In a move that’s been five years in the making, Toronto city council has finally updated its noise bylaw, and the result includes a revitalized attack on loud pipes.
According to this background file, the revisions to the sound bylaw include a defined noise limit for motorcycles: “No person shall emit or cause or permit the emission of sound from a motorcycle, if the motorcycle emits any sound exceeding 92 dB(A) from the exhaust outlet as measured at 50 cm, while the motorcycle engine is at idle.”
That 92 dB number is “consistent with recommendation from the Society of Automotive Engineers,” says the document.
Other wording states: “No person shall emit or cause or permit the emission of sound resulting from unnecessary motor vehicle noise, such as the sounding of a horn, revving of an engine, squealing of tires, banging, clanking or any like sound that is clearly audible at a point of reception.” Does that mean no more revving V-twins or sportbikes at stoplights? We’ll see!
When city staff started working on an updated noise bylaw in 2014, one problem they encountered was the inability of bylaw staff to pull over moving motorcycles. With no traffic enforcement capability, staff were unable to do anything about a motorcycle that emitted an excessive amount of noise as it rode past.
However, the background file seems to imply bylaw officers are now going to be working with police to combat noise violations (there’s talk of collaboration with the cops “to conduct traffic blitzes in high priority areas.”
The document also notes the sound cameras used in other cities. The implication seems to be that these would also work in Toronto, possibly circumventing the difficulty of ticketing a moving vehicle. However, as we saw last summer, these cameras did little to improve the situation, possibly because they weren’t configured to hand out tickets.