Motorcycle noise story draws fire.

Today Ian Mulgrew wrote in The Vancouver Sun in his article “Excessive noise is in the ear of the beholder”Bruce Wayne used self-procurement to equip his alter-ego, Batman, but why would we let B.C. cops pack their own unregulated crime-fighting devices?

BC traffic courts will accept, with increasing frequency, simply a police officer’s word that you were speeding or committing other offences. For some things there are few grey areas but others require measurement instruments to prove a charge in court. Stopping for a stop sign for instance; you either did or you didn’t stop. The grey area might be the circumstance that prevented you from stopping or stopping completely behind the line. That could be up for discussion and does not require a device to corroborate the observation in order to prove the charge.

Whereas speed is more difficult to measure and because of it taxpayers are willing to fund expensive LIDAR and RADAR devices, to objectively /accurately measure speed infractions; particularly as so much these days can be riding on the outcome of a charge. The same goes for noise. While the human ear can tell if something is loud or not so loud, the processing of the noise may be affected by many factors and (in the case of some of the writers today) the receivers’ degree of appreciation or agitation of / to the type of sound. So we have devices to measure sound, as well as objective thresholds with testing protocols to define and measure both speed and sound. If device accuracy were in question and / or testing protocol was not followed, once upon a time the courts likely would dismiss a charge. Radar under certain circumstances can produce eroneous speed readings for an operator. Decibel meters operated too close to concrete walls or where there is high ambient noise can produce higher readings… for instance.

Imagine, if you will, that you were pulled over having consumed a glass of wine having displayed no sign of intoxication by your driving. However, you blew a “fail” on the breath testing device. While you might be miffed that you were not intoxicated and had done nothing with your driving to attract attention, it’s a good bet you’d be even more upset if you found out the police officer carried his own device that he’d used to corroborate his “suspicion” that you were intoxicated. Breath testing devices are specifed in the Criminal Code and with good reason.

The Minister of Public Safety recently confirmed that there are NO published standards for certain equipment the police use to measure evidence being gathered to prosecute drivers under the BC Motor Vehicle Act. So if you’ve ever been to court to contest a speeding ticket and observed the standard disclaimer along with other evidence, consisting of equipment type, operator training, when the training was completed, when equipment calibrated and how it was calibrated etc., it may come as a surprise when you learn that nowhere is it specified what kind of equipment is used, or whether it must be of a certain type and / or department issued.

True enough, the likelihood that individual members of police and RCMP will buy their own LIDAR is not great; but today they could if they wanted to. However breath testing and noise devices are not so expensive, and in the case of the decibel meter there’s at least one VPD traffic cop who feels strongly enough about his mission in life, that he’s gone out and purchased his own equipment to measure noise. It’s no problem if it’s just for his own use however the day he shows up in court and offers it as accurate objective evidence to support a conviction, it is a problem. And that’s what he did or attempted to do (once his evidence was called into question, the JP figured it out and said it wasn’t needed for a conviction).

Predictably, people have responded to The Vancouver Sun article and focused their hatred towards noisy motorcycles and the need to silence them at all costs. Ok, understood, we don’t like them either. However do these same people feel it’s ok to allow this lack of process and standardization in evidence measurement and do they feel comfortable with their courts overlooking this? I hope not.

So theoretically police can acquire their equipment at a dollar store to measure your speed and noise infractions.

If the burden of proof being demanded by BC traffic courts is now so low that it’s not necessary for an accurate objective or for that matter any objective measurement to obtain a conviction, it leads to the questions:

1) Why does the taxpayer supply RADAR for virtually every police cruiser?

2) How comfortable are you knowing that you can have your vehicle impounded for excessive speed on a visual estimate, and potentially permanently seized and sold for offences, based on an officer’s estimate?

See below for some examples of mail. What do you think?

I read the story today about you fighting an excessive noise ticket you got for riding a Harley equipped with shotgun pipes. I too rode loud and/or unmuffled bikes – when I was a teenager. I outgrew it decades ago. It’s long past time you did too. Why should the rest of us have to suffer listening to a bunch of arrested adolescents shattering the peace and quiet with their “look at me” childish nonsense?

