Edmonton appears to once again be preparing to tackle the problem of noisy motorcycles within city limits, although its plans are unclear.
Over the past few years, Edmonton has been trying to come up with a solution for loud vehicles, with what appears to be little success. In 2013, the city announced a crackdown, but only issued 338 tickets under the noise bylaw, of which only 108 were paid, after riders and drivers decided to start fighting them in court. Motorcycles and four-wheeled vehicles were both subject to the noise bylaw, with motorcyclists saying they were being unfairly targeted and the city responding by saying more cars than bikes were ticketed.
In 2014, the city talked about the possibility of even higher fines, but little action seemed to come of it. Another crackdown was announced in 2016, and then a “noise camera” pilot program (similar to a speed camera, but with a decibel meter instead of a radar gun) was announced for 2018. The noise camera pilot project was a spectacular failure. The cameras were configured to only warn riders of their noise levels, not ticket them. Predictably, motorcyclists were simply riding up to the cameras to see how loud they could rev their motorcycles, with no fear of consequences.
Despite the setbacks, Edmonton city leaders seem intent to pursue this again, as the city police were out on the weekend, running a free noise check clinic. CBC reports riders could tootle down to the NAIT South Campus on Saturday and have officers check their exhaust output with a decibel meter.
How did they run the testing? According to the CBC, “Officers placed a sound level metre at a 45-degree angle from motorbike exhaust pipes, then revved the engines, to see if the bikes met bylaw requirements. Motorcyclists whose bikes exceeded the 96-decibel limit were offered amnesty from receiving a ticket during the event.”
However, this is pretty much all the information we have. As far as we know, the noise cameras aren’t coming back, so we’re probably looking at a return to the older method of having traffic cops utilizing decibel meters.