‘It saves lives’: Motorcyclists defend loud pipes despite threat of fines
From the loud revving to the roaring exhausts, motorcycles can leave behind deafening decibels.
Loud motorcycles seem to be a perennial problem in Manitoba.
“There’s a lot of unnecessary revving of the engines especially at stop lights,” said one man. “It’s a little bit too noisy,” another said.
Excessive noise from motorcycles has been a issue in many major Canadian cities, especially in the summer months.
“We do see an increase definitely with the summer months,” Winnipeg police Patrol Sgt. Stephane Boulet said.
“We do see an increase in complaints from the public for excessive noise so that’s something we will target.”
Police have the ability to fine noisy drivers under the province’s Highway Traffic Act which states:
Regulations prohibit a vehicle from making unnecessary or excessive noise by alteration of vehicle mufflers or by installing an aftermarket muffler that is not intended to reduce noise.
A motor vehicle or motorcycle making excessive noise from the engine, exhaust system or braking system can be hit with a fine of $237.50.
The City of Winnipeg said there had been zero fines issued for noise-related complaints by their by-law officers in 2018.
Winnipeg Police could not say how many tickets had been handed out, but said when it comes to the roads, officers do not have access to noise meter readers, meaning whether or not to issue a fine is often left up to an officer’s discretion.
“(If) we do come across something that is unnecessary or unduly noisy for that time we will enforce it as necessary,” Boulet said.
Motorcyclists have made the argument that it’s not about being a nuisance — the noisy pipes serve a greater safety purpose.
“Loud pipes save lives,” James Duncan said. “People can hear you coming. You don’t get as many people trying to run you off the road.”
The 64-year-old biker has been riding his motorcycle since he was 16.
“It’s safety for bikers for sure,” he said. “If the people in four wheels can hear you coming, they know not to pull in your lane and cut you off.”
While police said there is no proof a louder bike can decrease the odds of crashes, motorcyclists do need to be aware of some of the other risks.
“It also impedes other people that surround that motorcycle or vehicle,” Boulet said. “Preventing them from hearing other factors that are required while driving. Such as emergency vehicles or someone calling for help.”
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