Fredericton councillors backed down on a bylaw that would have imposed noise restrictions on all vehicles, including motorcycles, in the capital city.
The proposed bylaw had been fiercely opposed by many motorcycle owners, who packed inside City Hall to watch the hour-long debate on Monday night.
Councillors eventually rejected the proposal by a slim five-to-four vote.
Coun. Scott McConaghy, who was the final councillor to speak on the contentious proposal, said he was going to support the bylaw but changed his mind during the debate when he saw how close the vote was going to be.
"I just felt that, you know, I heard the pros and the cons and I didn’t feel good about bringing in the bylaw with such a small majority," McConaghy said.
But Coun. Stephen Chase contends the defeat of the bylaw came from outside the city limits.
Chase, who supported having a maximum allowable noise level for vehicles, believes Fredericton residents would have liked to have seen such a crackdown, but most of council was swayed by the strong lobby of motorcycle owners.
"The majority of input from people in the city of Fredericton was supportive," he said.
"The volume of input came from around the province because the motorcycle groups revved up people around the province."
The proposed bylaw would have imposed fines and allowed police to take noisy vehicles off the road.
Bikers felt the proposed bylaw unfairly targeted them.
Fredericton council had set a 92-decibel limit — about the level at which regular sustained exposure may cause permanent hearing loss — in the proposed bylaw. The council had broadened the proposed bylaw to include other vehicles and not just motorcycles.
Bikers promise to help
Outside City Hall, in the nearby parking lot, hundreds of bikers were celebrating the outcome.
Sue Lawrence, who helped rally the bikers in opposition to the noise bylaw, said the politicians made the right decision.
"I think, at this point, they realized the damage they have done," she said.
"The motorcycle community is one of the best communities out there, they stand behind each other and they bring in tons and tons of revenue."
John Sawyer said bikers are now willing to work with the city to deal with the issue of excessive noise.
"The city has made a great decision. We are hoping that now we can actually create a committee and work with them more closely and we don’t have to worry about next year," Sawyer said.