Calgary takes aim at vehicle noise

Calgary city council is looking at a bylaw to fight noisy vehicles.
Calgary city council is looking at a bylaw to fight noisy vehicles.

The ongoing war against motorcycle noise has a new Canadian battleground: Calgary, Alberta.

The city’s Herald newspaper reports police are testing a device to combat loud vehicles, both four-wheeled and two-wheeled – noise issues are the city’s third highest number of bylaw complaints, the paper tells us. The city council is looking at a bylaw banning vehicle noise above 96 decibels.

City police haven’t announced they’re going to specifically target motorcycles, like Nanaimo, BC, but they’re using a device that was inspired after a run-in with a noisy bike. Their weapon against raucous vehicles, the Noise Snare, was actually developed by an Edmonton man after a loud motorcycle woke up his baby daughter, according to an article in the Metro newspaper.

Unlike most citizens who merely complain about loud pipes, the inventor, Mark Nesdoly, took the fight a step further: He developed an automated, vehicle-mounted system that scans traffic for loud vehicles. If the device detects an offending car or bike, it takes a video of their vehicle – think of a photo speed trap, except with a microphone instead of a radar gun.

The device costs $112,500, says the Calgary Herald, but Nesdoly donated the unit to the city’s police force.

You can see a video of the device in action below. Pay attention – if units like this become common across Canada, there will soon be nowhere for loud bikes to hide.


  1. bass music is disturbing but not as disturbing as motorcycles revving up to a stop sign then revving away from it.. wow @ the driving skills, most of them in my neighbourhood are just kids, but still, any noise, is disturbing, dogs barking, loud music, especially motorcycles, why can’t i live in the city in peace, just because you want what you want? where’s the compromise??

  2. Free world means allowing other to be free Bob. That means the rest of the city has the right not to hear excessive vehicles, just as it gives you the right to go live in the country and make as much noise as you want without. Where do you people get your sense of entitlement from?

  3. This is ridiculous, free world aint free. Loud cars and bikes isnt a bad thing, its safety. Most asshats cant bother to shouldercheck so at least they can hear me on my bike when im beside them. So instead of bitching about the whole 2 secs of you life you had to hear my motorcycle focus your energy on texting and driving or cell phones, these things kill. Next time a loud motorcycle wakes ur baby up at night, remember that same noise might save his life one day. And to anyone who says thats thats just untrue, you are deaf. 

  4. Loud pipes on cars and bikes don’t actually bother me, and although I don’t own a modified vehicle, I’ve had them blasting around my neighborhood for years. But we all have our pet peeves I suppose. For me, it’s insensitive urban dog owners who think every green space in the city should be one giant off-leash crap and intimidate fest for their precious darling mutts. These people and their ‘pets’ do much more harm than loud bikes or muscle cars. I can’t count how many times the kids have been terrorized by large dogs in the area running around illegally off-leash.

  5. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. While I agree in theory, I once again have to mention that car are hermetically sealed now and you can barely hear anything fromt he outside world while in them. I prefer not to rely on the ability or desire of the driver to be aware of the world and traffic around them through their eyes alone. My old flathead is loud enough to be noticed, but no louder than a stock modern Harley and it actually benefits from open pipes. Newer bikes are designed to run with proper back pressure and there are alot of aftermarket exhaust systems that will improve performance but keep the volume down. I’ve also been realizing lately that it’s not very often that i ride in an urban area. When you get into the downtown areas with lot of tall buildings it’s like being in an echo chamber and loud pipes become almost useless as a means of locating a bike in traffic. On top of this, you get a couple of bikes together at a downtown intersection and it’s almost deafening and impossible to sit outside and enjoy a nice day. In other words I’m torn. I like my old bike and like the open pipes on it. But I know my next bike will be alot more modern and will have a reasonable exhaust on it to balance performance and volume. Now if only the kids driving their little wannabe tuner cars with the stupid stereos would start getting ticketed.

  6. I agree with this iniative. I have ridden for yrs past and there is no need for noisy vehicles. They disturb me as much as anybody, and I love bikes. However, I must say, some of the city buses are just as noisy and I hope they put them to the test also.

  7. And let’s have a big round of applause to the asshats with loud pipes for bringing the wrath of the public down on -all- bikers.

    Hey, just giving credit where credit is due…

    • Maybe you guys should realize the real truth that its strictly the yuppies on thier $50k bikes that ride from their condo to Melrose. Not the actual bikers that are either on the highway or smart enough to have their bikes in the garage when having a beer.

  8. Atleast they are targetting all vehicles…now I can get a noise ticket in my truck as well…I hope stock exhaust pipes pass that test…otherwise I won’t be able to go into the cities.

    My bike has the stock system, but the MT-01 is a loud bike…my diesel truck has a cold air kit and aftermarket exhaust, not obnoxious but is louder than stock…

    Does anyone know if you can have your exhaust tested to find out if you would pass or not?


    • If you have an iphone, you can get a dB-meter application, and you can test it according to SAE J2825 (Edmonton, Caledon, etc) quite easily. The problem with mobile-sampling like this is that almost *all* vehicles, even those with stock exhaust systems, will make a fair bit of noise at wide-open throttle. You cannot specify a dB level without also specifying the measurement technique in very great detail. Drive-by tests CAN be specified in such detail – but a random roadside one won’t be following any such procedure.

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