At least 19,000 bikers rallied in German cities on Saturday to protest a motorcycle noise reduction initiative from the upper house of parliament, with the turnout far exceeding organisers’ expectations.
Some 8,000 bikers drove through the southern city of Stuttgart, causing significant disruption to traffic, the Police said.
In Munich, where permission to hold the demonstration had not been granted, more than 6,000 bikers showed up, while around 5,000 participated in a rally in the city of Friedrichshafen.
Other cities where smaller protests took place included Wiesbaden, Schwerin and Dresden.
The bikers were expressing their anger over an initiative by Germany’s 16 states, which are represented in the Bundesrat parliamentary house, to limit the noise made by motorcycles to no louder than the sound of a truck or lawnmower.
The initiative also included a proposal for motorcycle driving bans on Sundays and holidays.
Transport Minister, Andreas Scheuer, sided with the bikers on Saturday, saying the current rules were sufficient.
He would not implement the demands of the Bundesrat, the conservative politician added.
Scores of cities, towns and municipalities across Germany have united in an effort to reduce noise pollution from motorcycles.
“Most ride properly, but quite a few use the road to speed up and down,’’ Matthias Weckbach, the mayor of the village of Bodman-Ludwigshafen, said, adding that some bikers organised races through residential areas.
“The noise of the motorcycles and highly motorised vehicles is heard all over town.
“Residents cannot find peace,’’ he said.