Last week Patch put up a poll and asked readers to weigh in on the debate over motorcycle noise in downtown Port Jefferson. The poll showed an even split and those who wrote in with their responses were also mixed on the issue.
“Motorcycle noise in Port Jefferson is a problem even when you're up near St. Charles Hospital, where we live near Oakwood Road,” one reader emailed us.
The reader also complained about truckers using “brake retractors” that make the trucks noisier.
“These two sources of nuisance noise are loud enough to traumatize infants, old people and many others,” the reader said.
Bryan Rivera commented, pointing out another source of noise pollution.
“At least motorcycles are legal,” Rivera wrote. “Come over to the south side of 347 where it's an ATV motocross rally every day. I've even seen them screwing around on 112 in traffic.”
Village Trustee Laurence La Pointe told Patch that the Suffolk County Police Department is responsible for enforcing the traffic code that covers motorcycle noise. Some bikers alter their motorcycles by taking off the mufflers and installing straight pipes, making them sound louder for effect and performance.
Suffolk County Police gave statistics for 2012 up to the end of August, saying that four tickets were issues for noise for any vehicle type in the village. (The police do not differentiate between motorcycles and cars in their statistics.)
Some thought that four tickets wasn’t enough.
“Four tickets in a year is a joke,” said a commenter who only used his first name. Kevin said that the noise is unnecessary and that the noise from bikes with illegally altered mufflers degrades our environment.
“I had to move from Main Street due to the motorcycle noise at night,” he said. “Pedestrians have to cover their ears and downtown in a car with the windows down is very uncomfortable.”
He says that he stays away from downtown because of the noise.
“The noise infringes on my rights to enjoy our village,” Kevin said. “Get tough and ‘issue the tickets!’”
Another commenter agreed.
“There are noise restrictions on the books, enforce them,” wrote Dr. Remulak. “Some of these bikes are illegally adjusted in the aftermarket to be louder. Why must we suffer because a bunch of over-sized children must call attention to themselves with their big, bad bikes?” Charlie Masone said that he doesn’t go downtown on the weekends anymore so the bike noise doesn’t bother him there.
“But they drive past my home to get there that sucks,” he wrote.
JW wrote that people shouldn’t lump all bikers together.
“Please don't generalize and realize that not many bikes violate the noise restrictions,” JW said. “Those that do absolutely should be ticketed just the same as vehicles.”
Others want people to leave the bikers alone, since they enjoy coming downtown and contribute to the local economy just like everyone else.
“I love the sound of a Harley's riding by, also that biker's choose to spend their money in this town,” wrote Dbe. Tom G said he doesn’t have a problem at all.
“Everyone should just leave the Bikers alone,” he said.
Like anywhere else, Port Jefferson has a host of other problems that residents would like to see fixed and many said that the noise pollution from loud motorcycles isn’t the most important one.
“My husband rides a Harley and all I can say is that at least when he and his friends go to Port they are spending money in the businesses,” said Lynne. “Port Jeff has become a place for kids and gangs to hang out if people need to complain it should be about that.”
She said that storeowners should welcome bikers as potential customers since a majority of the bikers are respectful and courteous.
“Gangs and kids not so much,” Lynne said.
Dbe had his own issues.
“Isn't there more important things to worry about,” Dbe wrote. “I got one, how about paving Old Post Road? Have you been on it lately.”
Americanivory commented that the motorcycle noise doesn't bother him as much as the crime and homelessness.
“Get rid of this problem and stop worrying about things that don't warrant paying cops for,” he wrote. “Let's put this effort into cleaning up the homeless, gangs and drug dealers from Port and making it a safer community to live and visit.”
Bikers also commented.
"Cops and city officials: Write tickets at your own peril," said Dantheman. "We ride loud, but we spend money. Loud pipes save lives. If you don't like the sound, move. To bad for you cause we are here to stay."
Edward Perkowski used to ride and he doesn't have a problem with the bikers.
"I’ve had many a bike when younger and did the same thing by taking out the muffler or putting straight pipes or headers on bikes to feel big and attract attention," he said.
As he’s gotten older, Perkowski has had bit of a change of heart.
"Now I see why people got mad at me because those loud bikes scare my grandchildren when they go by," he said. "I got many a ticket for loud and altered exhaust on both my car and bike and just paid the fines but now I realize it was annoying to others."
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