Paris may soon use sound radar to target loud motorcycles, report says

The device, also known as a Medusa, would work with CCTV to cite offending vehicles and reduce overall noise pollution.

Kyle Hyatt Former news and features editor
Kyle Hyatt (he/him/his) hails originally from the Pacific Northwest, but has long called Los Angeles home. He's had a lifelong obsession with cars and motorcycles (both old and new).
Kyle Hyatt
2 min read
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Sure, the new Tuono 660 looks and sounds great, but it shouldn't be too loud for Paris.


Major cities are loud, and that noise pollution often has a lot to do with people driving extremely loud cars around at all hours. I lived in downtown Los Angeles for three years and can attest to this personally. (I'm looking at you, everyone who drives a late-model V8-powered Stellantis product with an exhaust modification.) Paris wants to combat this kind of noise pollution by using a device called sound radar, also known as Medusa.

What exactly is sound radar? Well, it's this weird bundle-of-snakes-looking thing that city officials are considering putting up throughout Paris. The four microphones are triggered by sounds louder than a certain decibel level, which then triangulates the source of the sound and uses CCTV to photograph and cite the offending vehicle. By vehicle, I mean motorcycle, since that appears to be the primary target for this program.

Modern motorcycles sold in Europe have to meet extremely stringent emissions standards, and these include sound emissions. The current Euro 5 regulations limit new motorcycles with engine displacements over 175cc to just 80 decibels, which is the rough equivalent of a household garbage disposal, so it's unlikely that folks on newer, unmodified two-wheelers have much to be worried about.

"We have nothing against Ferraris or Harley Davidsons, but their owners sometimes like to demonstrate their vehicles' power and the noise really troubles residents," said Villeneuve-le-Roi official Remy Jourdan in an interview with Reuters.

These Medusas are part of an extensive plan to make Paris a quieter and more pleasant place to live overall. This plan -- which would allow the Medusas to start ticketing people -- will be put to a vote on Oct. 12 and will be in effect from 2021 through 2026, according to a report published Wednesday by French publication Liberation.

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