Nfld. & Labrador

Bathurst bans noisy bikes, St. John's idles

Bathurst, New Brunswick banned noisy motorcycles last year; meanwhile St. John's wants provincial help before taking action.
Bathurst's bylaw banning excessive motorcycle noise came into effect last spring. (CBC)

Bathurst, New Brunswick banned noisy motorcycles last year; meanwhile St. John's wants provincial help before taking action.

In 2011, the city of Bathurst brought in a bylaw limiting the amount of noise motorcycles are allowed to make — anything over 92 decibels gets you a $125 fine.

The city of St. John's, on the advice of the Royal Newfoundland Constabulary, said it needed the provincial government to amend the highway traffic act to bring in a bylaw to deal with loud motorcycles.

It requested that change, but the province recently said it's complicated and there are no easy solutions to address the problem of loud motorcycles.

In a written response to the city's request, Government Services Minister Paul Davis said "this is a fairly complex issue and that will take some time. At this point we have not found a feasible way to deal with it."

"No other jurisdiction appears to have dealt with this," added Davis.

At a recent St. John's city council meeting, deputy-mayor Shannie Duff said she was disappointed with the response.

"It looks to me like it's been put in the too hard file. They have made it so big, as being province wide, and extending it to every other vehicle that makes a noise in the world, that it may never happen," said Duff.

Bathurst's example

The mayor of Bathurst, Stephen Brunet, told CBC News his city council drafted and implemented its bylaw without any help from the New Brunswick provincial government.

"The provincial government, they can complicate things, we are the level of government closest to the people — municipal government — so we did what we thought was right for our citizens," said Brunet.

Last year Bathurst police held clinics so bikers could check the decibel levels of their motorcycles.

If they were over the 92-decibel limit, they were asked to remove the modified after-market exhaust systems many of them had installed.

This year, Brunet said they've stopped about 50 bikers and issues some tickets.

Bikers react

Some bikers aren't happy with the Bathurst bylaw and are not visiting the city, according to Brunet.

"Some motor bikers in the outlying area are boycotting our city ... this has been a plus for us because we just don't have the noise this summer on our streets that we had in previous years," said Brunet.

Advice for St. John's

When asked if he had any advice for St. John's city council, Brunet replied — get on with it.

"Just send over for a copy of our bylaw and put it in place. Don't wait for somebody else to regulate things that make the lives of your citizens better, just do it," said Brunet

Brunet noted that Bathurst police officers are now training Fredericton officers, who will soon be ticketing loud bikes in that city.