Tonight in Edmonton: Loud pipe laws see discussion


Over the past few years, several large municipalities in Canada have enacted, or tried to enact, laws against loud pipes. Regardless of their famed life-saving capability, some city governments have had enough of the racket and tried to crack down.

Edmonton is one of those cities, and those laws are undergoing debate again tonight, says the Edmonton Journal.

The city’s community services committee is discussing the town’s loud pipe laws tonight, and some riders are intent on showing up to express their displeasure with the regulations. They say the city has spent a lot of money fighting noise, with little to show for results – over half the 338 tickets issued since the laws were enacted in 2011 have been thrown out.

For the past three years or so, the backlash against loud pipes has been prominent in the spring. We’re going to keep an eye on this one and see how it plays out – if Edmonton ditches their bylaw, it could be the start of a trend in the opposite direction.



  1. “Avoiding that eventuality means that bikers might want to not put obnoxiously loud pipes on their bikes”

    Bikers do not go out of their way to put obnoxiously loud pipes on their bikes as a whole. You are again waving a broad paint stroke with your generalizing. Motorcycles by their very nature are not quiet. They are 2 strokes etc. And ANY pipes can be made to be loud. Every pipe that passes the sound bylaw supposed test, is loud. and can be made to be louder. This is called what? “Stunting”. Lawn mowers are loud. City Buses are loud. Diesel half tons are loud. You can look anywhere and find loud pipes in the city.

    The only way around this is to ban all these loud offenders? Not logical. The answer is to go after the real offenders. Maybe start by banning Straight Pipes. This again is a no brainer. All it takes is 1 look by an educated eye to spot straight pipes. These have absolutely no baffles whatsoever. And they ARE always loud. But again, that would take an educated eye to spot. And from what I have seen, Cops are sorely lacking in both common sense, and what pipes are the real offenders.

    And excuse me please, but I am not missing the point. You as well are waving a broad stroke by saying most every pipe out there is an offendingly loud pipe, and Bikers go out of their way to look for loud pipes. By your description, it sounds like you want all pipes to be banned. And again this is illogical and wrong thinking imho. I came up with a great solution. Go after the real offenders. Your solution sounds like what the Cops are doing. Pull everyone over….. label all pipes offensive, and rake in the dough.

    Here is another message for you. Even those who ride, don`t like people who gun their pipes to be obnoxiously loud. I can`t remember how many times at Whyte Ave Timmy Ho`s that some idiot leaves and racks their pipes down the Ave. And what do most say when they see that? They say “it is guys like that , that are gonna make it bad for the rest of us who ride civily. and don`t make our pipes loud as we gear up.”

    And look what we have going on now. The few, making it tough for the rest. There is indeed a solution. But what we are seeing is far from it.

    • “Bikers do not go out of their way to put obnoxiously loud pipes on their bikes as a whole.”

      Having spent the better part of a decade managing a parts/accessories department, I feel rather qualified to say that it’s been my experience that bikers DO go out of their way to put such pipes on their bikes. In the 1980s, the aftermarket was chalk full of pipes that offered reasonable volumes. Over time, they sold less and less, while the pipes that offered the most bark won out. Now, you either find the so-called EPA pipes that offer stock volume or pretty much race cans. There is very little to be found that offers respectable volume.

      Unless, of course, ‘respectable’ is intended to “save lives”.

      From here, I suggest that we agree to disagree.

  2. Wrong! Trane Francks – “If your bike sets off car alarms as you ride through a neighbourhood, it’s too loud.” – A stock Yamaha V-Star 650 sets off car alarms that are way too sensitive because the road noise of a car is louder than that bike. My stock F-150 used to set off cars in the parkade even when it was new until the cars alarms were fixed. That is far from a reasoned argument but about as good as most of the other low IQ people who spout on this issue.
    I have been riding my motorcycles and a Tuner Car or Diesel Pickup roars past me and I can not even hear my bike over their noise, yet they are not the ones being targeted and I am.
    Set your target on ALL loud vehicles including cars with high powered audio systems and those using engine brakes and we will have no quarrel. Single me out for my choice of transportation and we will have a problem.
    Stop the hate!

    • “That is far from a reasoned argument but about as good as most of the other low IQ people who spout on this issue.”

      If you’re seriously suggesting that I have a low IQ, you’ll have to excuse me while I wet myself laughing. Oh, the incontinence of it all. ;-D

      You’re quite correct that all loud vehicles should be targeted, but the problem of public image that motorcyclists endure is one that was brought on itself by the motorcycling fraternity. Bad image doesn’t just *poof* itself into existence automagically; it’s created by the overall experience of stunting, bosozoku (the gunning engine types), weaving, speeding and all manner of other socially inept behaviour by motorcyclists.

