Motorcycle enthusiasts in Fredericton believe a new noise-reduction bylaw takes direct aim at bikers.
They say some won’t be able to ride at all unless the new regulation is kicked to the curb.
A bylaw passed in Fredericton in the spring puts a 92-decibel limit on vehicle noise while idling, which is louder than a vacuum but not as loud as a music concert.
Stephen Wallace, first chair of the Atlantic Confederation of Clubs and Independents, said most Harley-Davidson bikes come off the production line at 110 decibels.
His group organized what it called a ‘peaceful rally’ Saturday, as motorcyclists from his and other organizations rode into Fredericton to demonstrate against the bylaw.
He said bikers are being targeted unfairly because the bylaw does not take into account other high-volume activities.
“Your lawnmowers, your chainsaws, your weed-wacker is illegal,” Wallace said, in terms of their respective noise levels. “I see that in the bylaw they exempt all noise from construction from maybe 6 a.m. until nine o’clock at night. Well, why aren’t we exempt from those hours also?”
Wallace said his group holds unity rides annually, but this year has more meaning because of the bylaw change. He said the motorcycle community will end up spending its money outside Fredericton.
That’s already happening, according to Donna-Marie Marcelais, president of Merla’s Coven, a local women’s motorcycle club.
She said club members have been tallying receipts from recent adventures, all outside of Fredericton.
“We’ve contributed, between us and a few other friends, $4,200 so far in the last few weeks,” Marcelais said. “And that’s money taken away from Fredericton. We love Fredericton. We would love to be able to sit there on a patio.”
Outgoing Fredericton city councillor Stephen Chase, himself a motorcycle enthusiast, said if loud vehicles were not around, more people would spend time and money in the city’s core.
Chase said the city heard countless complaints about loud vehicles, adding that motorcycles were among numerous other vehicles which drew the ire of residents.
He said the 92-decibel limit is in line with standards across North America.
“If your vehicle is so noisy as to draw attention to yourself then it’s probably too loud and interferes with other people’s rights to enjoy their day in peace,” Chase said. “The bylaw is aimed at improving and reducing noise, unnecessary noise.”
Wallace said the demonstration is to highlight the rights of motorcyclists.
“The message is basic freedom,” Wallace said. “Every law passed is another freedom lost. And we’re just tired of it. We’re just showing our support and unity with each other and we want the public to understand and realize what it’s all about.”