EDMONTON – We are two years in to this bylaw in Edmonton, Alberta and people continue to ask me where we are at and will we ever succeed in our mission to have the bylaw repealed or expanded to include all forms of vehicles. Let me first say, lots has happened since I last wrote and some of it hasn’t been in Edmonton, but that is where I will start.
In December of 2011, after a discussion with a few key people, a six person committee was formed and M.O.D.E.L. was born. We are a committee dedicated to seeing that the controversial and discriminatory motorcycle only noise bylaw enacted June 9, 2010 in Edmonton is either expanded to include all forms of vehicles or repealed until it can be applied equally to all. We feel it goes against the Canadian Charter of Rights And Freedoms which states clearly we have the right to be held to and protected by the same laws equally and without discrimination.
Our mission focuses around education and our ultimate goal is to have this bylaw either expanded to include all forms of vehicles or repealed until that can be accomplished.
Why are other forms of vehicles allowed to commit the same infraction without receiving the same penalties? Why did city council feel it was necessary to target one group of people when there were already sufficient noise laws in existence?
Education is key in this very political fight. On one side we need to educate the non-riding community of our stance. I found while collected signatures for the petition back in June 2010 that after explaining the equality issue to nonriding folks, they were 100 per cent on board.
This is not a ‘loud pipes saves lives’ fight. This is a fight for equality and nothing more.
On the other side, wealso have to educate our own community on their responsibilities. There needs to be a greater show of respect for the surroundings in which we ride in. Just because you can make noise, doesn’t mean you have to. In all, the more people we get on the same page in this, thebetter.
I am very excited to announce the launch of a new blog based website – www.modeledmonton. com. It is still new with more information being added when we are able and includes our email address and a link to the Edmonton Motorcycle Club facebook group.
All information stated on our website is information that could be found by any person in the general public. All research has been conducted in a professional manner.
The posts that are up already contain some very interesting information such as the number of complaints and tickets over the past three years and information on the Noise Snare which ultimately takes the discrimination out of the discussion, but Edmonton City Council refuses to acknowledge it.
Meanwhile, the City of Calgary has done a season of testing and due diligence and has decided to go forward with a nondiscriminatory noise bylaw using the Noise Snare.
We are fortunate enough to have a very cooperative contact at the Edmonton City Police who has been more than willing to find answers to questions for us. Let’s start with the how many complaints the city received over a period of time pertaining to motorcycles.
In 2008, a total of 371 noise complaints were called in to the police. Of those, four were listed as vehicle related. In 2009, the EPS set up a better tracking system for noise complaints. Under the new system, 34 vehicle related noise complaints were called with only eight being specific to what the caller believed was a motorcycle.
In 2010 when the bylaw was enacted, again a total of 28 complaints were called in with eight being specific to what the caller believed was a motorcycle. Eight complaints was all it took for the City of Edmonton to enact a bylaw that is nothing short of a blatant form of discrimination.
How about how many tickets were issued the year before under the Provincial Traffic Safety Act versus 2010 and 2011 under the Motorcycle Only Noise Bylaw?
In 2009, where section 61 of the Provincial Traffic Safety Act was used, a fine of $115 was issued to a total of 383 vehicles. Two hundred forty five of those were issued by the traffic division while 138 were issued by bylaw.
Since the traffic division handles the new motorcycle only noise bylaw, we will focus on the 245 they issued under the Provincial Traffic Safety Act. Of those, 107 were given to motorcyclists in violation of the provincial law.
In 2010, the new motorcycle only noise bylaw was enacted with fines starting at $250 for the first offense.
In that year, 115 tickets were issued. Of those, 50 were simply paid, eight were quashed, 35 were dismissed/withdrawn and 22 are still before the courts.
In 2011, a total of 79 tickets were issued. Of those, 12 were paid, three were quashed, five were dismissed/withdrawn, and 59 are still before the courts.
After looking at the stats of complaints versus tickets issued, I have one question for City Council: Did eight complaints really mean that a discriminatory bylaw needed to be enacted when it is clear the Provincial Traffic Safety Act was already being sufficiently used?
Just looking at the numbers, using the motorcycle only check stops, 2010 only netted eight more tickets than the year before using a law that was already on the books.
At this time, we are working with some key people to try and nail down the amount of money wasted on this project. It is clear that the cost of the equipment, the training, the time to enforce the bylaw and the time in court by both EPS and the Municipal Prosecutor far outweighs the ‘revenue’ that was to be made off this bylaw.
In January while I was helping out at the bike show, my personal facebook account went crazy with notifications this bylaw in the exact wording was passed in Oakville, Ontario in December, 2011.
Again, this was done in the same shady way as in Edmonton – with no input from the general public, and based off the complaints of a few people living in a complex across the street from a Tim Horton’s on a main drag.
The fines associated with the bylaw in Oakville are not the same. In fact, they are astronomical in comparison to Edmonton.
Where here our fourth offence could mean $10,000 and the loss of our motorcycle, in Oakville the first offense will range from $450 to $25,000 and the second offense is set at the maximum penalty under their municipal laws at $50,000. I wish I was joking.
This isn’t the first town this bylaw has popped up but what makes Oakville different is John Cosentini, resident of Oakville and owner of Motorcycle Enhancements. John and I have been in constant communication since we were put in touch with each other.
He is ultimately my counterpart out east with a more vested interest due to the nature of his business.
We both have the exact view on this battle that it has nothing to do with noise and everything to do with equality under the eyes of the law. We both believe that knowledge is power and share everything.
He has formed a committee in Oakville and has adopted a similar mission and set of objectives as we have in Edmonton. He has been grateful for the work done in Edmonton as it puts them a bit more ahead of the game. I am grateful to have some unity from across the country.
For those in the east who are on facebook, search B.A.N. Bylaw – Bikers Against Noise Bylaw. If you aren’t on facebook, please visit www.motorcycleenhancements.com
The committee in Edmonton will continue to work with the committee in Oakville on this issue in hopes to further unite the motorcycle community. This bylaw will continue to spread unless we rise up and fight this together.
Get informed and get involved.