Bangkok’s illegally modified motorcycle noise makes being here a living Hell

I can’t find a precise translation for the Thai terms Vanz Boys or Dek Waen; the closest I have found so far is probably “noisy child.” It is truly remarkable that a city the size of Bangkok and with a global significance as the so-called gateway to Asia and hub of ASEAN has been totally surrendered to gangs of mindless motorcycle thugs.

Every morning before the rush hour, every afternoon at 3.30pm (school kicking-out time), then through the evening and late into the night, millions of Bangkok residents are plagued and punished by the sounds of a million illegally modified motorcycle exhausts cutting through their condo walls. This menace is preventing them from sleeping, causing irreparable hearing damage to everyone, and distress to babies and mothers alike. I live 27 floors up and the sound still rattles fixtures and fittings.

Welcome to the apocalypse. This is what a city looks like when its entire police force has given up. These reckless morons on their bikes, bouncing off the rev limiter in first gear at 110 decibels (well within human hearing damage realm), huddled low over their fuel tank, like a chimpanzee mating with a watermelon – this is the sound of now, and it’s intolerable.

There are already laws which make modifying and racing bikes illegal. They don’t work because the penalties are tiny and there is no will to enforce them. Bangkok will never be a first world city while its laws and public safety are ridiculed by defiant teenagers.

Any other city on Earth could fix this.

Bangkok’s biggest fault, as is the case when judging it from almost any angle, is its “Thai-ness.” A difficult thing to define, it typically means a flaccid approach to a common sense solution which COULD be applied, but when you mention it, the response you typically receive would be, “That will never change.”

We see the future of Thai-ness in full effect on Sukhumvit 77, at two o’ clock every morning. Come and see for yourself. In reality, it looks more like a failed state. There is a massive police station on the corner of Sukhumvit and On Nut, but one can only guess as to its function. I’ve lived on soi 77 for almost three years, and never once have seen a police officer stop any one of these noisy little idiots.

We cannot, sadly, just attach razor wire at head height between lamp posts. Firstly, because it would prevent normal people in cars from moving around; secondly, it would also be deemed an infringement of human rights (these punks are human?).

What then of the human right to not go deaf through the actions of others? One kid puts an illegal exhaust on his bike and through his own selfishness and arrogance damages the well-being of half a million people a day. How is this just? Tragically it is not one kid; about one in two bikes seem to be carrying illegal exhausts right now.

This fact in and of itself is amazing.

You cannot walk down the street punching thousands of strangers in the eardrum, yet if you own a motorcycle, you are allowed to do this via proxy and are left to get away with the pain you are causing. Here we see Thai-ness. It is selfishness. It is the thought for yourself, a lack of respect for others, and the absence of any kind of empathy or solution.

If you are found riding a bike with dangerous noise equipment added, you are a threat to public health. So the penalty should be severe. Any bike found carrying this equipment should be removed from the road and crushed into a cube. After one month, the boy’s family would be contacted, issued a massive fine, and told to come and collect their cube. Severe action should be taken against the bike shops carrying out these mods too, including immediate 3-year suspended prison sentences.

There has been much reporting in the media lately about illegal racing, accidents and deaths, people riding without lights, without a helmet. I personally can’t see a problem with any of these things, because any factor that brings swift death to these fools is to be applauded. We want you dead and off our streets, so please ride as fast as you can. This is Darwinian evolution, to some large and welcome extent.

But by itself it is not enough. These morons need sorting out.

You do this by hitting them where they hurt, in their tiny little dicks that they attach to these monkey-mobiles. Let’s sort this mess out and show that we, Bangkok, a city of 10 million, are not all retarded enough to let this continue.

But for now, all I want is a good night’s sleep.

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  1. #1 by RickeyD on August 4, 2017 - 12:12 am

    Excellent Article and the “truth” is, America’s prostitution with the Loud Biker Cult[ure] is just as problematic…and NOTHING is done! See my article on this subject subsequent to 31-years in law enforcement: The Truth About Loud Motorcycles the Police Won’t or Can’t Tell You:

    Thank you for standing against LOUD Motorcycle Thuggery!

    Rick Holtsclaw, Houston PD/Retired
    Concerned Citizens Against Loud Motorcycles – Facebook

  2. #2 by jimbo on June 10, 2019 - 12:17 am

    I’m here to shame Saratoga County, NY for allowing loud motorcycles. Its a nightmare here. Don’t move here. Rednecks with the loud pickups and the gangster wantabees with the loud car stereos are a nuisance too. You have been warned!

  3. #3 by Thailand John on November 11, 2019 - 1:42 am

    I sit here reading this, having just been woken up by those little fart cans on my second night in Bangkok (if only the last). This was cathartic though …

    • #4 by Dave Swinfen on November 11, 2019 - 7:14 pm

      Thanks for the reply John. It was a big part of my decision to leave 🙂

  4. #5 by Arvind on September 21, 2021 - 10:02 pm

    From my understanding in the 3 years that i lived in Bangkok, Thai police exist to extract money from farangs. I am a Khaek, so I am somewhere between Farang and Thai in how strict they are in extracting money from my wallet (a “mai mee thaang” with a sorry face often works when they stop you for supposed infractions). Other than that they’re a pretty happy go lot. They care more about meeting fine quotas and stopping cars with farangs on sukhumvit at night to check for drugs than they care about local thais following local laws like wearing helmets, having a reasonable number of humans on a motorcycle, riding without destroying everyone’s earbuds, etc.

  5. #6 by Dave Swinfen on August 4, 2017 - 9:30 pm

    Hi Rick, thank you for taking the time to comment, and for supplying links to your extensive work on the subject. I had always thought this to be a third world disparity resulting from lame law enforcement, something that did not beset first world countries. I’m from the UK and happily it remains a quiet and respectful place throughout much of its lands. Thank you for drawing my attention to this issue as more of a worldwide phenomenon. It’s sad that the reason this appears to be such a worldwide occurrence is the general ‘dumbening’ and rising narcissism among people generally.

  1. The TRUTH About Loud Motorcycles the Police Won’t or Can’t Tell You | "RickeyD" Holtsclaw

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