Electric vehicles are gloriously quiet, which can let a hooligan get away with far more tomfoolery, and more conservative riders slip past just about unnoticed. Strangely—though understandably—that silence is a point of contention with pedestrian safety advocates, who claim that fast-moving, nearly-silent vehicles can sneak up on pedestrians, especially the blind. The expressed fear hasn’t fallen on deaf ears. Chevy’s Volt, for instance, makes a chirping sound with the headlight flashers.
A branch of Dominos pizza in the Netherlands has employed another technique: active audio engine sounds. It made us laugh, but after going to the trouble of making an electric bike, we’d celebrate its silence.
Says Wikipedia of the topic:
The Pedestrian Safety Enhancement Act of 2010 was approved by the U.S. Senate by unanimous consent on December 9, 2010 and passed by the House of Representatives by 379 to 30 on December 16, 2010. The act does not stipulate a specific speed for the simulated noise but requires the U.S. Department of Transportation to study and establish a motor vehicle safety standard that would set requirements for an alert sound that allows blind and other pedestrians to reasonably detect a nearby electric or hybrid vehicle, and the ruling must be finalized within eighteen months. The bill was signed into law by President Barack Obama on January 4, 2011.