Capitol Hill Community Post | Motorcycle Noise Complaints

IMG_0985My partner and I reside on the north end of the neighborhood close by to all the foot traffic of 15th st. We reside at a building full of fellow motorcycle riders. My partner has to leave for work early every morning (between 5-6am) and his motorcycle is his only means of transportation. The past several months someone has left countless passive aggressive notes on his motorcycle. Ranging from asking him to start it further down the street (where there are still other apartment buildings btw), to asking him to move it entirely.

We aren’t sure if it is someone in our building, or any of the others close by, but we’re hoping that by posting here- the individual at hand will see this. We’d like for the individual to get in contact with us and discuss the situation.

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56 thoughts on “Capitol Hill Community Post | Motorcycle Noise Complaints

  1. Motorcycles with legal exhausts aren’t very loud. Motorcycles with straight pipes (I.e, no muffler) are.

    Is your partner’s bike legal?

    • If the bike is 1974 or before it’s legal for it to sound like the four horsemen of the apocalypse. My son has one. He starts it down the street on the arterial when it’s actually working.

  2. What is finding him going to do? Are you hoping to guilt him into submission by telling him a heartfelt sob story about how hard your life is? The guy has made his point pretty clear and believe me he speaks for many of your other neighbors. I’ve had a 5am motorcycle neighbor before too– it sucks! I had a 50/50 chance of getting more than 5 hours of sleep while I lived there. My roommates and I hated it.

    There’s really nothing to talk about. Your neighbors think you’re pretty inconsiderate, but there’s no law against being inconsiderate. Either you care and you change, or you don’t give a shit and continue, keeping in mind that there’s no law against leaving notes either.

  3. Maybe you can explain here what you would say to your unhappy neighbor that would defuse the situation. (Hint: Saying, “I bought a motorcycle so it’s not my fault it’s loud” isn’t really going to cut it as reasoning with your neighbors.)

    • I agree with the people below. What is the point of this post. lets be real, starting a loud motorcycle at 5am in a neighborhood made almost solely of apartments is rude and makes your partner a turd. Posting the note on here because you want to “talk it out” makes you a turd. Are you offended bc someone keeps leaving a note? Are you sad someone else is mad at your ability to think “my boyfriend getting to work on his cycle is wayyy more important then the 60-200 nearby people sleeping”? Take the hint, ditch the bike for a quieter one or the light rail or a car or a scooter. see I feel like where l I’m from you would be lucky if the neighbors didn’t fuck it your motorcycle for this behavior

  4. I also own one of these obnoxious motorcycles. I really do apologize. I bought it like that, and it’s $2500 to refit stock exhaust. When I bought it I was living elsewhere where nobody was bothered by it, but now that I’m on the hill I constantly feel like a jerk. I’ve even started walking instead of riding where I want to go in order to spare my neighbors the irritation.

    In regard to why they idle for so long on startup: Motorcycle engines are finicky until warm, and there aren’t many things more dangerous than wonky throttle response when you’re using that throttle to balance at low speeds. Warming them up is a safety issue.

    • But if it’s a newer bike (less than ten years old) you only have to warm it up for a few seconds. Less 15 seconds in most cases. Modern bike engine technology has come a long way.

    • That is incorrect. The engine temperature has to be over 105 degrees in order for my fuel injection to function normally in my 2008 model. In 80 degree weather it might only take a minute, but when it’s freezing out it can take a few minutes.

      Modern bike technology can’t heat a gallon of oil from 30 degrees to 105 in under 15 seconds.

  5. Not PA – request for direct action: make the bike quieter.
    It sounds like the noise is essentially cheating several dozen of your neighbors of 1 or 2 hours of sleep most mornings a week. That is extremely stressful so I’m not surprised someone wrote a note.
    Without noise variance construction is legal at 7am so in Seattle that’s the hour most people could reasonable expect the street to be quiet.

  6. On the flip side, people do live in a city with noisy stuff. I used to wear ear plugs when things woke me up in the morning. I can hear the counterarguments to that suggestion already…

    I quite dislike loud motorcycles, but I also loath really loud garbage trucks that seem to toss around dumpsters creating loud metal collisions. But I also like when garbage trucks are off the road before peak road travel hours.

