People walking along the Meaford harbourside over the Labour Day weekend were greeted by an impressive volume of vehicular noise pollution. The tonal quality of the noise resembles a group of three-year-olds banging on their tin pots.
An impromptu survey of the vehicle traffic indicates that the noise is produced by a small percentage (less than 10%) of predominantly low end U.S.-made vehicles and motorcycles. This does not suggest disrespect for U.S. manufacturers as at the upper end there were no loud Lincolns or clunker Cadillacs. Non-U.S. models did not include any noisy Nissans and with BMW, even their motorcycles are whisper quiet.
Most vehicles are not noisy provided that they are maintained, driven responsibly and the exhaust system has not been modified. Also, the noise phenomenon does not appear to be age-related nor related to the age or size of the vehicle.
At a time of increasing environmental concern, it can be noted that noisy vehicles are less fuel efficient. This is because a portion of the engine’s energy output is being diverted into producing noise. These vehicles are also prone to jackrabbit accelerations and the incomplete fuel combustion can produce a string of backfires when slowing for the stop signs. The backfires can be enhanced with motorcycles, either by removing the muffler or by replacing it with a length of chromed pipe. This reduces back pressure on the engine and allows waste gas vapour to be detonated in the piping.
The good news is that the majority of Meaford motorists are not seeking attention by driving noisy vehicles. Kudos to drivers who respect the environment and arrive at their destination in a quiet and fuel efficient manner.
Jim Molineux, Meaford