Shots fired! Shots fired! For 2021, the opening battleground in the city-councils-vs-loud-pipes war is apparently Fredericton, New Brunswick. City council recently passed a bylaw that cracks down on loud-piped motorcycles, as well as targeting other vehicles.
Every year, we see this issue pop up across Canada, as noisy motorcycles disturb city dwellers, causing them to pressure their councillors to do something about the issue. We’ve seen everything from outright motorcycle bans in certain regions (Quebec City’s Old City zone) to tough-talking bylaws to new technology like noise cameras, all aimed at quieting down city streets. Some cities specifically target motorcycles, others also say they’re fighting against loud cars as well (or at least, they pay lip service to that idea, to avoid accusations of discrimination).
Fredericton’s new Bylaw S-17 supposedly does both. It’s supposed to battle all vehicle noise, but it contains wordage specifically aimed at bikes See below:
3.02 No person shall operate or permit a Motorcycle to emit:
(1)any sound exceeding ninety–two (92) dB(A) as measured in accordance with the instrument specifications when measured by a Sound Level Meter when the engine is at idle when a Stationary Sound Test is conducted; or
(2) any sound exceeding ninety–six (96) dB(A) as measured in accordance with the instrument specifications when measured by a Sound Level Meter when the engine is at any speed greater than idle when a Stationary Sound Test is conducted.
You can read the whole bylaw here. Fredericton police have a decibel meter for measuring a bike’s noise levels now, to aid enforcement. Riders will pay a $250 fine for their first offence. If they don’t remove their loud pipes, police can increase the fines.
Fredericton tried a similar bylaw a few years back, but was unable to pass it through council. Now, it seems council is talking tough and mustered the moral fibre to pass this law just before a municipal election … hmmmm.
As you’d expect, reaction to the law is widely varied. Non-riders seem mostly in favour of it, judging by the comment section for this CBC story. The usual proponents of loud pipes are doing their usual justification for noisy exhausts (“loud pipes save lives,” etc.), and doing their usual threatening (“I won’t buy gas or shop at convenience stores in Fredericton”).
Longtime readers know we’ve covered this issue a lot here at CMG. For our previous editorial stance, take a look at Dustin’s opinion piece from last year.