    Passive aggressive notes are dumb. Loud motorcycles are dumb. Welcome to livin’ in the city.

  7. I know exactly who you are! You must be the people with the Harley Davidson that is parked on Republican. That motorcycle jolts me awake almost every morning before 6 am, about 15 precious minutes before my alarm goes off, it sucks! I personally have thought of leaving a note, but I’ve passed by the bike many times and have seen the notes so what’s the point of another note when clearly you guys don’t care! You can’t honestly think that bike isn’t loud, it’s over the top loud and annoying. Your boyfriend is one person but how many people does he disturb every morning? More than 1. You guys are beyond inconsiderate. Also I’m not really sure what a discussion about this is going to accomplish. I am so grateful you posted this because this has been pissing me off for a while.

  8. Wow I am stunned by the response to this. Welcome to living in a city…are you all from the rural suburbs or something? All hours of the night I we hear sirens. Dogs barking. People talking. Skate boards. Car alarms. People’s alarm clocks. Crying babies. Bands practicing. It’s what you get when you live in an apartment or houses that are so close together. It’s normal. There are 4 motorcycles that park on my block, and honestly, my neighbor’s 1998 Honda mini van makes far more noise. We had some people on the block for a while who would pretty much race them up and down the street (they worked on the bikes and were test driving them) and lots of us did complain. That’s excessive and worthy of complaint. But starting up in the morning for work? Get some ear plugs and leave the guy alone.

    • This is not normal city noise! I have lived in North CH for 10 years, I am well adjusted to city noises. If this is the same motorcycle and I am sure it is because its very loud, so loud it sets off car alarms in the area. This doesn’t sound like “normal city noise”. I have never heard a normal motorcycle quite that loud. I don’t even notice the other motorcycles on the block…just that one!

    • I’m baffled by what you think is worthy of a complaint. It’s pretty obvious by this post a lot of people are affected by the exact same bike so you don’t think that that’s worthy of a complaint? All of the complainers must be overdramatizing the situation, right? It makes a lot more sense to assume everyone upset about the noise is just not used to the “city” rather than assume the boyfriend’s bike is breaking the sound ordinance.

  9. Thank you, eyeroll!!! You live in a “city”! Get over yourselves. Spent the past two years listening to the construction noise and road congestion of that awful Luma building but chalk it up to wanting to live here. I’d say move to Burien but all of that airplane noise might disturb your precious sleep. But you could always try and leave a passive-aggressive note on the windshield of a 757. Hell, you’ve inspired me to leave a note on the shell-casings I periodically find after a shooting around here!

  10. Are these notes really considered passive aggressive? It looks pretty straight forward to me. Your boyfriend’s bike is loud and constantly wakes people up. I am not sure where you are supposed to move it. Would you rather the offending party leave a note with a phone number so you can sit around and discuss solutions? You make it seem the notes are the problem, the problem in clearly the unnecessary noise the bikes produces before 6am. You state you have been getting these notes for months now, take a hint and YOU find a solution.

      • It just kills me that people are parsing terms here: it’s not “passive” when someone doesn’t wait around a motorcycle for hours or get up early in the morning to have a heart-to-heart with an oblivious jerk. It’s proactive, and the note was way more restrained than he deserved, esp. after multiple requests. PA is when folks hate you or what you’re doing and hide behind “politeness” because they’re too chickenshit to find a decent, productive way to remind someone of the social contract we all try to live by- do onto others- and point out that they’re violating it. Ignoring this is “privilege.”

  11. I lived near one of these for awhile, and it drove me nuts- I also put out my share of notes, and was unmoved by it being “a poor student’s only transportation.” Ditto to the “needing to warm it up” crap- for years, they’ve been quick warm-ups w/ no need for revving, unless it’s really in bad shape or ancient. Same with cars- no one still thinks you have to rev your engine for 10 minutes now. My husband also had a Harley at the same time- he agreed that the loud stock is a stupid, antisocial, testosterone-riddled modification. He never rode his own bike during early or late hours, either, even though his Harley was quieter than the Yamaha causing the problem. Yes, there are ways to amend them so they’re not so disturbing, and saying “that’s too expensive” is like going to a nice restaurant and then complaining that you can’t afford a good tip- if you can buy one of these in the first place, you can afford to not be a jerk to everyone around you. “Boyfriend” should either take public transit, or rent a spot for the bike in a garage or lot away from residents. Why is privilege so blind and inconsiderate?

