Saturday, April 23, 2011

What 1 city is doing about Noisy Motorbikes and Altered Exhaust Systems, supported by the Motorcycle Industry

City moves ahead on noisy motorbike ban

BATHURST - The City of Bathurst has laid out a proposed bylaw to curb excessive noise from exhaust systems on motorcycles.

The bylaw was introduced for the first time at the Feb. 21 regular public meeting of council.

Mayor Stephen Brunet said the first reading of the bylaw will take place during the next regular public council meeting of March 21 and second and third readings would take place in April.

Coun. Graham Wiseman said the bylaw is needed to give police the ability to fine those making excessive noise with their vehicles.

"This is a discussion that's been going on for a while," he told council.

"What we've done is we have held a couple of meetings with all the committee members, discussed and looked at different avenues and what we can or possibly cannot do and what legislation is existing in the province that would be of assistance to us. So having put all that stuff together we have put together a proposed bylaw."

Wiseman said the bylaw would set a decibel noise level that no motor vehicle would be allowed to exceed within city limits. City police would use decibel reading devices to determine if a vehicle is within compliance.

"The provincial legislation states the driver of a motor vehicle that is being operating on a highway shall ensure that the motor vehicle is equipped with a muffler and exhaust pipes, or pipes that are in good working order and in constant operation so as to prevent excessive or unusual noise. And no person shall operate a motor vehicle equipped with a muffler cut out bypass or similar device. What we are proposing is to complement the provincial legislation by a level of measurement...which sets the maximum decibel level."

Decibel readings would be measured by placing a sound meter 50 centimetres away from an exhaust pipe. The passing maximum decibel level is 92 and there are some exceptions. Wiseman said a one, two, five, or six-cylinder motorcycle will pass under 96 decibels, while a three and four-cylinder motorcycle will pass under 100 decibels.

The sound tests will be done 50 cm from the exhaust pipe and background noise tests will be done prior to readings being taken.

Should a vehicle surpass the acceptable decibel level, police may issue a minimum fine of $250 to a maximum fine of $10,000.

Wiseman noted that a presentation was recently made to council from the motorcycle industry in support of this bylaw.

At a council meeting last month, Wiseman showed an instructional video by the motorcycle industry which describes how this bylaw would be introduced and enforced.

He noted that all manufactured motorcycles should be able to pass the decibel tests and the only ones which may fail would be the bikes that have been modified.

"The decibel level is set high enough so that motorcycles will be heard," he said, in reference to comments from some motorcyclists about the proposed bylaw that it's important for safety reasons that motorcycles be heard. "For example, a Harley Davidson...will pass this test as long as they have not altered their exhaust system."

Wiseman said clinics will be set up to have motorcycles or other vehicles checked by police prior to the bylaw being introduced.