Q&A - Alarm Sirens as Horns

motorcycleCan anyone please tell me if there is any provision in law to be allowed to use a siren type of alarm noise generated by say a bike alarm to be used as part of your horn mechanism.

One huge problem for bikes is that cars don't see or hear you very well. Having a loud siren type of horn as a last ditch attempt to show people where I am on the road would make a big difference.

What is the law regarding

A: horn noises that could be classified as sirens like standard vehicle alarms

B:When is an air horn or electronic horn defined to be a siren and classified in section A

Thanks in advance 

Since you have tagged your topic with motorcycles, I'm going to assume that when you say "bike" you mean motorcycle, not bicycle.

The Regulations say this:


7.02 (1) Subject to subsection (2), every motor vehicle shall be equipped with a horn which will emit sound audible under normal conditions from a distance of 60 m, but no horn shall emit an unreasonably loud or harsh sound or a whistle.

Sirens and theft alarms

(2) No vehicle shall be equipped with a siren, whistle or bell unless

(a) the vehicle is an emergency vehicle,

(b) the device is a siren, horn or theft alarm signal for the use of which the driver or operator of the vehicle has received written permission from the director and which is used in accordance with the conditions set forth in writing by the director, or

(c) the device is a theft alarm comprised of a bell, horn or buzzer.

Since the word siren is not explictily defined by the legislation, a dictionary definition will be accepted by the courts:

a :an apparatus producing musical tones especially in acoustical studies by the rapid interruption of a current of air, steam, or fluid by a perforated rotating disk

b :a device often electrically operated for producing a penetrating warning sound an ambulance siren an air-raid siren

 So, the only legal way to equip a motorcycle with a siren is if it is registered as an emergency vehicle or you have a permit for it from ICBC.

In reply to by DriveSmartBC

Thanks for the reply. I them assume that there is no confusion for air horns to be misinterpreted as sirens, I am confused by whether a musical air horn such as the 'dukes of hazzard would infringe on the regulations.

Also. If the noise production device is attached to an alarm, as allowed by 2.c, which seems to be allowed period, what is to stop someone having a manual selector for this alarm while moving?

As already mentioned, siren-type horns are restricted and musical-type horns are illegal.

What's not restricted or illegal is a reasonable two-tone horn that is no quieter or louder than a horn you would find on any other factory-produced automobile (Most seem to operate in the 110-130db range, and automotive horns are indeed two-tone).

I have always upgraded my own motorcycle horns. The stock horns are generally inadequately quiet. Princess Auto sells high-tone and low-tone 125db horns for under $20 each. You should be able to cleanly mount them and wire them into your existing horn circuit in 30-60 minutes.