Here we go again: Calgary police to fight loud pipes


It seems Calgary is a little behind the times.

Usually, we get a flurry of news articles about angry municipal politicians decrying loud exhausts in April, but this year it’s taken the Calgary police department a few extra weeks to get around to addressing the issue. But, it’s happening nonetheless, with an article in the Calgary Herald describing the department’s plan to cut down on noisy vehicles. They actually tried to start such a program a couple years ago, but it didn’t work out, and now they’re trying again.

It’s worth noting that the police are being much cagier than the fuzz in Edmonton; the cops in Oil City have been trying to battle motorcycle noise for years, but they can’t seem to make the tickets stick, and motorcycle riders say they’re being targeted by law enforcement, with plenty of cars and trucks running around the city pumping out just as much noise as an open-piped Big Twin.

Calgary police haven’t singled out motorcyclists, though. The Herald article has plenty of references to noisy cagers as well, so it seems that they intend on applying the rules across the board. They’ve bought some testing equipment , and they plan to start the anti-noise fight in coming weeks. The article also says the cops are planning to crack down on speeders, too, so if your bike is silent but deadly, you might want to keep a closer eye on the speedometer for the next little while …


  1. Holy crap. I am not sure whether this news brings me happiness or sadness.
    I live in Northern California and I thought surely we had the market cornered on
    arseholes with loud vehicles across the spectrum. A part of me, the Canadian-born
    part, thought I might some day retreat north surely to find a more enlightened, quieter
    civilization. I guess I can stay warm and continue wearing my earplugs. Is that good
    or bad?

    • Honestly, as soon as you get out of town it isn’t too bad, since most of the loud-pipes guys don’t seem to venture too far from the local coffee shop. Plus, there aren’t a whole lot of riders up here to start with. However, if you live next door to a ferry, like I do, and every cruiser rider feels the need to rack his pipes as he exits the boat, well, it gets to be a bit much.

      • Really guys?? Like really?? Tickets should be handed out only to those that intentionally crack the bikes – or really gun their motors in the city. I ride bike – and have LOUD pipes – but never obnoxiously loud in a populated area – Only crack them when someone driving doesn’t see me (being oblivious to anything else on the road cause they are distracted or just don’t care). It’s an audible reminder that I am there – just like railway crossings – if everyone looked and saw the lights – we wouldn’t need the the bells ringing (and people still drive into trains). Loud pipes on any vehicle can be used responsibly. Ticket the ones who aren’t – but don’t use this as an excuse to beat down everyone – esp when I use them for safety (and mine are not obnoxious – just loud)

        • That’s great if we could police ourselves but we clearly can’t. Try using your horn instead of your pipes if you think someone needs to be made aware of your presence.

        • Melody, I’ll use the throttle as a bit of a situational awareness tool at times too, but I don’t think that bothers anyone. What bothers people, including me, is looking at the simian in the next lane who’s riding in a wifebeater and has a beanie helmet covered in stickers that proclaim the wearer’s vast vocabulary of obscenities to the world, and knowing that you’d better reach across the car and roll up the window because as soon as the light changes, he’s going to unleash a sonic assault of Biblical proportions on the world, just because he likes the sound of it and doesn’t care about anyone else. What bothers people like me is having to listen to knuckleheaded wannabe one-percenters get off the ferry next door and rack their pipes so loudly as they leave that they wake me up in the morning – and I can sleep through a train passing in the night, so you know it’s loud.

          The thing is, those loud pipes don’t help you at speed anyway; a little blip of your throttle is sometimes useful to remind people you’re directly behind them, but it’s not going to stop someone who’s coming the other way from doing something stupid because of the Doppler Effect. Look it up. Those SMIDSY accidents are still gonna happen.

          And, anyone who’s ridden long hours in the saddle oughtta know that loud pipes actually wear you down over the course of a real day in the saddle. You will actually be more tired by the end of a full day’s riding if you’ve been blasted by loud pipes all day, and you will be less situationally aware – and more likely to crash!

          Having said all that, if anyone wants to have loud pipes and can ride in such a way that it doesn’t irritate the populace, go to it. I have loud cans on both my dual-purpose bikes (not intentionally), and I do my best to be considerate of other people. But it’s my observation over many years of riding that it’s almost impossible to do so, even when you’re trying.

  2. It’s about time, there is no place for loud pipes on any car, truck or bike, with the possible exception of the race track.

    • Both my Suzukis (DR350, Dr650) wear FMF Q4 mufflers. They are wayyyy too loud but I do my best to keep noise down when in town by riding sensibly. Also, they are a lot smaller than a 1200-1800 cc motor. I wish all the V-twinners out there would do the same.

  3. I hope they are successful and can start setting a precedent. A loud muffler because you can’t afford to fix it is one thing but intentionally making your bike, truck or car obnoxiously loud is just ignorant. They should find it easy enough to get the very bad offenders easily enough without arguments about stuff that may be borderline.

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