'That was foolishness:' Legislation coming on higher fines for modified motorcycles

Fines for bikes with modified tailpipes and mufflers will go from $20 to $100 for first-time offenders.
Service NL is looking to increase fines for people with modified tailpipes and mufflers on their motorcycles. (CBC)

Service NL and the Royal Newfoundland Constabulary are teaming up to crack down on motorcycles that have been modified to make more noise.

The announcement follows an incident on Signal Hill Aug. 15 when a group of motorcyclists converged on the area following a public forum on motorcycle noise. A video uploaded on social media shows at least 30 bikers revving their engines, honking their horns and jeering as they drive down to Signal Hill Road.

We have to deter this, this can't happen.- Bernard Davis

"You can't legislate common courtesy or respect for individuals," said Bernard Davis, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Service NL.

"We have to do better and expect more from people that drive motorcycles. I mean, that was foolishness."

Bernard Davis says city hall has a role to play in curbing motorcycle noise, too. (CBC)

MHAs to consider bigger fines 

Davis said there will be a proposal tabled this fall in the House of Assembly to increase fines for people riding bikes with modified tailpipes and mufflers.

The changes would see fines increase from $20 to $100 for first-time offenders, while fines for repeat offenders will cost $90 to $170.

"We have to deter this — this can't happen, and twenty dollars isn't enough," Davis told CBC Radio's St. John's Morning Show.

He said people are understandably frustrated about Tuesday's incident which prompted a police complaint.

"People have the right to peacefully enjoy their property," he said. "Having individuals do that, make a scene like that, it is inappropriate at the very least."

Davis said the RNC is looking at getting training from Service NL to better recognize modified tailpipes and mufflers, and that several owners of these bikes were penalized during a recent enforcement blitz.

City has a role to play

Davis also said that the City of St. John's has a role to play in curbing the noise, by setting tougher noise bylaws. The challenge there, said Davis, is determining how much noise is too much.  

"We're working on a very complicated issue," he said.  "It's very difficult to ascertain volumes of tailpipes. We know that they're loud, but what's too loud?"

With files from the St. John's Morning Show