas that bikers tend to gather such as Hanover Street. The cards will remind city bikers of existing sound level restrictions and the value of public peace.
Boston Police from Area A-1, Captain O’Rourke, Sargent Lema and Officer Teddy Boyle discussed the “Pipe Down Please” program at the September North End Public Safety Meeting. The police commented that enthusiast bikers are likely to comply with the program while there will always be some troublemakers.
The outreach and self-policing program has had positive results in Golden, Colorado.This interesting story was on their website:
“In a bar, an officer shared this cooperative idea with a group of bikers. Shortly after the group went to the patio to chat about sharing the public peace value, two motorcycles with customized exhausts rode by with almost perfectly orchestrated timing. One was riding absolutely “rapped out” in a low gear, forcing the conversation to stop due to the bike’s loudness. The amazing part of this intrusion was that the bikers with whom the officer was conversing responded by exclaiming, “Now he needs a ticket!” They added that people who ride in that manner are “ruining the ride for the rest of us.” By contrast, the second motorcyclist, also riding a motorcycle with a customized exhaust, was in high gear with “low rev,” and the volume did not interrupt the conversation. The officer was quick to point out that the second motorcyclist was a great example of riding in a “community-friendly” fashion.”
The Golden, Colorado program also involved businesses that feared excessive noise would drive away tourists. Police indicated a cultural change needed to take place to diffuse an “us vs them” mentality with the bikers. Logo signs are posted in businesses and on street signs to give visability to the program.
The initiative follows the efforts of District 1 City Councilor Sal LaMattina who introduced a city ordinance that calls for an EPA stamp on all approved motorcycle mufflers operating in Boston. Without such a stamped muffler, the biker will be ticketed for a $300 fine. The ordinance was approved by the City Council and signed by the Mayor. However, a legal challenge has delayed its enforcement pending court proceedings. Despite the holdup on the city ordinance, police are looking at increased training with sound meters to enforce existing noise regulations.