Q&A - Enforcement of Excessive Noise

Q&A ImageI'm flabbergasted that motorcycles with loud exhausts seem to be the "sacred cows" of our highways and byways. I recently spent about 18 hours working at a job site immediately adjacent to Harvey Avenue near Pandosy Street, during two sunny days of spring weather. The excessive noise from motorcycles and "jacked-up" diesel 4 x 4's trucks that constantly hammered their throttles was astonishing.

Last year I had a motorcycle that travelled up Boucherie Road at 4.35 am on weekdays, and woke me up most of the time. One day I was up real early to travel out of town and was on my sundeck drinking my coffee, and I could hear him coming from about 2-1/2 km away!)

Automated Enforcement of Excessive Noise

I have never understood why.... in today's electronic era, there couldn't be a standard roadside test to ticket violators for excessive noise. Put a portable rpm detector on the engine, rev the engine to say... 3,000 rpm, and measure the decibels at a standard distance... 50 ft? Pass or fail.

Anything like this one the horizon, or has it even been discussed by Authorities?

Noise Cameras

It appears that there is automated enforcement, noise cameras, and a counsellor in Saanich is urging that their use be considered in that city.

image of camera used to enforce excessive noise from vehicles laws

Standard for Roadside Testing

I also found this video about testing motorcycle exhaust at the roadside:

There have been a number of articles and discussions here on motorcycle exhaust and mufflers or lack of them and Kelowna seems to be the area I'm hearing it from the most lately too.

Decibel Meters

Purchase of a decibel meter to test exhaust is not that expensive compared to the other instruments that police use for speed measurement and breath testing, although I never had access to one in my 20 years of traffic policing.

Vancouver City Police use them along with a bylaw to enforce excessive noise and Nanaimo is starting a summer program aimed at motorcycle misbehaviour that includes noise. It has already garnered negative press with riders complaining about being stopped too often, one twice in 15 minutes.

Tell the Politicians

About all I can say is that you need to express your concerns to the municipal government and detachment and convince them to take some action or explain to you what they are already doing.

Get others to do the same and maybe you can push enough that you will notice a difference.

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I was pleased to read this morning that new legislation is being considered regarding the excessive motor noise issue in the Okanagan. We live on a straight stretch of Glenmore Rd. (north) and have come to expect the extremely loud motorcycles that reappear each spring/summer, waking us and our children at all hours of the night and morning, and putting a damper on outside activities for the entire summer. Could you comment on this subject and give some insights as to how the RCMP deal with this in a practical way. I understand new decibel meters will need to be purchased. How are these used? Also, is there anything civilians can do to help track down the noisemakers, specifically when the motorcycles gear up and speed down Glenmore Valley at 3am, without a doubt waking many along the way? How are they ultimately caught?

There is a CHBC News story about the new Kelowna noise bylaw, but it is no longer accessible on their web site.

Decibel meters should be used as shown in the video I provided in my previous answer, unless the bylaw requires otherwise. Of course, we won't know if a different method is specified unless we read the bylaw. There doesn't appear to be anything about it on the City of Kelowna's web site, but you can read the current traffic bylaws here.

I would imagine that the RCMP deal with it by coming across violators in their daily patrols. When they do, they will investigate and apply the bylaw or the Motor Vehicle Act if the officer feels that there is a violation and it is likely that the court will convict. There are some other articles on this site that may help you understand the issues as they currently stand.

Can you help? Perhaps. It all depends on whether the Kelowna detachment will respond to your complaints or not. There is an article here on making an effective driving complaint.

I’m glad I’m not the only person who finds this and issue.  Funny, I thought mufflers were suppose to muffle noise.  The after market for these automotive accoutrements she be monitored as well.  What it boils down to is the citizenry having to police the issue and we know nothing positive will come from this.