This subject is one of the most popular complaints that I receive from readers suggesting topics for the column. Obviously many people are bothered by the unnecessary noise emitted by some motorcycles on our highways, particularly those being driven in municipal areas. The complaint is usually that the police aren't doing anything about it.
The law seems clear enough, all motor vehicles driven on our highways require mufflers that cool exhaust gases and expel them without excessive noise. There is a maximum sound pressure level of 91 DBA for motorcycles where the measurement is made in an inspection station. Finally, the law says that where an inspector holds the opinion that the exhaust is too noisy, then the exhaust is too noisy!
Having said that, I soon learned during my service that even when I could testify that the motorcycle was not equipped with any muffler at all a conviction was not a certain result in court. It seemed to be a classic case of "it's noisy" from the police and "no, it's not" from the driver, so the justice could not be certain and dismissed the ticket. I never had access to a decibel meter to measure sound pressure levels and had to rely on my ears to gather evidence.
It seems that the situation may also be a popular complaint to our lawmakers. MLA Lorne Mayencourt has just introduced members bill M203 entitled the "Motorcycle Noise Control Act." It sets a new limit of 85 DBA for the sound pressure level of motorcyles being operated on a highway where the speed limit is 60 km/h or less. The bill is aimed at reducing the noise from motorcycles being operated in residential areas anywhere in the province.
If you feel that the bill has merit, contact your MLA today and tell them so. It will require the support of all parties to pass this into law and it is your job to tell them to support it.
- Motorcycle Noise Control Act - Bill M203
- Find Your MLA - BC Legislature web site
- Muffler - Division 7.03 MVAR
- Exhaust Muffler (paragraph 22) Vehicle Noise (paragraph 27) - Schedule to Division 7 MVAR