    • Considering how densely populated the area has increasingly become, I doubt “renting” a spot or parking in a lot away from residents is an option. In case you didn’t realize, the entire neighborhood is residential.

  12. Curious if you happen to be near Howell. Someone outside of my building has an insane exhaust that blasts me up every morning. No notes from me, though it’s super annoying.

  13. Several things to be addressed here:

    1- It is passive since it is a NOTE being left. There are two sides to every situation. It is clear that the individual(s) leaving these notes have a sense of self entitlement, and would prefer to hide behind the safety of their note, as opposed to looking for a direct resolution to the matter (and no, “not being a jerk neighbor” is NOT a direct resolution). If they were mature enough, they would leave behind some sort of contact info and want to speak to the motorcycle owner.

    2- “OBNOXINOUS”- If the author of the note can take out the time to write the note, than they can also take the time to learn how to spell a word correctly. It’s called a dictionary, and it is one hell of a resource.

    3- PRIVILEGE- A majority of the comments I’m seeing in this thread, are all stating something along the lines of “It’s too loud for me”, “It disturbs MY sleep”, “He should park it somewhere else” etc. THAT in itself is privilege. It’s not that the motorcyclist feels so self important that he continues to park it, near where he lives, but the mere fact that the individuals behind the aforementioned comments feel so self entitled, that only their frustrations seem to matter. I am basing this off of the countless whiny comments I have seen. If I could give those particular individuals a tissue right now to wipe away their single tear drop, I would.

    4- Get over yourselves. Yes, really it’s that simple . If a motorcycle engine starting for a minute (or however long) every morning is what keeps you up at night- or wakes you up a “precious 15 minutes” before your alarm goes off in the morning; then you really are privileged and lucky. There are far worse situations to be in, than having your sleep briefly disturbed.

    5- I’d like to point out this article that was previously on CHS blog. To sum it up, it essentially talks about Capitol Hill being the nosiest neighborhood.

    We live in the city. There is endless construction, woo girls, loud drunks folks, shootings, street altercations, vehicles of all kinds driving around, dogs, crying babies, etc. Getting disturbed by an engine starting seems kinda trivial, when compared to the other noise disturbances that regularly occur.

    Think about it for a moment. I’m sure many of you have at least had a drunken idiot yelling stuff out, late at night, while trying to sleep at least once. I sure as hell have. Did I decide to be a “turd” (thank you to the mature individual who said turd earlier) and leave a post it note for the drunk individuals asking them to quiet down? No, because I live in a highly populated residential area, close by to nightlife, endless noises and know better.

    • Writing a note isn’t passive or passive aggressive. The writer has taken the action of writing a note.

      Passive Definition: “not reacting visibly to something that might be expected to produce manifestations of an emotion or feeling.”

      And random drunks, whoo girls, gunshots ect waking a person up, the whole blah, blah you live in a city argument, are different that an obnoxiously loud motorcycle every morning.

      If I was woken up every single weekday morning I’d be pissed. I’d be writing notes, I would be recording the decibel level of the motorcycle, and I would be trying to issue a noise complaint.

    • Cool, so that drink idiot can come to your window and scream at it for 5 minutes every morning and you’ll be happy to chalk it up to city life?

  14. It’s interesting to me that the guy who chose to buy a loud motorcycle and ride it pre-6 am is the one everyone needs to accommodate, and everyone needs to “get over it.” The entire neighborhood is being selfish due to wanting to sleep past 6 am. What a bunch of entitled jerks, right?

    It’s always interesting to me when “freedom” for you involves everyone else excusing your choice to behave in an anti-social manner, while everyone else has the “freedom” to STFU.

    • It’s always interesting when a select group of individuals feel that they are all correct, and make assumptions about others, while refusing to listen to their side.

  15. I can’t tell which is more Seattle, leaving a note or whining about receiving one on a neighborhood blog.

    Be glad you’re not on the East Coast, they’d just slash your tires.

  16. I don’t know why the poster is irritated. Her boyfriend’s motorcycle sounds super loud and someone left a note telling her how disruptive it is. Sounds like several different people have left several notes of the same nature. Perhaps she would prefer if someone just filed a noise disturbance report with police citing the license plate number of the bike and location/time.

