More and more municipalities are enacting local bylaws that focus on noise levels emitted by motorcycle exhausts. On the surface, I’m sure most people would say this is a great idea, especially residents who are tired of hearing a loud motorbike passing by with the throttle cracked wide open. Hell I would too so I can totally appreciate their position on the matter but what’s being done about it is discriminatory and unfair. Despite my empathy for local residents and their frustration, I do take exception to laws like these because they are written to only be enforced on motorcycles, while noisy cars and trucks are exempt from them. However these discriminatory laws don’t just come out of thin air; they are proposed and passed because of irresponsible riders who have little respect for others and constantly crack the throttle wide open in residential areas. Once again, the irresponsible actions of some riders have negatively affected the whole riding community.
Here are the simplified details for the new law that was just passed in Caledon, Ontario:
1. Can not exceed 92db while at idle measured from a distance of 50cm behind the exhaust.
2. If a one, two, three, four or six cylinder engine, can not exceed 98db while at 2000RPM, measured from a distance of 50cm behind the exhaust.
3. If a three or four cylinder engine, can not exceed 100db, while at 5000RPM, measured from a distance of 50cm behind the exhaust
Note that if you if you have a three or four cylinder bike, you will have to pass all three tests, where as other engine combination’s will only have to pass two tests. If a bike fails any ONE of the tests, the rider can expect a fine of $150. If the rider chooses to fight the ticket, they can expect the fine to go up to $1000 if they lose.
The Canadian government has set standards for noise and since 1983, all motorcycles have been made with “silencers” in their mufflers to reduce the exhaust noise. To achieve this, the mufflers are packed with sound deadening material. Towns that pass and enforce these new laws are basically saying that they don’t accept the standards of the Canadian government.
The problem here is the low decibel limits and the distance from the exhaust that the sound will be measured at. Not only are these levels very low – so low that many cars and trucks couldn’t pass the test – but the measurements being taken at only 50cm away pretty much guarantees a fail even for new bikes that come stock right from the showroom floor. This will be a huge concern for those who ride any V-Twin motorcycle because even with a stock exhaust system, they are generally louder than many other bikes. For those who are sporting after-market or modified exhausts can pretty much be assured of having their sound levels checked (and tickets issued) on the side of the road should you happen to be spotted (or heard) by local Law Enforcement.
The town has pretty much said to motorcyclists that they are unwelcome and if you come here, you will be punished. They may as well have just passed a law banning motorcycles from their town altogether. I’ll say it again – Not only is this law unfair with it’s low sound level requirements, but its pure discrimination. Only motorcycles will have to obey this law – it simply doesn’t apply to all other vehicles. So what does a rider do? Avoid and boycott the town altogether as some have suggested? I think that’s the wrong approach because in the end…the town will get exactly what they want – No more motorcycles. Personally, I have no intention of avoiding the area. I will ride right through the town like I have before and as always, I will be responsible with the throttle and show them that not all motorcycles (or their riders) are noisy and if I get a ticket, I will fight it! But one thing is for certain…I will not spend another penny in Caledon.
As long as they discriminate against me as a rider, I will not stop again for lunch, refreshments or even gas. I may however, stop to stretch my legs and smile at the local residents as they walk past scowling at me.
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