Your phoney indignation over the ticket is just that – phoney – it’s simple sophistry and/or sea lawyering. IMHO every unmuffled Harley should get a ticket every time it is fired up, no questions asked. All you need is ears to know if it’s too loud. No baffling is too loud, period – no Db meter needed.
Put your efforts into fighting the Big Brother cameras and other such useful endeavours and stop the juvenile nonsense, it only damages your credibility.
And put some baffles on your bike!
Indignantly yours.
I just read the opinion piece in the Vancouver Sun. Hats off to the officer who gave you the ticket, it should have been a $5000.00 ticket. I cannot understand why motorcycle drivers think they need to have such extremely loud bikes. There is no need for it. I live in downtown Vancouver, close to Beach Avenue. I understand living downtown is louder than living in the suburbs. I can handle the sirens, the odd car alarm or odd car horn. Hearing music from large gatherings also comes with the territory. But the noise from a motorcycle is unacceptable and unnecessary. It’s the only noise that causes the windows in my condo to rattle. If I am listening to music or watching TV, it is interrupted until the motorcycle passes. If I am on the phone, forget trying to hear what the other person is trying to say to me until the bike passes.
I have absolutely no sympathy for you or others who have such loud motorcycles. Hopefully someday such machines will be banned. I am not against motorcycles, just the loud ones certain bikers need to boost their ego. I don’t care if the police officer used his own device or if he even just used his judgement, it’s well past time to crack down on those excessive noise makers. There are other people living in society other than loud motorcycle riders and it’s time we don’t have hear that excessive noise anymore!


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    October 15, 2018

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  3. Bazz

    July 7, 2017

    Lets just call it the way it is. These motorcycle owners who don’t give a F__K about everyone else are just A__Holes.

  4. Bill Webster

    August 9, 2015

    Apart from Fearless Fred getting confused over civil rights and government privilege i.e “It’s my

    right to disturb other citizens” vs. the privilege of driving down a street owned by the citizens.

    I think it is long overdo to contact politically elected representatives to examine this issue and

    determine how we are to exist as a collective through public forum or some other effective


    Please feel free to contact me for any assistance you may need.

    PS I feel this is a Provincial matter but I can’t see Premier Milf wanting to restrict anyone’s “Rights”.

    • Art Mason

      February 8, 2016

      We Started a petition In the Kootenays , had 20 Regional Directors pass a Resolution to support it . The petition requests that the motor vehicle act concerning the deliberate noise pollution created by these people be dealt with.

  5. mike jensonny

    June 10, 2015

    All of you so called citizens of this free country continue to impose more ridiculous laws and legislation against the rest of us and yourselves based on selfish childish annoyances resulting in a shitty ,stressfull, unindividualistic society filled with stale scared opressed little people with no hope or power to enjoy their pathetic regulated lives,, why are you so upset about a little noise? There are junkies breaking into your cars, scumbags kidnapping and trafficking children for sex, foreigners making it impossible to afford to live in our own country, an abusive aggressive police force taking out their bully issues on the public, and the citizens paying them to harass and discriminate against joe average from jaywalking to dog poop!!! tax tax tax tax!!! All of you whiners who can actually afford to live downtown should realize noone outside of your pathetic hate bubble cares whether you lives or dies let alone gives a shit if the sound of a loud bike stirs you out of your beauty nap, you idiots are taking away the freedom every free man or woman has a right to enjoy!! If i wanna make noise in public on streets that i pay for also than so be it! Its my right!! What if the site of your plastic lizard faces scares my children should i run to city hall and lobby to stop plastik surgeons from working? What if the acrid smell of your designer parfume disgustes me, should i make it illegal for you to wear it? what if you wear a red top and blue jeans together is this not awful!! tax it ticket it!!! these criminals must be stopped!!!!

  6. Rob

    August 9, 2014

    This is such an ass backward province in almost all areas compared to most of the others. You dont find loud motorcycles like BC has in droves in other provinces (ex maybe Quebec). It is an easy thing. Your car is too loud you get a ticket and notice to fix it. Should be that straight forward for a bike. The only issue is that the people who own the bikes are uneducated knuckle dragging troglodytes who did not get enough attention as children and now have to make up for it by annoying everyone around them to make them feel like men. I just think we should run them into a ditch and then say “oh It was so loud I was scared because I thought a low flying jet was about to land on me so I swerved to get off the road and did not see the motorcycle”. Sounds like a good plan to me.

