Toronto re-visits fight against loud pipes

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.

13 thoughts on “Toronto re-visits fight against loud pipes”

  1. Best practice will be to use sound cameras and to apply the regulations to all vehicles. Chasing motorcycles in order to check for loud pipe violations would be a mistake. If you bought off road pipes for your motorcycle then keep it off road. I have been riding safely for 45 years now and none of my motorcycles were ever fitted with load pipes.

  2. Loud pipes annoy neighbours.. They also stroke the ego of the egocentric. They do not “save lives”.
    I am a believer that riding skill, situational awareness, wearing proper gear, and just plain being sensible about riding are what save lives.

  3. Regarding James McLauchlan’s question: Do the Toronto bylaws have noise standards for cars, trucks, construction equipment, lawn mowers, leaf blowers, chain saws, church bells, athletic events, concerts, train whistles, pneumatic drills, or anything else that makes noise, or are they restricted to just to motorcycles?

  4. Any rider who relies on loud pipes to save their lives is only fooling themselves. Most drivers in cars today with windows up, radio on can’t hear your loud pipes until you are already past them. The 60s and 70s are over, most vehicles have air conditioning and drive with their windows closed.

  5. Loud pipes saves lives! Specially with the amount of people that text, do not pay attention or just bad driver in general. Sometimes its the loud pipes that get the bike notice and actually prevents the accident from happening!

      1. Really I recently moved to Ontario in last couple of years and I know why insurance rates are so high, the amount of bad and incompetent drivers specially in the GTA area

    1. Funny how the loud pipe contingent care enough about their safety to be loud, but not enough to be visible (black from head to toe) or properly protected–ATGATT…

    2. Horsehockey. That’s a fantasy, based on zero evidence, promoted by immature dipsh*t riders who just want to be noticed leaving the cafe.

  6. : “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.”

    No cars mentioned even though there are many cars producing excessive noise. Sounds like another Charter of Rights challenge is possible. The law applies to all or none. I don’t care for loud pipes whether they are attached to a car, truck or bike.

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