    What else should have have done besides leave a note, camp out next to the bike, wait for the owner and approach him in the dark?

  17. Y’all.

    we regulate behavior in our society via the rule of law.

    In this case, there are very likely two laws being broken every morning:
    1) the state requirement to run a muffler on motor vehicles (cars, motorcycles, everything)
    2) the Seattle city noise ordinance.

    To the people complaining about entitlement: We are entitled to expect that people around us follow the law.

    It is not unreasonable that someone would complain about this. After all, there’s a reason these rules exist — it’s how we, as a society, define what behavior is and isn’t acceptable.

    I live at the southern end of pike/pine, near neumos and the clubs. I have had four six story buildings go up within 60 yards of my bed on the last five years. There are four times weekly trash pickups, and a parking lot full of Ferraris that starts every morning at 7.

    I’m okay with that, as 1) it’s legal, and 2) I signed up for it.

    But none of this is ANYWHERE close to as loud as a Harley with straight pipes starting up and idling.

    • So it sounds like the poster should stand outside (and inside) with a DB meter while her partner is powering up. If you’re breaking the law, fix it.

    • We’ll ignore your obvious attempt at sarcasm, Blasted, and instead relay that the logical thing to do is call the City and let them handle it. They do indeed have a police department which exists to enforce the laws on the books.

  18. This is such a classic issue, with so many layers. I can’t help but opine more. I’ve been in many of these situations- we’re riddled with aggressions, micro- to global, and have to find better ways of dealing with it. And yes, we have more irritants in a city, and more subtle ways of marking turf, accommodating others and preserving privacy than in a less populace area. I’m looking out my window now and see 2 cars parked badly, taking 2 precious parking spots each. This is annoying, and yes, I’m going to put a post-it on their windshields asking them to please take only one spot next time, assuming they just weren’t paying attention. We all have a role here…

    First, note that it’s not the guy w/ the bike who wrote to CHS. It’s his girlfriend. He doesn’t care. She wants to make nice for him w/ an insincere kumbiya meeting while refusing to change anything. They both have known for a long time that this is driving MANY people crazy, and she’s defending his excruciatingly rude and aggressive behavior, wants us to accept it by feeling sorry for him. Is this girlsplaining? “I’ve chosen to be with this inconsiderate wanker because he has a job”? Oh, and “let’s talk about it” is just her version of pink bullying.

    And then there are the replies: “get over it. you live in a city” as if we abandon all civility by living in proximity to each other, and spouting off without knowing the magnitude of this particular situation.

    Saddest yet is the chorus of “I know this bike! I hate it, too, but I haven’t the balls to do anything about it because either I don’t expect better behavior from my neighbors, or someone else will handle it for me.” Maybe if more people left notes, or organized a petition, or called the police and reported it, this one lone soul wouldn’t have to try to civilize your surroundings for you.

    As for the accusations of the note-writer being “passive,” please. Anyone who persists in known abuse, which this is, poses a threat. I certainly wouldn’t want them to know who I was, much less meet them in person (what, at 5am?) since they’re clearly not remorseful, and I would consider anyone this obnoxious capable of escalation.

    But the most bewildering part of it all is the reaction to being told (I’ll bet much more patiently and nicely the first time) that you’ve done something thoughtless and upset or inconvenienced someone- I see this often, and it applies to anyone in your sphere, for any offense. ANYONE who replies with a challenge, accusation, denial or repeats behavior that hurts someone is abusive. Period. If you really struggle with this concept- whether it’s a word you use, or being chronically late, or a joke you’ve made, or something more complex- you need to seriously check yourself. We aren’t done learning to be responsible, woke people when we turn 18, or 21, or 40. We all need to be open to learning how our habits and actions affect others, AND to letting others know when they’ve inadvertently (I’m an optimist) caused pain. It’s not our job to weigh or fix that reaction, or presume that it’s “not serious.” Sure, there are a few delicate flowers who make being ridiculously PC a weapon because they feel so weak, but for most, it’s a phase we go through learning to be assertive in a calm, non-combative way, while we all figure out how and when to pick our battles. If you really think someone is just too oversensitive, then remove yourself from their sphere. You’re not going to convince them they aren’t upset by your actions. But it’s on YOU to change your behavior, not them.

