A comment on noisy motorcycles
Published August 20, 2010
There has been much in the media lately regarding excessively noisy motorcycles. People on both sides of the equation have offered their opinion and there has been a bit of a backlash from the motorcycling community. Both Councillor Alan Dunn and I had an abiding interest in this issue as we both own and ride motorcycles as do other Councillors and county staff.
As a result of the media and public interest, Councillor Dunn and I invited the Sergeant from the Edmonton Police Service who spearheaded that program to come out and speak to us. At the same time he also gave us a demonstration of the measuring device on Councillor Dunn’s motorcycle, a stock Harley Davidson.
The Sergeant advised us that the whole process about excessively noisy motorcycles was started in the United States and in particular California. He also advised that the proponent behind getting legislation in place in the United States was the American Motorcycle Association as a result of all the complaints from the public about loud and noisy motorcycles.
The step to put legislation in place in the United States was a 5 year scientific process. Space prevents me from commenting completely on that. The Sergeant commented that over 5 years, they tested every known production motorcycle for decibel levels at production levels in the factory. All motorcycles complied with acceptable noise levels. They then undertook another scientific examination as to the correct method of monitoring decibel levels. They came up with a process to take a sound device, place it half a meter away on a 45 degree angle at a certain height and obtain a recording. They take readings at idle as well as at 2500 rpm. There are allowances made for different size engines. He also informed me at this time there is no process yet designed to measure large vehicle decibel levels but that work is presently being undertaken in the United States.
Under the City of Edmonton bylaw, if a motorcycle has decibels higher than 92 at idle or 9600 at 2500 rpm, a prosecution results. Back to Councillor Dunn’s motorcycle; at idle, it generated 79 decibels at and 2500 rpm, it generated 84 decibels, well below the levels. I operate a Kawasaki and mine is quieter. If all motorcycles at manufacture meet the standard, it is clear that the mufflers on motorcycles that violate the bylaw have been modified by the owner. The Sergeant informed us of one reading he took on a motorcycle and it was 100 decibels at idle. By example, jets takeoff, lawnmower run and jackhammers run at 100 decibels. I would say a bit too loud for a motorcycle.
As Councillors, we get a lot of complaints from residents regarding excessively noisy motorcycles. The Sergeant also told us that the Bylaw they have only targets excessively noisy motorcycles. Clearly, the evidence before us indicates that any noisy motorcycle is modified by the owner to the detriment of the community. We asked the Sergeant about the argument used by noisy motorcyclists about a safety aspect so that a car operator can hear them coming. He says it is a false argument as the only ones that can hear the noise are the ones behind you. A reading of 92 and 96 is not too far behind 100. So motorcyclists, the onus is on you.
Councillor, Ward 4
Last updated: Wednesday, August 18, 2010
Page ID: 6526