Hybrids Need to Be Noisier

By Deane Barker on August 20, 2008

California: Green cars too quiet: It seems every advance comes with drawbacks.

Electric and hybrid vehicles may be better for the environment, but the California Legislature says they’re bad for the blind.

It has passed a bill to ensure that the vehicles make enough noise to be heard by visually impaired people about to cross a street.



  1. Reminds me of the episode of Weeds where U-Turn buys all of his boys Priuses. They are so quiet that the other drug dealers can’t hear them coming when they ‘drive-by’.

  2. As a parent I can tell you that I do not like them at all. The whole “Look watch and listen” goes right out the window when crossing the street because if there is a bend in the road, you just lost any advantage you have of your child hearing something.

    From a cyclist point of view, no fan of them either. I can normally hear almost anything coming and if I tilt and turn my head to the left can really really hear cars coming. Just the other day a honda hybrid was on me rather quick which made for some rather tense few seconds. I try to hold my line but potholes and debris sometime chase me into the middle of the road. Not being able to hear if there is a car coming will make clearing those bad areas rather difficult to say the least.

  3. I’m with Mark. I’m the dad of a family that cycles as a primary means of transportation, and no matter how much I get my kids to do shoulder checks in the road, they don’t always — and having silent hunks of metal zooming around raises the risk factor for them.

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