Bikers silenced

Noisy exhausts, legal or not?

Recent debate about motorcyclists in Rye has featured mixed views and opinions and it seems that, whilst visiting motorcyclists are not deemed to be a problem in general terms, what whips up hostile public opinion is not only the unnecessary speed some travel at, but more so, the excessive noise, particularly at weekends. The majority seem to show consideration, but a seemingly growing minority make life unnecessarily frustrating.

According to a recent BBC World News report it seems Paris has had the same problem as – since lockdown and with traffic numbers considerably reduced – the only noticeable noise other than the birdsong are the sirens of emergency vehicles and noisy motorbikes.

But the locals and the Parisian authorities have had enough, and the police have set up patrols to stop and test the decibel levels on scooters and motorbikes – with offenders being fined or their machines confiscated. In addition they have introduced an automated system, which seems to link into their street cameras, which not only tracks and records the bikers’ movements, but also records the level of noise they make, which is relayed back to a central point where fines and notices are automatically issued.

Perhaps much of this could be avoided as in France it appears it is commonplace for a silencer or baffle to be removed to make the machine sound ‘better’, and it is relatively inexpensive to do, and it only takes a few minutes to remove – and that same culture has spread to the UK.

If this is the origin of the problem, then perhaps the finger of blame should be pointed more at the exhaust manufacturers, and at garages who later modify the exhausts, rather than the bikers, so could noise levels be improved at source? It is a thought and a step in the right direction and the notion of linking in with street cameras is something to aim towards, assuming the cameras exist in the first place.

Persuading speeding bikers (and car drivers) to obey the set speed limits could be more of a challenge particularly with our police resources being overstretched as they are – but we live in hope.

Image Credits: Rye News library .


  1. Couldn’t the flood barriers at the Strand be closed, preventing the dozens of bikers from congregating there? Mind you, no doubt they’d find another spot…

  2. It’s Sunday morning, just past 11.00am. I’ve heard over 30 motorbikes with excessively loud exhaust pipes. I’m hidden behind trees, not directly on the road, yet the noise scares any wildlife in my garden. “Bikers Silenced” ? I don’t think so!

  3. Of the hundreds of motorcyclists using Military Road on Sunday, I’d say that 75% were exceeding the 30 mph speed limit and 95% were in violation of noise-level statutes. The parade started at 7 AM and continued throughout the day. I would love to see a police speed camera van parked on Military Road for a few hours every weekend—even better if they had a microphone to record illegal mufflers.

  4. Perhaps the noisy bikers could be invited to stay a couple of Sundays next to the routes they use as racetracks, then they might realise how awful their noise is. Quiet motorbikes are perfectly possible, being noisy is not impressive, or manly, it’s just really really irritating!

  5. They don’t have noisy exhaust pipes, they are the pipes that the bikes are sold with. They are noisy because they are speeding!!!
    Unfortunately, Rye is a very well known place (you can’t have a haven for tourists, and keep it secret!), and that means that people will come to visit.
    When I used to work in London, I was asked once by a colleague who biked to work where I was from. When I told him Rye, he said he knew it from his bike runs.
    Apparently, the preferred route is down to the coast via the A2, across the Marsh to Rye. Have a cuppa and a bite, then across to Eastbourne (or maybe Brighton) and up the A22 or 23 home.
    The worst thing for bikers is a long straight road. They love our twisty turny ones.
    I’m sorry – but you can’t live in a town that depends on visitors to survive, and then say that you don’t want them here.

    • Sorry, but I must disagree. That’s not factually correct regards motorbikes being sold with noisy exhaust pipes. Many bikers have their bikes fitted with extra noise enhancing nonsense. It’s the same as the young men who do it to mediocre cars. It’s the bizarre “look at me” ego trip. We hear motorbikes going over the bridge at Rye Hill which are not at full speed, and the noise is beyond belief. It scares the wildlife, it’s very scary for pedestrians. This is not something that’s been going on for decades, and it’s not something done by responsible bikers. I’m not being a NIMBY who wants to ban bikers. What I want is responsible bikers and car drivers who obey the speed limit and respect the environment. This isn’t about tourism. The bikers are not tourists. They don’t go into the main part of Rye and contribute to the economy. Rye is simply on their route, they have no interest in Rye as a location.

  6. Seemingly a Gordian Knot I’m afraid.

    Have Bikers and Residents representatives met face to face, without confrontation ? (eg not on a Sunday morning, with adrenaline flowing from a bike ride on one side and some hours of listening to bikes seemingly roar pas on the othert).

    Is a workable solution possible,?

    Only some sort of agreement/compromise between residents and bikers / bikers and residents, can alleviate the situation, if indeed this is at all possible ?

    I am a cyclist, with no wish for speed, but am also a realist, and one who is a believer in the human the spirit.

    Please consider something like this before officialdom takes over with not enough regard for either side of the issue.

    The Best of luck to all involved
    One Love
    One World
    Pat Barrett
    (Rye Resident)

  7. We face the regular, deafening onslaught from bikers on Udimore Rd. I’m of the opinion, like one of the correspondents above, that it’s not so much speed as noise. A lot of the bikers are ‘mature’ chaps, and most ride reasonably sensibly (though there are exceptions). It’s the noise that really spoils the experience of living in our wonderful part of the world. But, as I keep suggesting hopefully to my wife, pretty soo. They’ll all be electric… I hope…

    • There’s a very noisy solitary motorcycle on the A259 at about 6:30 every morning, presumably going to work. In summer I’m awake early, but the rest of the year it often wakes me up (and neighbours I’ve spoken to). Sometimes I can hear it coming all the way round Rye, along the Military Road, round Winchelsea and past the motel. He must be affecting hundreds of people. I’ve been told that bikers have one set of quiet exhaust pipes to pass their MOT and then put on their noisy ones. ☹️


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