Here in the Philippines, motorcycles are the preferred type of transportation compared to privately owned vehicles because of their accessible price point and their versatility. If you did not know, traffic is a common occurrence in the city streets of the Philippines, which makes motorcycle use an imperative.
People use this mode of transport to avoid the traffic and to be able to maneuver through the narrow spaces that cars leave during congestion. Moreover, motorcycles are mostly marketed to the middle-class; because it allows them to have a vehicle that can bring them to point A to point B. This also causes the motorcycle owner to invest on their vehicle and incorporate customizations to it. This is the reason why universal mufflers and other paraphernalia motorcycles need are for sale and can be seen throughout the streets of the Metro.
Regarding the mufflers, for most people, the louder their motorcycle is, the better it is. This is why mufflers are usually modified to suit the taste of the owner. But in recent years, an act has been passed that forbade the modification of mufflers to increase the noise of a motorcycle’s engine. Let’s talk about that!
For most vehicles, the engines that they use to run are of the combustion type. This means that they use combustion in the inner chamber of the engine to make the wheels rotate. This is a simple process to take note of, but while these kinds of engines are easy enough to understand, most people wouldn’t know of the noise that they make.
This is why these engines have silencers or mufflers that reduce the noise made by the constant combustion inside the engine. If the vehicle doesn’t have a muffler, the noise that their engines make would reach up to 194 decibels! If you didn’t know, 194 dB is the maximum threshold of sound; if it is exceeded, shock waves will form through the sound waves that can come out from the source.
Allowing your vehicle to reach 194 dB will not only damage the vehicle itself, but also the driver and anyone who’s close enough to hear it. The muffler acts as the one that reduces the noise output of the engine, which makes the decibels that the engine makes, reach only up to 85 dB.
But when motorcycle owners remove or modify their mufflers, their engine noise output reaches up to 120 decibels. This is harmful to the biker and the person around them because it can lead to serious health problems.
A recently filed bill actually seeks to criminalize anyone that practices modification of their mufflers. Also known as the Muffler Act of 2016, this bill aims to prohibit motorcycles and other vehicles—both in the public and private sector—that make use of muffler modifications to increase the noise output of their engines.
This bill also sets a limit for the noise level that a vehicle can make; it has a limit of 70 decibels, and whoever exceeds this limit will be penalized. Those who use their vehicles for sports and auto shows, however, will be exempted from this bill.
Fun fact: The Philippine President has expressed his distaste for loud vehicles. When he was the mayor for Davao City, he sought to pass an ordinance that prohibits changing a motorcycle’s muffler or anything that can increase its noise, smoke, or fumes.
Whenever you plan to modify your vehicle of choice, always think of the people that can be affected by the modifications you make.