Too darn loud

So far this year, we kept the road rage, road construction editorials to a minimum. We’ve also let Hot August Nights, Burning Man, the Air Races, the Balloon Races and a lot of the other “special” events slip right through our editorial fingers, but we’ve got to admit right at the outset, we’ve got a love-hate relationship with Street Vibrations.

OK, Hot August Nights does tend to glorify a planet-killing mode of transportation and clog up the roads for those of us who try to make a living in this town. Burning Man? Who could fail to note the bags of dust-coated garbage left all over town after the event? The Air Races are loud, true, but they end long before bedtime, and their traffic impact is not generally felt in Reno. And the sheer beauty and idyllic peace of those brightly colored hot air balloons … well … we like the balloon races.

But Street Vibrations … that’s another breed of cat. The event’s hours are not defined by business hours—the roar of motorcycles can be heard throughout the valley at almost any time of night. No concessions are made for the usual sleeping times (and truth be told, that would be difficult to do in a 24-hour town like Reno). A large percentage of the participants do not follow Nevada law, particularly the law forbidding the splitting of lanes.

On the other hand, a loud bike is a safer bike. Many, many of those motorcycles are beautiful works of art and technical skill. The U.S. Constitution does guarantee the right to assemble. A few businesses make some money during the event. There’s no doubt that those bike owners don’t fit the stereotypes offered by 1953’s The Wild One—some of these machines cost more than many of us make in a year. In fact, participants in Street Vibrations have the reputation of tipping their bartenders and waitresses well, and being all-around pleasant people to have in town.

Most of us citizens, though—even those of us in this office who ride motorcycles throughout the year—are inconvenienced by the traffic, kept up to all hours, and disturbed even within our homes and workplaces.

Street Vibrations is not fair to the vast majority of people who live in Reno. We deserve our peace. If a less law-abiding motorcycle gang came through town, would that gang not be cited for disturbing the peace? In fact, isn’t it one of the government’s most fundamental responsibilities to “insure domestic tranquility,” as outlined in the preamble of the Constitution of the United States of America?

Where is the tranquility in Street Vibrations?

Police enforce noise regulations against disturbing the peace on bars and nightclubs, individuals in automobiles, fraternity houses and parties in basements. Why is the group that manages and profits from Street Vibrations given a pass against noise ordinances that other groups have to follow?

In the meantime and until our elected officials care more about the comfort of their constituents than about the few dollars that are so poorly spread around the Truckee Meadows, keep an eye out for motorcycle (and bicycle) riders. The constant drone of ubiquitous packs of motorcycles tends to make the hearing of individual bikes more difficult, so keep your eyes peeled and double check your blind spot when changing lanes—because we love the bikers and the bikes, but something’s got to be done about Street Vibrations’ noise.