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Bike silenc-errs shudder citizens
TNN | Jan 10, 2016, 01.08 PM IST
Pune: Aditya Ranade's 10-month-old daughter finds it difficult to sleep during the day and the night, and it's got nothing to do with being fretful.
The thundering of superbikes passing by Ranade's roadside home in Mayur Colony in Kothrud is the cause of her discomfort. The family is edgy, yet helpless against the growing menace of the noisy superbikes, many of them with silencers modified for that peculiar rattling effect.
The number of superbikes, or those priced upwards of Rs 5 lakh, have steadily increased in the city in the last three years. Besides their overwhelming looks and superior performance, many are notorious for the amount of sound they generate when in motion. "My daughter wakes up howling whenever a superbike passes on the road. After 8pm, several of them zip across our house one after another. The noise is unbearable and is disturbing for my parents too. The deafening noise they generate also drowns the sound of the television," Ranade said.
Police must crack down against the bike owners, he added. "The noise is far above the limits permissible in residential areas. There is clearly some tampering done by the bike owners who may have got the silencers intentionally modified," he said.
Motorcycle companies are in cohorts with the buyers, alleged senior citizen Sudhir Lalye, a resident of Ramnagar Colony on NDA-Pashan Road.
"I go for my evening walk to Necklace Garden around 6.30pm. The amount of noise that a superbike generates after passing by hurts my ears, as well as those of my friends. I once approached a dealer of one such premium bike company near my house who admitted that they get a lot of requests for modifying silencers. He told me about fittings like an Indori Phataka to the silencer for Rs 2,500 to Rs 4,000. Most bike owners are young boys who give two hoots about the law and use their vehicles to lord it over the road. The traffic police should act against them," he said.
Deeksha Bannerjee of Sus Road said the superbike in her residential compound made such a noise that they are forced to shut their ears when it is being driven. "In fact, it can be heard even when it has reached the main road. I wonder how the owner tolerates all that noise which is irritating and disorienting," she added.
Admitting that noisy bikes are a nuisance, deputy commissioner of police (traffic) Sarang Awad, said, "The noise levels are definitely high and can be very disturbing, especially at night, early mornings and on weekends. We take action against all such bike owners who intentionally modify their silencers. They must certainly desist from disturbing citizens in residential areas and around hospitals."
The traffic police have taken action against 234 such offenders in 2015, their records reveal. The bikers are charged under section 190 (2) of the Motor Vehicle Act, which pertains to improper modifications to vehicles. The fine for modifications, in this case changes made to the silencer, could be up to Rs 1,000. They are also punished for causing a public nuisance.
Enforcement is key
Sumaira Abdulali, founder of Awaaz Foundation that works against noise pollution, said the maximum sound permitted for all types of vehicles is 85 dB. "The noise levels of the modified silencers are more than that, so they are clearly illegal. It is up to the traffic police to enforce the rule, impound the vehicle if need be, just like they would act for any other safety violation of the Motor Vehicles Act. The excessive noise of modified silencers is not only irritating to those who are forced to be exposed to it, but also equally dangerous, even healthwise, for the bike owner who is exposed to it," she added.
Bad for the bike
Altering the silencer also affects the performance of the bike, said Rashmi Urdhwareshe, director of the city-based Automotive Research Association of India. "Silencers and exhaust handling systems control the engine noise and emissions. It is critical that the silencer fitted by the manufacturer is not tampered with. Any change is an unauthorized fitting. Such an alteration often leads to deterioration in emission performance and fuel efficiency. Authorities should keep a close watch on noisy vehicles, besides conducting awareness among youths," she said.
Awaaz Foundation's anti- noise pollution campaign has been covered extensively in the Press and media since 2003.