      The grim reality is that if you want to have a good reputation in motorcycling, motorcyclists all need to share the responsibility of ambassadorship.

  3. “the very first thought in the mind of a citizen ” Well then the Citizens need to be educated. There is a huge difference between a momentarily percieved loud pipe…. and someone who is “stunting” = actually sitting there gunning their pipes to purposely be loud and obnoxious. So does this mean ALL bikers should be penalized by the actions of the few who are intentionally being loud?

    If the Government/Police etc really want to make changes, then makes those changes logically and lawfully by approaching the Bike Manufacturers and change the Laws for Motorcycles being shipped into the Country…. this should have been their 1st course of action.

    But no. Cops are literally jumping on the average law abiding Bikers like a fat kid on a smarty. They might actually save some lives if they upheld the Distracted Driving Law…. by putting as much fervor into going after Drivers who still text and talk on their cell phones with impunity. To date a momentarilly perceived loud pipe has never killed anyone. You can`t say that about Drivers texting/talking while at the wheel.

    And word to the average citizen of which people who ride Bikes happen to be as well…. Bikers drive every day and they care very much about the average citizen in this city. They do this by NOT sitting infront of anyone and gunning their pipes obnoxiously. They do it by NOT lighting up their pipes on Whyte Ave. The list goes on and on. If you judge every Rider by the few that DO wail needlessly on their pipes? Then YOU are part of the problem. Not part of the solution.

    • Gary…well said. The City and the Province need to start stiffening the distracted driving laws and enforcing it. I see Ontario now has demerits and a $3000 fine attached to their distracted driving laws. As someone who was very nearly killed by a distracted driver, I wholehearted endorse your opinion that this is where taxpayer dollars spent on enforcement need to go…not on enforcing an unfair and discriminatory law that “profiles” motorcycle enthusiasts while teenagers with soup can exhausts scream by blaring obscene rap lyrics for everyone in a 2 block radius to hear.

    • “Cops are literally jumping on the average law abiding Bikers like a fat kid on a smarty.”

      Avoiding that eventuality means that bikers might want to not put obnoxiously loud pipes on their bikes. It’s VERY worth noting that what the average motorcyclist considers acceptably loud could very well be way over the top for the average person. Those of us who worship at the altar of the internal combustion engine have a difference sense of ‘normal’ than the average person.

      It’s extremely difficult to find pipes in the aftermarket that aren’t too loud. It’s not a matter of wailing needlessly (another class of rider entirely). Your point of gunning engines is valid, but is completely beside the point WRT choosing a sensible dB output in the first place. If your bike sets off car alarms as you ride through a neighbourhood, it’s too loud. It doesn’t matter whether you pass by or prowl the area. Too loud is too loud. Straight pipes, race cans and the like have no place on the street, period, regardless of what RPM the rider uses.

      Unfortunately, many riders steadfastly cling to the image of motorcycling being a bad-boy, fringe pastime, and that will play against us all in the end.

    • You’re missing the point. The public DOES need to be educated that motorcyclists have as much right to the road and safe driving conditions as the cagers do. BUT you CANNOT educate the public by sticking a noisy pipe in their face. All you are doing is teaching the citizens that motorcyclists are a**holes and since nobody ever listens to a**holes then you cannot send the message that the public needs to hear.

      The loud pipe crowd is only making riding motorcycles more dangerous by causing the greater community of motorcyclists to be ostracised and marginalised so that there are fewer and fewer consequences to the cagers who cut us off, run us over and turn left in front of us because if we die, it’s just another “damned biker” and nobody will care.

      Stuff like Ride for Sight and other real efforts to make the greater motorcycle community have a better reputation in the eyes of the public are a great way to get the message across that “we are here and we are good people you should respect”. When the public thinks of us that way, THEN we can get the message across that they need to be careful.

  4. What we need to realize as motorcyclists is that the very first thought in the mind of a citizen when they hear loud pipes is “What an A**HOLE!”. So everyone with extremely loud pipes are simply reinforcing the opinion of all the citizens that all motorcyclists are a**holes.

    Is anyone happy with this? If all the citizens think we’re all a**holes, then how do we expect to be treated fairly by the cops and courts when we need a little justice? What citizen is going to bother staying out of our lane when they know that everyone who may observe or judge them for cutting us off also thinks we’re nothing but a**holes?

    “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” Why should we expect the citizens to treat us with due care or any respect when we abuse and annoy them with the absurd noise from open pipes?

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