Bathurst reconsiders noisy motorcycle ban
Business owners say they're taking a hit as bikers boycott the city
A bylaw limiting motorcycle noise is being re-examined by Bathurst City Council because businesses say they have lost customers since the legislation was implemented.
The city passed a bylaw in 2011 trying to protect the quiet city from loud bikes. Riders with bikes louder than 92 decibels could face a $125 fine.
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Lorne Daigle, who has owned a coffee shop in Bathurst for over a decade, says his business has suffered.
"We would see more motorcycles in town," said Daigle. "We would see more people parked out here in front of the restaurant. Obviously business was better."
During the winter months, snowmobiling brings in tourist dollars to Bathurst. But in the summer, it comes mainly from bikers.
And they are boycotting the city.
Some bikers, like Randy Black, feel they've been singled out.
"I can sit at a street light with my motorbike and I can have a sports car next to me making all the noise he wants, and he can just drive away and I get ticketed?"
Black supports the boycott. He says when he takes his bike out for a ride, he won't be going anywhere near Bathurst.
An online petition with 200 signatures is asking the New Brunswick registrar of motor vehicles to rescind approval for the bylaw and order all fines either dismissed or repaid.
Bernard Cormier, president of the Greater Bathurst Chamber of Commerce, took the issue to council this week. He says some businesses have seen a 25 per cent drop since 2011.
"We're hoping that they will abolish that law and with that, I think it will encourage customers to return to the businesses and, you know, maybe avoid a boycott of the Bathurst area."
Council voted six to two to nix the bylaw. There are two readings left.
Coun. Scott Ferguson, who voted against, says he may be swayed.
"Tourism is a big thing, so if this is going to be something that gets people to bypass Bathurst, then we don't want it," said Ferguson.
"We need to have people come here and think it's a place where everyone's accepted. But we also have the regular Joe taxpayer who makes things go in Bathurst too, so it's a tough thing to look at since we have to balance both sides."