An Annual Annoyance

Most of us would not rev up the chain saw or start a struggling lawnmower engine at 5 a.m. on a Saturday. We recognize that we have neighbors, even in the more rural areas of our communities, and part of our quality of life involves showing consideration to others.

But once the snow goes away and the open road calls, vehicles with mufflers that have been tinkered with and zooming motorcycles head out, sounding as if they are inside our homes, scaring the animals, waking the babies, and sending our blood pressure and our tempers soaring.

We understand the safety concerns of motorcycle riders – with noise a necessary evil to alert other vehicles on the road – but endless engine revving in the backyard, sending neighbors the odor of exhaust – and outrageously loud noise on the road do more to suddenly unsettle people than to encourage safe driving.

Most of us like to spend at least some of the summer outdoors. Whether it’s running the grill, enjoying a backyard pool, working in the garden or just taking a summertime nap with the Red Sox on the radio, we enjoy the quiet, the scent of flowers and the song of the birds.

And then we’re jolted into reality by the shockingly loud sounds of a souped up truck or motorcycle exhaust pipes. And if we’re on or near a hill, the noise is even more jarring.

We know this is the “Live Free or Die” state, but there needs to be a happy medium between ensuring the safety of the motorcycle rider while keeping the dishes – and the nerves – from rattling on private property.

Towns struggle repeatedly over noise ordinances – when fireworks can be shot off, how to regulate barking dogs, what construction hours work best for both builders and neighbors. Finding a compromise is never easy. Towns have an unsteady line to walk between an individual’s enjoyment or livelihood and respect for the rights of others.  But using rural residential roads as speedways is definitely a bit much.

What it all comes down to is respecting the people around us, regardless of who they are. And sadly for many, that does not seem to be a priority.