Edmonton begins photo-ticketing pilot project for loud pipes

Motorcycle Exhaust
Reports from Nanaimo RCMP's new motorcycle inspection program seem to indicate they're very interested in your exhaust noise level.

Earlier this year, we told you Edmonton was considering a new technology to fight noisy vehicles, sort of like photo radar but with microphones instead of a radar gun. Now, CBC reports the city is using the new tech in a four-month pilot project. It’s the first city in North America with the technology.

Although we haven’t seen a lot of information on the photo ticketing devices, we understand they work in a way similar to a speed camera. Instead of a built-in radar gun, there’s a noisemeter that identifies a vehicle with noise output over 85 db, says CBC.

The machine then takes a photo of the offending vehicle, like a speed camera. But as it’s just a pilot project at this point and the city isn’t sure if the gadgets are allowed to send out automated tickets under provincial law, the machines won’t be sending out any fines. Instead, there will be a display board that shows the decibel rating of vehicles passing by, whether they’re over the 85 db level or not.

CBC says Edmonton has four of the devices in place now. It also mentions Edmonton has handed out 47 motorcycle noise tickets so far this summer, and 49 tickets for other vehicles. Should automated ticketing get the okay from the province, the city plans to use the winter to work out the details of implementing the technology. In theory, it will allow for far greater regulation of vehicle noise, as one of the complaints of the current police-enforced system is that officers are too busy to pay serious attention to loud vehicles.


  1. Well it’s about dams time! And the nice thing is this will ticket all inconsiderate arseholes from motorcycles to scooters to cars and trucks, so the pathetic loud-pipes-saves-lives crowd won’t be able to bitch that they are being singles out. Now, if they can do that for the asswipes that let their fucking dogs bark all day, it would be great! But it’s a step in the right direction. As population explodes out of control, more control on noise it a must if we all want to keep our sanity. I hope the rest of Canada follows ASAP.

    • Hay ..
      What about the muscle cars… how are they going to get the car to the shows…. I do agree with you on the noise… but a play ground and a daycare..
      that’s located across the street from me …
      makes noise that can last for up to 10 hours….
      A noisy car … 30 seconds…. on a drive by.
      As for muscle cars … there should be a time zone of at least from 7 am till 10 pm..
      And week ends till 11 pm
      If we allow this to happen…. then no more air shows right …. speeding jets make a lot of noise.
      Stop the trains as well … give them a ticket..
      Where do we start and where do we stop.
      Your children in your home make noise all day long .should they get a ticket as well…. a noisy car .. 30 seconds long..
      Unless some one is deliberately trying to piss ya off by sitting in one spot in front of your house deserves a big ticket .
      lets just your won a raffle … and it was a 1956
      Crown Victoria… done up to nuts .. valued at 120,000 …. are you going to tell me your gonna tow it to the car show……….if you were in an appartment and the people up above you were fighting or stereo was to loud should they get a ticket as well . We were all young at one time …. let the kids enjoy working and fixing there cars up like we did…. it keeps them away from drugs and jail putting there money into there cars….. just wondering if you have children.. maybe a son. Maybe one day your son or grandson might want you to help him build his dream car…
      No hard feelings ……… Brent.

  2. Noise measurements are very much affected by the distance from the source. That’s why when we noise-check bikes at events, the meter is only cms from the exhaust. To imagine registering 85 dB on a City meter where it’s likely metres or more from the traffic source means that you’re putting out more than 85 at the pipe. Unfortunately, this probably means that ticketing can be easily challenged. There is an SAE specification on this (J1169). What it leads to is that the infraction issuer needs to set up with the stationary vehicle in order to get a reliable, certifiable reading. Not likely, I feel.

  3. I hope it’s a nation wide trend. F#%ck these guys and their straight pipes. It’s obvious none of them live anywhere close to a road or they’d know what it’s like and show some sensitivity. Grow up and stop overcompensating for your feeling of inadequacy. It’s the 21st century you don’t have to be that guy anymore.

    • Automatic sound measurement devices, will not change riding culture and preferred legal behavior. All traffic codes, under penalty of law, are voluntarily complied to. No person is forced. The idea that your own car driving habits, while significantly operating purposely over the posted speed limit, does not produce excessive levels of harmful sound energy, is laughable. When you speed in your standard car, it produces the exact same by-product of unwanted sound on the innocent. You do it, all hours, all roads, all weather, and all seasons. Before you spew hatred on protected groups of people for prejudicial reasons, try to fix your own nasty sound pollution source. Speeding.

      • I don’t own a car. I Haven’t for 25 years. A car with stock exhaust accelerating or speeding doesn’t make nearly the decibel levels a motorcycle with open pipes or a race pipe does. I agree people need to slow down. It lessons a persons use of fuel and lower’s their carbon footprint. Prejudiced? Those people are attention seekers. It’s a pathetic cry for help. They need to F#ck off and get therapy.

  4. Edmonton also has daily photo radar on an open freeway and issue tickets at 5 km over the 100 km limit. So you can bet it’s more about potential revenue

  5. Now that is an interesting concept.
    I like that it has the potential to be fair, regardless of type of vehicle. But as always, the proof will be in the implementation and tuning.

    Is the 85dB level the same for every camera, regardless of location?
    What neighborhoods are they in? Only wealthy ones? Near golf courses? Near apartments/condos? Near tourist streets with sidewalk cafes?
    Near tunnels/underpasses or other sound reflecting structures?
    Will it be tuned to penalize unique sound frequencies/signatures?
    Will it be located at an uphill, where more throttle is naturally required?
    If two vehicles pass by the microphone/camera side-by-side (same direction) one loud and accelerating, one not, which one gets the ticket?

    Many questions still. But a pilot is a good way to gather information.

    But, like surveillance cameras, yet another way to track and potentially control citizens.

  6. I’m not going to single out any particular kind of vehicle, but I really think it’s time that the noise pollution coming from vehicles in general was dealt with. Traffic going by 100 m away from my house, which is all closed up (no windows open) should not be waking me up when I’m trying to take a nap, or drowning out my TV. Don’t care if it’s motorcycles, pickups, muscle cars, ricers, or what, I don’t want to hear them driving by. Seems like a not unreasonable request to me, since there is absolutely no need, nor as far as I’m concerned, justification, for vehicles being so damn loud. What’s that you say, you like the sound of your bike/car/semi with loud pipes? Fine, go buy yourself a piece of land with no neighbours nearby, and make all the noise you like. But if you’re on public roads, I say “piss off, you idiots.”

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