  7. john

    July 11, 2014

    if its loud enough to distract just turn towards the noise

  8. Fred Chubka

    February 19, 2014

    The truth is, this legislation is descrimination, which violates our constitutional rights of freedom, and every motorcycle club can file a claim against the governing body to have it quashed and pay punitive damages to compensate all affected parties. Here’s how,… when my daughter attended public school, the school bus was louder than any of my Harleys. Diesel powered trucks, locomotives are also louder. Airplanes, construction equipment, concert venues, and a variety of other actions produce a louder decibel output. All 1 has to do, is prove it in a court of law, and the ruling will be dismissed, the legislation can be reversed. Conduct protests, sign petitions,organize rallys, present them to your MLA and MP’S, quite dfrankly fight for your rights and never say die. Bottom line is you probably pissed off some politician or picked on him in school and this is part of their revenge. Screw your shirts and ties, I ride, I ride with pride, the worlds countrysides, dont let your constitutional rights be denied ! If 1 wants peace, then move to the countryside and crawl under a rock.

    • Alex Mitchell

      January 21, 2015

      Which “constitutional rights” are being denied by requiring noise-abatement equipment on motorcycles?

      • Fred Chubka

        July 7, 2015


        • Yahs

          June 18, 2018

          You are a perfect example of the morons that ride those things. Your answer is a load of incorrect facts. Did you youtube it shit for brains.

  9. Tedd

    September 14, 2013

    We’re probably better off with police providing their own sound measurement equipment than if they were officially issues with equipment sanctioned by the police department. As with radar, the results obtained by authorized equipment used by a trained officer and calibrated in accordance with approved methods would likely be virtually unchallengeable in court, regardless of how accurate it was. If cops are bringing their own toys to the party, at least we have a chance of convincing the court that maybe, due to the complexity of sound measurement, the “evidence” they’re presented with might not be good enough to convict on.

  10. Sam

    September 13, 2013

    You don’t need special equipment for most of these dopes who have modified their exhausts.
    It is more than evident to the human ear that it is far beyond reasonable the noise they are making and a quick check for after market ( illegal ) exhausts would result in a ticket for breaking the bylaw that was enacted to stop this kind of unnecessary disturbance in the neighborhoods were people have a right to quiet enjoyment of their property, namely being able to sleep in their beds with out some knob waking them up at 3 am because he took a piece of re bar and knocked out the baffles in his factory muffler or have replaced it with an after market illegal exhaust.

  11. Jones

    September 13, 2013

    Noisy cars and motorcycles disturb people in their homes let alone on the streets, it’s ridiculous , and gotten way out of hand.
    Even late at night they don’t even care if it’s 2 or 3 am they roar down the streets waking people up.
    I refer to the illegal exhaust after market add on and not the factory original equipment.
    There are noise bylaws that cover this and obviously they are not being enforced so maybe the problem lies with the local police authority that is not applying the laws of the land and handing out tickets to these individuals who are operating illegal equipment on their conveyances.

    • Ian

      September 13, 2013


  12. Nik

    September 11, 2013

    I forgot to add my comment about testing. Decibel testing is completely useless. As I stated earlier I’ve never been pulled over because I’m respectful with how and when I choose to ride my bike loudly. That being said, if you were to put a decibel meter behind my bike and rev it up to 3k while it’s in neutral (this is how cops are testing) then you better believe it’s going to be loud. This testing method has nothing to do with how a bike sounds when it’s ridden under load. Current testing METHOD is a complete fail, never mind the equipment.

    • Greg

      September 14, 2013

      Nik, you said,”I’m respectful with how and when I choose to ride my bike loudly.”

      So, that would have to mean you never ride it loudly, right? Because, when could it ever be respectful to ride it loudly?

  13. Nik

    September 11, 2013

    I’m an owner of an old ’79 Honda CB750 and it’s loud as hell…when I want it to be. Every rider of every “loud” bike has perfect control over how much sound they can make based on how much gas they give it and what gear they’re in. When I’m riding at night or in an area where there’s a lot of people then my bike sounds no louder than anyone else’s. I like cruising on my bike, wind in my face, loud engine and exhaust underneath me. I do my best to make sure I’m not being loud when I shouldn’t be. This is probably why I’ve never been pulled over.

    • Ian

      September 11, 2013

      That’s exactly how I was behaving. Respectfully, cautious, not attracting any attention.

  14. Stephen

    August 30, 2013

    This ” loud motorcycles make it safer” whining is BS.

