EU Study: Traffic noise can be deadly

This should not come as a surprise to anyone. After spending half a year in rural Africa where there was hardly any noise, my adjustment time back to Paris living was constantly troubled by the screaming of annoying scooter and cheap motorcycle engines. Even now I still detest those sounds but have grown used to hearing them, so don’t notice them quite as much. What I don’t see in this article is anything about the noise from scooters, which is much more of an issue than car noise.

On a related issue, scooters and cheap motorcycles churn out a lot of air pollution, even more than cars. Any noise or air pollution policy that doesn’t address scooters and motorcycles is really off target. EurActiv.com:

Road traffic noise is Europe’s most ubiquitous environmental health problem, with more than 44% of the population – 210 million people – estimated to regularly suffer volumes above 55 decibels.

At this level, voices must be raised to become audible and medical risks increase correspondingly, according to the World Health Organization.

Traffic noise can raise blood pressure, increase stress hormone levels and trigger cardiovascular problems, hypertension and mental illness. It can also cause insomnia, poor work performance and annoyance.

One recent study by CE Delft found that 50,000 people died prematurely and 200,000 suffered from cardiovascular disease each year in the EU because of traffic noise.


An American in Paris, France. BA in History & Political Science from Ohio State. Provided consulting services to US software startups, launching new business overseas that have both IPO’d and sold to well-known global software companies. Currently launching a new cloud-based startup. Full bio here.

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