A minimum sound level is proposed for electric powered vehicles in USA!
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) which is a branch of the US Department of Transportation in USA raises the issue of the silent electric vehicles by proposing a minimum noise level which will improve road safety by making the silently approaching vehicle observable to pedestrians, bicycle riders and disabled people.
This issue is common to all drivers and riders of electric vehicles one way or the other. Every now and then a pedestrian will try to cross a street supposing by the quietness of the road that no vehicle is approaching. What a mistake! The editor of this website had two hair-rising moments like this in two out of the four tests of electric scoters and bicycle for moto-choice.com which would never occur at first place in the case of a normal internal combustion engine scooter. It¢s a dangerous situation that becomes more and more frequent as the electric motorcycles, bicycles and cars are increasing their silent presence on the streets.
Furthermore, the rider of the bike may not have the time to react when on a deserted street a pedestrian decides to walk across without prior looking at the silent road. Things seem to work in Germany, pedestrians there always wait at the red signaling traffic lights even when no vehicles are coming. In other countries, pedestrians take the initiative to walk across the road assuming that the street is empty, or not always on zebra crossings.
By modern sound technology, mp3s etc., the sound produced by an electric vehicle could be varying between a nice V-2 sound and a decent music playlist! The example of Dominos pizza in the Netherlands is distinctive. A beep-beep sound like that when the reverse gear of the trucks is engaged, could be a very prominent sound for the pedestrians, although it should be really annoying for riders. The editor would prefer the Aprilia RSV4 sound at legal levels, revving according to the throttle opening (even for a humble scooter!). Rider could get the chance to select between several sounds like the mobile phones¢ ringtones!
Anyway, well done NHTSA for being close to the real road safety issues of this world, hopefully the Europeans will deal with this issue also! At the meantime, loud pipes save lives!