    If this was the case, why is it that the bikers with the loud pipes are the ones barely wearing any saftey gear, including full face helmet and high visability clothing. And why is it the MCs with loud pipes are the ones typically seen riding between cars, on shoulders and too close in tandem. In Germany the task of monitoring noisy MCs is much more clear cut, percieved noisy bike, pull you over , check for modifications , deteoration or removal of key noise reducing components of mufflers. Ticket and your bike trucked away, simple and no noise measuring device required.

    I also have a bike and the only safe bet on the road is that nobody sees you,hears you ,everyone is trying to kill you AND then drive accordingly. Assumptions and sloppiness kill, period.

    Yes, biking is serious business, not a Halloween show. Safe riding 🙂

  15. Michael

    July 7, 2013

    I am wondering why there are sirens every twenty minutes screaing through the downtown core- i thought there was a noise bylaw passed several years ago that allows sirens to be OFF when its not necessary, i am tired of hearing sirens every twenty minutes. Living in downtown Vancouver is almost unbearable at this point between the cost of living, the noise from all the crowds and events, and continuous emergency vehicles with sirens, i am literally sick of living here. Vancouver is so overrated. I dont need to pay half a million to live in the middle of a circus with lunatics and sirens going all day and all night. Ridiculous.

    • ROZE

      July 24, 2013


  16. jason

    June 2, 2013

    Can we turn our attentions to real civic issues in this city for once? So tired of people complaining about motorcycle volume. I live in the heart of downtown and it’s not near the issue others make it out to be. I hear a loud bike maybe once every 2 hours and the noise passes within 20 seconds. Sorry this guy would rather focus on high rents, the closing and empty retail space downtown, the downtown Eastside issues, etc etc. Time, energy and money are to vital to waste on such nonsense as a little motorcycle volume (and it is very little) Welcome to the realities of living in a large city. There is going to be a little noise esp in the short summer months. If you can’t tollerate it then there are hundreds of quiet towns in the country side. The high majority of us living downtown and elsewhere really don’t care about motorcycle volume. Lets move on to real issues of the day.

  17. Motorcycle Sound

    April 16, 2013

    Nice article thanks to share this all information here..

  18. SunRider

    March 26, 2013

    The day that drivers (cars, trucks, etc.) learn to turn their heads to look before making a lane change, and learn to look for motorcycles on the road before making a left turn onto a motorcyclists path, will be the day that I agree that loud motorcycle pipes are nothing but a nuisance. Until then, my louder pipes have kept other cars from hitting me on more than one occasion. As you all well know, getting hit by a car while on a motorcycle can result in serious injury or death to the rider, even at slow speeds! Loud pipes do save lives!

    • SunRider

      March 26, 2013

      In keeping with the prevailing theme here (as evidenced by some of the “intelligent” comments below) I felt the need to express the above opinion in spite of the fact that it detracts from the real issue at hand. Forgive me.

      • Tim

        September 13, 2013

        That is bogus .
        Your original factory installed equipment is more than adequate and loud enough for any one in a vehicle to hear.
        If you rode responsibly and not accelerated like a rocket past everyone there would be time for others to see you.
        If you rode that piece of junk in my neighborhood you would be FINED ! $500.00 – $2000.00 second offense.

    • Mike Robinson

      June 8, 2013

      If you are using your pipes to warn of your approach then they should point forward where the danger is. If they point backwards you are needlessly wasting your precious sound on dangers behind.

      What saves lives and skin is alert sensible driving. Keep in mind most motorcycles on the road are the most powerful, ie hp/weight , vehicles on the road. With this they accelerate quickly, its fun I know, and that is one of the most dangerous parts of bike riding. You can get to 50 in a blink and in that blink someone has missed seeing you. It is incumbent on the cyclist to take care of business while not violating our legal rights to peaceful enjoyment to private and public property. These rights come to us from English common law from centuries past.

      • Ian

        June 8, 2013

        Mike: I don’t disagree with a lot of what you say. Now what do you have to say about the points raised in the article?

    • Stephen

      August 30, 2013

      That would be an assumption that they would hear you or see you, dangerous. My bike has stock mufflers and I have only had 3 situations over 8 years and 50K KM where someone started to move into my lane. But being a bike you have the abilty to slow down very quick, which is dangerous if there is someone behind you or accelerate very quickly if you can OR honk your horn and turn on your high beam . Get extra bright headlights if they have not already been installed already, they should be on all the time and that will get you noticed much more effectively without annoying the #@#$ out of everyone else around.

      Cheers and safe riding.

