For riders in Edmonton, the battle lines have been drawn.
The city of Edmonton is looking to INCREASE the fines for loud pipes.
The fine stands at $250 for the first offence.

According to an article in the Edmonton Sun, motorcyclists aren't being disproportionately targeted for noise violations - but how true is that statement?

Begin Quote: The report states 338 motorcyclists have been charged under the Motorcycle Noise Bylaw since it was enacted three years ago. In comparison, 714 motor vehicle operators have been charged for noise under the Traffic Safety Act in the same time frame - including 494 during motorcycle season. End Quote

338 motorcyclists in a city with approximately 13,000 motorcycles
(M.O.D.E.L. Edmonton Numbers)

714 motor vehicle operators in a city with 602, 783 registered vehicles. (

But motorcycles aren't stopped or ticketed disproportionately?

Well, let's do the math...

338 divided by 13,000 =  2.6% of motorcycles
714 divided by 602,783 = .00118% of vehicles - please take into account this figure does not include tourists, or others from outside communities using the roadways in Edmonton Metro.

According to the same article in the Sun - "Of the 338 tickets written, 108 were voluntarily paid and 151 were challenged in court, with 86 being withdrawn or dismissed." End Quote

Now lets do some other math.

338 motorcyclists ticketed.
108 tickets paid: 108 x $250 = $27,000
65 convicted: 65 x $250 = $16,250
86 were with drawn (Quashed)
79 Are still before the courts
Total Income: $43,250

I used the Rate Sheet information from Edmonton to create a budget of sorts for the costs of this Motorcycle Only Noise Bylaw and it can be seen here:

Initial Costs:
Training & Equipment Costs: $68,000

Operational Costs:
3 police officers per motorcycle noise check - each motorcycle check takes approximately an hour.
3 officers x $60.00 per hour = $180/hour for 338 hours = $60,840
1 police car @ $50 per day: 338 hours divided by 8 hours (a normal work day) = 42 day x $50 = $2,100

Administration Time:
If it takes an officer 1 hour of admin and court prep time per ticket then 338 x $60 = $20,280

Time in the courts: 
If the courts time is worth let's guess here and say $750 per hour (Judge, clerk, 2 peace officers/sheriffs, crown council, building costs) and the average traffic ticket takes 1/2 hour to fight that means 338-108 voluntarily paid = 230 divided by 2 - 115 hours of the courts time @ $750/hour = $86,250
(79 tickets are still to go before the courts but I have added them in here to reflect the costs as closely as possible.)

Costs that are known or calculable:
$68,000 - Initial training and equipment
$60,840 - Police officer wages
$2,100 - patrol car
$20,280 - Police officer wages for admin and court prep
$86,250 - Court Time costs
$237,110 - Total Costs 

$237,110 - $43,250 = -$193,860 and that's just a rough estimate!

Moral, ethical and legal questions regarding the discrimination issues of this bylaw aside, is this really an effective use of the time of 3 police officers, court resources and taxpayers money?

I guess Edmonton City council thinks so.

What say you?

Belt Drive Betty
Editor & Rider

Background information on the bylaw, provincial statutes and the fines:
From the Edmonton Police Department Website:

Excessive Noise from Vehicles

We’ve all experienced it, vehicles with loud stereos that seem to vibrate the walls of your home as they pass by and vehicles with modified exhaust systems that can be heard for several city blocks.

Edmonton, like other urban centres throughout the country, is receiving repeated complaints about excessive vehicle noise. Numerous noise complaints have come in through city councillors, the Chief’s town hall meetings, in the media and the public calling in on the police complaint line.

Loud and excessive noise can be characterized as noise that becomes a nuisance to the general public, taking into consideration the nature, location, time and proximity of the source to residents and members of the public. An example of this would include a loud auto stereo or car, truck or motorcycle exhaust emitting sound to the extent it disturbs patrons at a café, nearby residents or other motorists on the roadway.

Loud and excessive noise is now being addressed as a community disorder issue in Edmonton. Traffic and Patrol members are conducting an enforcement campaign in an effort to crack down on offenders.

If operated normally, most original or equipment in any vehicle should not emit excessive noise. Check the equipment that you do have to ensure your exhaust system does not emit excessive noise through a widened outlet that amplifies the noise. Also ensure that your system is equipped with baffles. Have consideration for those around you and avoid aggressive use of your equipment.
Fines for Violation

The EPS will charge violators at three benchmark noise levels tested with the motorcycle stationary.:
Violators in excess of 92 dbA at idle for all motorcycles
Violators in excess of 96 dbA at 2000 rpm for motorcycles having less than 3 cylinders or more than 4 cylinders
Violators in excess of 100 dbA at 5000 rpm for motorcycles with 3 or 4 cylinders.

The fine for violation of this bylaw is $250.00.

Sections of the Traffic Safety Act can also be used when dealing with excessive noise.
TSA Noise Laws

The following sections of the Traffic Safety Act (TSA) Vehicle Equipment Regulations (VER) or Traffic Safety Act (TSA) Use of Highway and Rules of the Road Regulations (ROR) pertain to excessive vehicle noise.

In summary they state:Section 61 TSA- VER refers to a motor vehicle propelled by an internal combustion engine. It says that the exhaust muffler must not produce excessive noise or flames and sparks. It goes on to say that the exhaust outlet cannot be widened or have a device attached to it that increases noise. The fine is $115.00.

Section 82 TSA- ROR states a person shall not create or cause the emission of any loud and unnecessary noise from a vehicle or any part of it, or from anything or substance that the vehicle or a part of the vehicle comes into contact with. The fine for this section is $115.00.

Section 87 TSA- ROR relates to driving a motor vehicle in a residential area between 10:00 p.m. and 7:00 a.m. that disturbs residents. This section requires a complaint from a resident. The fine for excessive noise under this section is $115.00. A complainant must appear in court as a witness if charges are laid under this section.

Section 115 (2)(f) TSA says a person shall not do any of the following: drive a vehicle as to perform or engage in any stunt or other activity on a highway that is likely to distract, startle or interfere with other users of the highway. The fine for this section is $402.00 and carries 3 demerit points.

Post a Comment

  1. At the regular Saskatoon City Council meeting (Saskatoon, Saskatchewan) on Monday, March 17, 2014, Council directed administration to prepare a bylaw amendment to the existing Noise Bylaw to create a section specific to noisy vehicles in general and to use a decibel rating to determine whether or not a motorcycle is too loud...and they like the Edmonton model because the information provided to them "seems" so good. They chose this path even though current The Traffic Safety Act and The Vehicle Equipment Regulations, 1987 provides for the ticketing of offenses related to the reasons vehicles are "noisy".

    Thank you for posting this along with the source of your raw data. It is timely and very helpful!


  2. Yes, I it's worth it. That worthless extra noise needs to be stopped.

  3. Dear nilsca,

    The offenders are easily spotted and the police could end their noise making ways if they employed their policing skills. The sad fact of the matter is that you live in a city and you need to accept that there WILL be noise. The people in our community who are being obnoxious need to remember that we all share this world.

    The people in politics need to learn that you can't single out one community, we are all tax payers and all have rights that deserve to be protected and defended.

    Until you can find a way to ticket all who offend, whether they drive a pick up, a van, a sports car, a sedan or a motorcycle, quash the bylaw. There needs to be equity here and there isn't.