Stillwater Police are renewing their efforts to hush excessive motorcycle noise downtown.
Motorcycle noise has been an issue Stillwater has been grappling with for years—it can be deafening to people hanging out at downtown patios and a "nuisance" for residents living downtown, and on Stillwater’s North and South hills.
“It’s a cyclical problem,” Stillwater Police Chief John Gannaway told Patch Wednesday afternoon. “This year we’ve seen an uptick in number of motorcyclists riding through town, and therefore we’ve had an uptick in the number of complaints.”
So police will be conducting enhanced noise enforcement in an attempt to quiet loud bikes.
The main issue is motorcyclists who rev the throttle while sitting at intersections and as they leave the north end of downtown, Gannaway said. A lot of the idling noise is fine, but it becomes an issue when people gun the throttle.
There are some bikes that are just loud no matter what, the chief said, and they too will get some extra attention.
“Motorcyclists need to go easy on the throttle in town, and they’ll be OK,” Gannaway said.
Police will use extra patrols downtown during the early evening hours and on weekends to enforce of the city’s noise ordinance, Gannaway said.
Stillwater is a motorcycle destination, Gannaway said. The enforcement isn’t aimed at picking on motorcycles.
“But it is a problem. I get emails and phone calls all the time from residents and people trying to enjoy outdoor cafés who can’t have a conversation with the person sitting next to them,” Gannaway said. “We want to make it clear to motorcyclists that there are potential consequences.”
The way downtown Stillwater is situated, with bluffs and tall buildings, the noise reverberates, Gannaway said, so everyone has to be realistic.
The last time police made an enhanced effort to crack down on motorcycle noise, it caused quite the stir among motorcyclists and residents complaining about the noise, alike.
“The thing is, we all have to be realistic about this problem,” Gannaway said, “and that includes motorcyclists, residents and police officers.”