Big Brother Now Listening as Well as Watching You

New trial in UK has cameras listening out for noisy cars and bikes

Speed cameras have become commonplace but noise ’cameras’ are a worrying new trend that we might have brought upon ourselves.

Big Brother Now Listening To You as Well as Watching

Big Brother Now Listening as Well as Watching You
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First Speed Cameras: Now, Noise ’Cameras’
Trials set to begin in the UK on cameras can will listen to your bikes. Police can use evidence to prosecute for being too loud

Cameras monitoring our every move on both urban and rural streets are now so commonplace that we have forgotten how to protest about the constant surveillance to which we are subjected.

We might rail against speed cameras which seem designed more to collect revenue rather than promote road safety, but they are there to enforce a law.

However, there is a worrying development going on trial in England and Wales that is designed to further impinge on our freedom. Four locations have been chosen to have new noise-detection technology installed, which will automatically detect cars and bikes breaking noise regulations. The resulting evidence can be used by police for prosecution.

Big Brother Now Listening as Well as Watching You
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Motorcycles with after-market exhausts can be noisy and a nuisance to communities

Before we get all hot under the collar, it has to be admitted that motorcyclists don’t always help themselves. The fitting of loud aftermarket exhausts is a common modification and it wouldn’t be too bad if the riders of these bikes kept their speed down through small villages and towns late at night. But, as ever, it is the few who spoil it for the many and excessive revving of bikes in the dead of night or howling through built-up areas as fast - and noisily - as possible is never going to win friends.

Grabt Schapps, Transport Secretary for the UK government said, “We want those in Britain’s noisiest streets, who are kept up at night by unbearable revving engines and noisy exhausts, to come forward with the help of volunteer areas to test and perfect the latest innovative technology.

“For too long, rowdy drivers have been able to get away with disturbing our communities with illegal noisy vehicles.”

The technology is still in the design and trial phase but that usually means it is ready to be deployed and authorities simply need to know if it works and produces results.

Big Brother Now Listening as Well as Watching You
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Think Twice Before Fitting that New Exhaust
it might give you a bit more power, but it could also see you fall foul of noise laws

Noise Abatement Society chief executive Gloria Elliott, added: “Excessively noisy vehicles cause unnecessary disturbance, stress and anxiety to many and, in some cases, physical pain. They disrupt the environment and people’s peaceful enjoyment of their homes and public places
“Communities across the UK are increasingly suffering from this entirely avoidable blight. The Noise Abatement Society applauds rigorous, evidence-based solutions to address this issue and protect the public.”

If this seems like yet another scheme to gradually erode the freedom we enjoy as individuals then, yes, you might be right. But, by the same token, perhaps we should also be working to protect that freedom by being responsible and not annoying others.

Is it too much to imagine that, one day, each vehicle on the road being connected wirelessly to a central hub which will monitor your every second in your car or on your bike so that personal transport becomes not an expression of individuality but simply a means of getting from A to B?

Harry Fisher
Harry Fisher
Motorcycling Contributor
Born and raised in England, he has lived in South Africa with his family since 2002. Harry has owned examples of Triumph, Norton, BSA, MV Agusta, Honda, BMW, Ducati, Harley Davidson, Kawasaki and Moto Morini motorcycles. He regrets selling all of them.  Read full bio
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