    I hope someone writes an update on the bike, though, before it gets ugly.

    • I have been following this post because I do live in close proximity to this bike and I am one of the disturbed. I honestly thought I was just being sensitive to the bike but now I see it’s a problem among many people and it’s pretty evident that the poster has no intention of solving the situation. As much as she would like the note writing to come forward I don’t see that happening. She does have the “floor” now and I don’t see her being proactive about how she plans to remedy this. So what was her intention of getting in contact with the note writer? The notion that leaving a note is passive aggressive is ridiculous and proves the poster really doesn’t comprehend the definition of the word. The best thing now would just be to contact the police and let them handle it. I think it didn’t need to go this far and the note writer(s) were trying to resolve this before resorting to police.

      I’m just really interested in what the poster thinks the offending party should have done rather than leave a note? Cry to the neighbourhood blog? Knock on doors? Mail random letters? Post signs? If you don’t know where the bike owner lives (probably in a secured building) I would say leaving a note is a reasonable way to make someone aware of something, if not the only reasonable way in this given situation.

      Poster, assume you have the attention of one of the note writers, what do you want to discuss?

  19. The entire post is a moot point. Judging from the poster’s personal Facebook posts about the situation she is really just whining about she feels the notes are cowardly and passive aggressive. She has no sympathy at all for any disturbances the bike is causing, nor any responsibility. Her post to the blog isn’t intended to get in touch with the note writer but more of a plea to rally for her side.

  20. I know exactly who this guy is and I’m VERY happy someone wrote a note (or “multiple notes” according to the original poster). I work in the service industry and regularly get home between 1 and 2AM and I can tell you that it is NOT COOL to get startled awake at 5AM, a mere 3-4 hours after going to bed. I lived in NYC for 6 years on a bus route, with lots of crazy screaming people and “woo” girls, drunk bastards and general dick heads with loud stereo systems. I can tell you this is much worse, full stop. I’ve decided to put my money where my mouth is and go ahead and contact the Seattle PD. So our friend on Republican should start thinking about a new way to get to work. And like a previous poster said, if this was NYC someone would have slashed your tires for being such an inconsiderate dick head. At least here in Seattle people just leave notes!

  21. Obnoxious? 30+? The note leaver is generous. If it is the E Republican St bike, I am one of many affected and I’d say this straight pipe boy’s toy keeps double that number awake after 5am when it fires up. If it isn’t the Republican St bike I am AMAZED there are two people so inconsiderate within such close proximity to 15th Ave. I get up pretty early anyway, but I feel for all the apartments this thing affects at 5am, that’s a not a reasonable hour to generate that much noise. This is the type of machine it be would appropriate to start up at 5am off an Interstate in the middle of Kansas, not Cap Hill. To those motorcycle defenders – this isn’t white noise, it’s a beautiful quiet part of the Hill where one bike has the potential, among all the silence, to shake 100 people awake. This bike is a hot topic in our building with numerous neighbours discussing it over the foyer and mail box. Last I heard there was an old dude in my building who planned contacting Seattle PD or the City to file a noise complaint.

    Like other people on here I’m dumbfounded why you posted this too. Talk about not getting the hint. Doesn’t it wake you up? Why don’t take a walk within a block in every direction of your boyfriend’s bike and see how much sound it generates?

    I’m not a motorcycle hater either, there are 4 or 5 bikes parked out front of a building on 14th Ave and I don’t ever hear a squeak from them. Why? Because they don’t have loud,douchey, offensive and inconsiderate straight pipe Harleys.

  22. I think it’s safe to say this totally backfired for the poster! She’s successfully united a bunch of sleep deprived residents. Trade the straight pipes in for an Orca card.

    Welcome to the neighborhood!

  23. Ok everyone, this is going to be quite challenging but I spoke with SPD this morning and was told every morning when dude blasts on the bike we have to call the non emergency number and make a complaint.

