Decibel limits coming for motorcycles in Saskatoon

People in Saskatoon who ride motorcycles say they're disappointed the city has voted to move ahead with amendments to its noise bylaw.

Mayor says law will apply to all loud vehicles

Saskatoon will proceed with an amendment to its noise bylaw, aimed at banning loud vehicles.

Motorcyclists say they're disappointed by the move, which would lead to penalties for bikes emitting more than 92 to 100 decibels from their exhaust systems. 

If you want complete silence, move to an acreage,- Neil Nemeth, 3rd Canadian Army Veteran Motorcycle Unit

More than a dozen motorcycle riders from Saskatoon's 3rd Canadian Army Veteran Motorcycle Unit listened to the debate in council chambers. None were invited to speak. Most filed out quickly after the vote.

"You're hearing sirens, you're hearing fireworks, you're hearing all kinds of other noises going on," said Neil Nemeth, who started riding a decade ago. "What makes motorcycles more offensive? It becomes very subjective."

"It's a city. You're going to have noise. If you want complete silence, move to an acreage," he added.

No decibel limits set for other vehicles

Currently, motorcycles are the only vehicles whose decibel readings can be taken consistently at roadside stops. 

Saskatoon's city solicitor warned until similar noise measurement machines are available for other vehicles, it will be more difficult for police and prosecutors to prove other vehicles produce excessive noise.

"We're just setting ourselves up for failure and creating a lot of unnecessary anxiety in the community," said Pat Lorje, councillor for Ward 1. "There's a whole host of enforcement issues that raises."

She and Troy Davies were the only councillors who did not vote in favour of the amendment.

Prohibiting 'excessive' vehicle noise

Officials drafting Saskatoon's bylaw say it would prohibit 'unreasonable, loud or excessive' vehicle noise, for all vehicles on city streets. They say they are including provisions taking into account the time of day, the duration of the sound, and the character of the neighbourhood in which the sound is made. 

"This is about jake brakes, this is about people driving down the street without mufflers on their cars," said Saskatoon's mayor, Don Atchison.

"This is not to single out motorcycles, And unfortunately it's been portrayed that way," said Atchison.

What do you think? Join the Saskatoon Morning live chat right now about this bylaw. 


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