    • Jake

      March 24, 2018

      You should learn to be a better rider instead of depending on others hearing you be noisy.

  19. Robert

    February 21, 2013

    The relevant issue here, which seems to be lost on those who have posted opinions, is that if the crown is going to impose a penalty on someone for breaking the law, then the crown is obliged to provide credible evidence to the court that a breach of the law has occurred. A police officers opinion is not evidence, it’s just an opinion, and if that’s all the crown has to offer the court as proof of an offence having occurred, then the charge should be dismissed.
    If there is credible evidence presented, then the charge should succeed.
    The process holds true whether it’s noise at issue or impaired driving. We don’t need to become yet another jurisdiction where the police are allowed to become the problem because we don’t hold them to a high enough standard. Canada is better than that.

    • Ian

      February 22, 2013

      That’s the way we see it too Robert thanks. The majority see red when they see motorcycle and loud pipes and they may miss the point. Unfortunately this is a difficult message to peddle because of the subject but it’s good to hear from someone who gets it. Kind of an unbelievable situation when one thinks about it. Canadians are a trusting bunch.

      • Tedd

        September 14, 2013

        I agree with Ian (and Robert). Over and over again, we cede power and authority to the police that they should not have, in a misguided attempt to solve a problem that is somebody’s pet peeve. Over time this has seriously eroded our civil liberties, and we need to reverse the trend.

        I appreciate how annoying people find loud motorcycles (and other vehicles). I live in a semi-rural neighbourhood that is normally very quiet, but which is also very popular with motorcyclists — especially Harley riders, some with very loud exhaust. Some loud cars, too. Yes, it’s annoying, and I wish it would stop. But granting more power to the police and asking them to make this a higher priority than they now do is simply the wrong way to try change it.

  20. DK

    February 21, 2013

    wow! you made it to the news again.
    But in all honesty…. the issue is moot… I see it only as getting your name in the news.
    I find this absurd that we would worry about “cops brining their own equipment” to work.
    Are you really that concerned or is this just a smokescreen to stir the shit up in the news? I think you realize this is doing nothing absolutely to raise the speed limits, quite on the contrary, you are making them tighten up their rules and regulations (as if anybody needs more regulation, THIS IS how we got to the current situation to begin with… with ever present rules)… Think about it… it’s useless!
    If I was a cop, believe me, I would NOT buy my own $1000+ lidar gun. I would do the absolute bare minimum to keep my job and I would use whatever “they give me” to work with. I work with computers and trust me – I do not bring my own to work – I am very happy using equipment worth $5k that my company paid for.
    And we know most of us speed all the time anyway. So the question is whether we go over by 10, 30 or 40, and these devices are reasonably accurate and able to determine that from the get-go.
    Taking somebody’s car away at 40+ is a completely different issue of abuse of govt’s power but arguing whether the gun shows 80.5 kmh when you’re really going 80.2 in that silly 50 kmh zone is BS to me. It is not helping at all with the speed limits or even overzealous policing (again, if anything it may even make things worse… think about it… now, technically we can dispute every ticket based on your findings… once they regulate the devices, you will still be caught speeding at the same rate. But then cops will be instructed to have no leniency whatsoever, and same with the courts…. they will charge you to a single meter/per hour knowing their devices are as accurate as hell now)…
    And re: that personal sound measuring device… well… I was not there, but was your exhaust that quiet really? Was the cop that wrong? Or were you angry at the system that allows punishment for having a loud exhaust? Give this some thought… You article may cause nothing other than equipping every police officer (rather than just one as per your case) with a true and regulated sound measuring device and from now on, all bikers are fucked.
    Police expenditures on those devices add up more fees and eventually you all lose by having even more regulation and certified devices to screw people up every day….

  21. Who Cares

    February 19, 2013

    You don’t need a testing device to tell if something is loud or not. If it’s loud, ticket it period!!

  22. Bill

    February 19, 2013

    You guys need your heads examined. There’s nothing worse than listening to some of these idiots making noise downtown. What? Now your standing up for them? Get a life…

    • Fred Chubka

      February 19, 2014

      In any of the 9 countries, and variety of cities, I’ve been grateful to visit, I have yet to experience a quiet downtown city. Why not concentrate your efforts in fighting against the things that damage society like drugs ? from your statement, Your 1 that should move to the countryside crawl under a rock, and you’ll have all the peace you want. Good luck with your negetivity.

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