  24. I can’t believe the original poster is painting herself and boyfriend as the victims here. This asshole wakes my roommates and I up every morning, thanks to him our brains have been programmed to wake up at 5:40am every morning, then we lie there waiting for his bike to startle the entire block. We’ve contacted our property manager for advice to see what steps can be taken to impose a violation on him, so I am very happy to see other members of the community who are affected by the guy taking action too. Hats off to the note rider and screw your sob story. If you can afford a Harley Davidson you’re doing ok for yourself. Park it at the Safeway lot or buy a Vesper and quit being so fuck%&* inconsiderate so everybody you wake up at 5:40am can start sleeping better again.

  25. To the light sleepers out there….
    I own one each, a quite bike and a loud bike.
    So as being on both sides of this let me suggest the following:
    I will quite my loud bike if and only if the Snowflakes out there reciprocate by doing the following…
    1) GET OFF YOUR DAMN CELL PHONE WHILE DRIVING!!! You cannot text at the stop light either. A person on a cell phone is as deadly or deadlier than a drunk. People on cell phones have cut me off at least 20 times last year. The worst are cell phoneys is single occupancy vehicles cutting into the HOV lane.
    2) Stay the hell out of the HOV Lane when you ride alone. Violators cut to the HOV lane without really looking because they decide to violate the law as a matter of frustration. My youngest son was driven into the barrier at the Renton S-curves by a lone driver cutting him off. An off duty cop, a nurse and a fellow rider all panic stopped behind him and rendered assistance and got him to the Hospital. Hatred does not describe my feelings toward you. Screw your sleeping in. My pipes won’t cause you any harm. Your collision with me is a death sentence. And don’t think I need to give up my bike for this. I have the same rights to the road as you.
    3) Lane changing is apparently a lost art. Maybe it is because you can’t see out of the killer four tired boxes you drive in? A bike rider has an incredible view of his/her place and surrounding traffic on the road. PLEASE look before lane changing. i have seen cars cut so many people off I never ride next to anybody.
    4) Deal with the loud pipes.A saying we bikers have is, “Loud pipes save lives”. Believe it. My cruiser has blasters on it and I have less problems with other drivers – especially the cellies. My quite ride is a risk. Loud is safer for me. So until you four wheelers straighten out I am going to delight in waking you up every morning. Maybe you will be wide awake ON MY NEXT COMMUTE!!!

  26. Wow.

    To OP: Your BF is a douche. Get a Vespa or a silencer immediately.
    I own several vehicles that would qualify as “noisy” and I operate them within the limits of the law. I don’t crank up my noisy Superduty or my off road bikes off-hours.
    On my primary ride I keep a silencer equipped that has the best of both worlds, a quiet core for everyday riding and yank it for performance/noise. There is NO EXCUSE for being a poor neighbor in this instance. As for the cost it is what it is, a previous poster mentioned not being able to afford the tip.
    As a rider it is HIS responsibility to comply with the law not yours to try to be his mouthpiece after the fact.

    I would suggest that you evaluate your position very quickly as this has now been re-linked several times and with the amount of drama ensuing will surely have bigger repercussions than just there in CH.

    To everyone else besides OP:

    Damn, I feel your pain. We live in a suburb of Portland which has had explosive growth resulting in huge population density increases with all the usual social ills that accompany that.
    When we first moved here 20 years ago we couldn’t sleep because it was of all things too quiet ! Now there are sirens 24/7 and the hubbub of the Metro is constant.
    But I won’t use the fact that I work nights as a reason to fire up one of my too loud bikes after a certain hour because we as a neighborhood have already agreed on what constitutes daytime hours and reasonable noise limits. If I violate those standards I can expect a citation. I’m sure if a backwards little suburb of Portland like ours can have reasonable compliance, Seattle can too.

    Additionally as a motorcyclist of almost 40 years’ time I’d like to apologize for these people. They do NOT represent what most of us are about as continued ignorance will only foster mistrust and further differences. When I was little kid learning how to ride they used to tell us that “quieter equals more riding opportunities” and as resident of Oregon I can say with all truthfulness that this is so. We are actually increasing our OHV access contrary to the national trend and I feel that it is at least partially because an effort was made to quiet it up.

    So hopefully OP’s BF will disengage his head for a second and realize that he’s not being free, he’s being ignorant and impugning others’ freedoms by his selfish behavior.

  27. Why are you back??? Please park your bike somewhere else. Being shaken out of sleep at 5:45 is NOT why people live in this generally peaceful neighborhood. Thank you.