Loud Pipes Laws Are Back: Edmonton City Council Passes Plan For Hefty Fines

Credit: Zac Kurylyk

Oil City riders, better check your bike carefully if you have an aftermarket exhaust. Edmonton city council has just passed upped the fines for having a too-loud vehicle. The new plan will see you fined heavily for your first offence, and it just gets worse from there.

On February 24, Edmonton’s leaders upped their fines for excessive vehicle noise to $1000 for a first offence, and $2000 for a second offence.

Edmonton already had a city bylaw in place to fight vehicle noise, with a $250 fine. You can read the whole thing here, and note that Edmonton is one of the Canadian cities that has been fighting the hardest in the War On Loud Pipes. Every few years, the city leaders announce some new tactic. In the past, that has even included so-called “noise cameras” in 2018. This technology, which was originally invented in Alberta, uses a microphone array to hand out tickets in the same way a radar camera or red light camera works. The sensors detect an offending vehicle, a camera photographs the licence plate, and then a ticket is automatically mailed to the vehicle’s owner.

It does not seem that this technology will be used at this point; that pilot program ran in 2018, and we haven’t heard any confirmation that Edmonton adopted the tech long-term. Instead, this program is more likely to be managed by police officers responding to individual calls with the help of their trusty decibel meters.

And that’s the problem with this War On Loud Pipes: It ties up police resources. Don’t be surprised to see the calls for sound cameras again this summer, if the hefty fines don’t solve the problem. Police can only take care of one problem at a time, while the cameras run 24/7. Infuriated citizens will flip the script to their favour somehow if the problem doesn’t go away—just look at Quebec, where some areas just ban motorcycles altogether, to make the noise stop. The same thing is happening in some areas in Europe, too. Loud pipes certainly will save lives, if they completely shut down motorcycling altogether.

This isn’t saying you shouldn’t have an aftermarket exhaust. However, if you choose to go that route, ride carefully. Especially in Edmonton—an overly enthusiastic blip of the throttle might end up costing you $1,000…

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