Motorcycles, Sports Cars and UNESCO Dolomites

Motorcycles on the Dolomite Passes

Too many motorcycles on the Dolomites passes?
With this post, I want to express my opinion, shared by many and surely disliked by others. I have been working as an alpine guide for many years, and especially during the summer season. I find myself almost every day in our beautiful mountains, famous worldwide, which, in my opinion, should be a place of peace and tranquility.

Unfortunately, with the arrival of hordes of disrespectful motorcyclists in this magnificent territory, it is becoming increasingly difficult to enjoy the silence that contributes to making the mountain environment special. The roar of motorcycles on the Dolomites passes, most of the time speeding by, can be heard everywhere.

If that were not enough, gatherings of sports cars are also increasing with greater frequency. Novices Schumacher chase each other along the bends of the road, turning it into a real circuit. In a few days, a new gathering will take place right here in Cortina.

I read that it is described as «a three-day event dedicated to roaring engines» and that «the colorful caravan will set off on a tour that will reach the first stop of the itinerary through curves and bends: Passo Giau, the famous alpine pass located at 2,236 meters.»

I understand the passion for speed, and I myself enjoy sports driving, but there is a time and place for everything. Some of my friends, passionate motorcyclists, book their rides at various Italian circuits that offer this type of service.

In addition to the noise, let’s not forget the risks involved in navigating the Dolomites passes when these “brave” motorcyclists speed through the hairpin turns. Every year, there are numerous accidents. Most of the time, it is the motorcyclists themselves who suffer the consequences, but often even those who drive cautiously are involved.

Motorcycles on the Dolomites Passes

But the thing that bothers me the most is the noise of motorcycles and racing cars. Whether I’m climbing the Lastoni di Formin or ascending the hidden west face of Tofana di Rozes, the annoying, incessant sound of engines from sports cars or motorcycles on the Dolomites passes represents a continuous disturbance to what should be a pleasant day amidst the silence of the mountains.

But wait, my clients often ask me, isn’t this a UNESCO site? Shouldn’t this be a protected place where one can enjoy not only breathtaking views but also the true essence of the mountains? And the police? Isn’t there a noise emissions limit in decibels for motorbike exhausts in Italy?

Despite regularly frequenting these roads, I have never encountered a patrol on the Dolomites passes. It must also be said that among the vast majority of noisy and high-speed motorcycles, there is a small minority of riders who drive peacefully, admiring the scenery and enjoying their Dolomites tour. From what I have observed, the motorcycle tourists from the Netherlands are the ones who most often fall into this category. On the other hand, the most spirited ones are the Germans and Austrians. I encounter fewer Italians far, who are usually also quite speedy, compared to foreigners.

We live in a unique environment in the world, and instead of being proud and protective of it, we are destroying it day by day for a little money.

Supporting this type of tourism is shortsighted and a bad deal; it has a profound impact on the environment and the quality of life for residents. It also undermines the experience of many tourists who spend a lot of money and come here to find unspoiled nature, peace, and tranquility.

Sports Car Gathering

While browsing the well-known review website TripAdvisor, I came across a comment from a mountain enthusiast who holds a special affection for the Dolomites. He expressed his thoughts on the increasing traffic of motorcycles on the Dolomite passes.

Here, I present the content expressed by the TripAdvisor user. The letter is signed, but for obvious privacy reasons, it is necessary to maintain anonymity in this context.

I wholeheartedly share his opinion and, for this reason, I am pleased to publish his writing.

I would like to point out that the review dates back to 2014, and until now, nothing has been done to solve the problem, which has instead worsened.

For many years, the Dolomites have been a splendid oasis, characterized by natural silence… but not anymore.

For nearly thirty years, I have visited the Dolomites almost every summer and spent several winters there, from Val di Sole to Alpe di Siusi, from the beautiful Alta Badia to Cortina. Summer hikes and winter spectacles make these mountains unique in the world, accompanied by a great focus on the environment and the care of tourism by those who adorn them with due delicacy.
It is certainly a special kind of tourism, appealing to those who appreciate nature, an active lifestyle, shows, and beauty in general. The hotels are well-maintained, and even the simplest two-star establishment deserves high praise. The prices are fair and reasonable, never excessive, and the services are unmatched.
Hiking trails, children’s parks, excellent and diverse cuisine—truly, it is a paradise.

