Noisy motorcycles 'not a priority' for Quebec provincial police despite new rules

Police across the province of Quebec now have more power to crack down on noisy motorcycles, but the device needed to measure sound is a scarce commodity in police stations.

Sûreté du Québec only has six sound-level measuring devices and has no intention of buying more

Motorcyclists with loud bikes will have a tougher time contesting tickets for noise if their vehicle is measured by a decibel reader. (Daniel Coulombe/Radio-Canada)

Police across the province of Quebec now have more power to crack down on noisy motorcycles, but the device needed to measure sound is a scarce commodity in police stations. 

The Sûreté du Québec only has six decibel readers for the entire province and a top official with the department told Radio-Canada there is no intention to acquire more, despite a new amendment to the Highway Safety Code that allows officers to use the device to enforce noise-level restrictions.

SQ Capt. Paul Leduc said police are focused on other road safety priorities.

"Obviously, it's a problem," he said. "But in road safety, it does not fall into the priorities. Although this is an inconvenience, no one dies from it."

Noise restrictions limit motorcycles to a maximum of 100 decibels when the motor is rotating. When idling, the level must not exceed 92 decibels.

Police have been allowed to use sound-level meters to measure noise since July 3. This new regulation is based on a pilot project which Quebec's automobile insurance board (SAAQ) conducted for five years, ending in 2018.

The meters give police the power to collect evidence that is harder to contest in court as the meters are considered more reliable than traditional tests. 

Before, physical characteristics of the exhaust system were examined and used to prove noise levels rather than the actual noise emitted from the vehicle, according to the SAAQ.

Leduc agrees that the use of the sound meter measuring devices will have an impact in court because they provide such precise decibel readings.                         

Still, there will be no road safety campaigns to educate people about the rules, he said. 

According to the SAAQ, "no component of the exhaust system of a motorcycle, moped or motorized scooter may be replaced, removed, added or modified in a way that makes the system noisier compared to the system installed by the manufacturer."

Non-compliant motorcyclists may face a fine of $200 to $300.

If the driver refuses to submit to a compliance test — sound level meter or other — they can be fined between $300 and $600. 

With files from Radio-Canada


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