The Windsor Police will soon be launching a crackdown on excessive motorcycle noise. This follows questions raised by city councillor Alan Halberstadt in 2010 and earlier this year, with further discussion set for a council meeting in late July.
Meanwhile the police have completed training sessions for all patrol officers as to what the Highway Traffic Act says about “excessive and unusual noise”, as a city report describes it. The report says police also will launch an “awareness and enforcement” campaign this summer. Windsor has been grappling with a way to handle excessive motorcycle noise
But the city was wary of following the route of Edmonton, which passed Canada’s first motorcycle noise bylaw in 2010, with fines of $250 for no ise louder than 92 decibels at idling and 96 decibels while revving. The problem, according to the report, is that Edmonton wasn’t always able to get convictions. That’s because it used sound meters that were sometimes “compromised” by factors like background noise. In Windsor such technology will not be used because of problems other jurisdictions are having with this method of enforcement. Windsor police instead will rely on existing provincial regulations to combat the problem. “I have nothing against motorcycles as long as they don’t disturb the peace and operate in a legal manner, ” Halberstadt said.
Local police have issued tickets for excessive noise in the past and some 24 tickets were issued last summer, according to Superintendent Michael Langlois in the patrol services branch. Section 75(1) of the provincial act says motorcycles should be equipped with mufflers in good working order and that prevent excessive noise and smoke and no person shall use a muffler cut-out, straight exhaust, gutted muffler, Hollywood muffler, bypass or similar device upon a motor vehicle or motor assisted vehicle. The fine is $110.
Meanwhile, Langlois says police will take a more proactive approach and predicted there will be a minor increase in tickets. He also said the training course helped officers identify illegal modifications in muffler systems to more easily recognize violators. Previously, the officers were reluctant to lay charges because they didn’t understand the signs of tinkering with an exhaust system.
Examples could be baffles removed, a cover gone, or straight pipes that come directly from the engine. Langlois continues, “Police weren’t sure what kind of grounds were needed, what they had to specifically look for in terms of the pipes themselves, and what constitutes unnecessary noise, ” he adds.
Langlois also said the worst offenders are bikes that emit a “growling” or “crackling” noise. Those are the ones that he calls more of a nuisance when they’re in the downtown core, even if they go a short block, they crack the throttle and it grabs people’s attention.