However, in recent years, there has been a sore point, which I consider rather serious and has led me to change destinations on several occasions and visit the equally beautiful Swiss Alps instead, where the inconvenience frequently encountered in the Italian Dolomites does not exist. I am referring to the extremely noisy motorcycles on the Dolomites passes, often traveling in groups, producing deafening echoes and noises through the forests, passes, and peaks, audible from hundreds of meters away, even up to the refuges. It is completely out of place and unnecessary.
Throughout the year, we already have to endure these engines emitting sounds similar to nuisances that disrupt our peace and tranquility even within our homes. Encountering this on the Dolomites is truly frustrating and provokes great anger.

I fail to understand why these individuals feel the need to disturb such magical environments with their means of transportation, even though they are not truly experienced as such. It is as if by assaulting the surrounding environment with the noises they produce, they feel they have conquered it, taking possession of the pristine spaces without caring in the slightest about invading the freedom of others, who are much more polite and discreet. Such behavior is incredibly primitive and certainly destined to disappear over time as humanity evolves.

I then wonder, if the Italian government cannot enforce the decibel limits for noise produced by engines, can’t Alto Adige, as an autonomous region, do something? I do not believe that closing the traffic to these noisy individuals would result in a decline in tourism. In fact, from what I have seen, these groups do not consume more than a pizza and a beer before heading back. So why not close or regulate the motorcycle traffic on the Dolomites passes? Or conduct extensive inspections and confiscate vehicles that do not comply with the regulations governing emitted noises to discourage them from returning?

In doing so, we would regain the tranquility and beauty of those places, not just to be admired in postcards but also to be experienced. It is not uncommon to see motorcyclists on mountain roads full of curves behaving as if they were on a race track, endangering the safety of others and spreading an extremely barbaric attitude on those very roads, which, let us remember, are just means of transportation for goods and people, nothing more.

In conclusion, these words presented a harsh critique of the Dolomites in 2014. To walk among the singing birds and waterfalls, only to suddenly be interrupted by roaring engines with long and intense echoes, extinguishes all forms of charm. It creates disturbance, fear, and all that follows. At least in the Dolomites, at least there… Preserve them from those who feel the need to ruin in order to reclaim the natural wonder. Far away from the Jurassic need for dominance, acoustically in this case, but still highly relevant in a context like this. Necessary evolution, starting from here, to spread everywhere.

In summary

the Dolomites are a mountainous region of extraordinary beauty and a UNESCO site. Many visitors are attracted to these mountains to enjoy the unspoiled nature, breathtaking views, and the peace that characterizes the mountain environment.

It is important to find a balance between the passion for driving and respect for the surrounding environment, in order to preserve the beauty and tranquility of the mountains for all those who appreciate them.

However, the increasing number of motorcyclists riding on the Dolomite passes has led to an increase in noise and traffic congestion. This can disturb both the local residents and those seeking the tranquility and serenity that the mountains offer. Furthermore, the reckless behavior and high-speed driving of some motorcyclists can pose a danger to road safety.

It is important to find solutions that allow for the reconciliation of the passion for riding and respect for the environment and for those who live or visit the area. This could include regulations on motorcycle noise emissions, traffic limitations, or the promotion of sustainable alternatives such as public transportation or the use of bicycles.

Ultimately, the goal is to preserve the unique ecosystem of the Dolomites and ensure a pleasant and respectful experience for all who visit, both motorcyclists and non-motorcyclists.

Have you been to the Dolomites? What do you think about motorcycles on the Dolomites passes?

Voice your opinion. If you have been to the Dolomites and had experiences with the motorbikes, good or bad, please let us know.

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Enrico Maioni Mountain Guide Dolomiti

Enrico Maioni

Certified Mountain Guide, with a wide know-how of the Dolomiti.
I was born in the heart of the Dolomites, where I live and work to this day.
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