Motorcycle club president sounds off on noise complaints

A petition asking for stricter noise laws along the highway from Kaslo to Nakusp has garnered 4,300 signatures.

The sound of a motorcycle passing through a neighbourhood is fleeting, says the president of a local riding group.

“What about a leaf blower or when your neighbour mows his lawn for an hour,” questions Ian McLeod from the West Kootenay Road Runners. “I just don’t see where people are coming from targeting motorcycles – is there no other loud noises at any other time?”

McLeod was referring to recent actions by a group of residents from Kaslo to Nakusp that he says single out those who like to hit the road on their iron horse.

“What about the semis going by your house on the highway, or diesel trucks pulling trailers,” McLeod queried. “Diesel trucks starting up are as loud or louder than some bikes. I mean you are right on the road, I just don’t get it.”

Fed up with loud motorcycles passing through their communities, a petition circulated through the West Kootenay region asking local governments to lobby the province to enforce or tighten existing noise laws.

The document garnered 4,300 signatures before NDP MLA Katrine Conroy brought it to Transport Minister Todd Stone’s attention during a presentation in legislature last year.

Then last week, the Regional District of Central Kootenay board listened to a delegation of petitioners and agreed to contact the B.C. Minister of Justice (Suzanne Anton) about the need to enforce existing noise laws written in the Motor Vehicle Act.

The regional board supported the request and went a step further by agreeing to ask the Association of Kootenay and Boundary Local Governments (AKBLG) to also write a letter to the minister.

McLeod contends that decision could come back to bite those small communities because riders bring in plenty of tourism dollars and raise considerable money for local charities during runs through those areas.

“As president of the West Kootenay Road Runners, I would recommend to my riding group, if they are going to start going after us as motorcycles riders,” he began. “Then I would suggest we just stay away from those communities and not support them.”

Besides bike runs for charity, McLeod’s group often gathers on the weekend for a ride through the valley, trying out different restaurants, as well as stopping for gas and other incidentals.

“Ninety per cent of our runs are for charity,” he continued. “Weekends we might go out 20 at a time, and when we stop, we spend $50 to $100 in those communities,” he added. “It all trickles down, so this could hurt those small businesses and charities.”

Another factor to consider, McLeod points out, is the Kootenay Loop is rated as one of the best motorcycle rides in North America by popular magazines like Cycle World, Iron Horse and RoadRUNNER.

“Why I am upset is they are putting us all in the same boat,” he explained. “You’ll meet people from all over the world riding in the Kootenay area because it is listed as one of the top ten places to ride motorcycles.

“This is tourism, and they are spending money in hotels, on food and buying tourist stuff, ” McLeod added. “People, what are you doing to yourselves with this petition?”

The reason why some motorcycles are louder than others, is because the exhaust system has been modified such as a baffle plate removed, or the muffler cut out or even disconnected from the engine.

It’s those roaring exhaust systems that are heard and felt over a wide distance, sometimes enough to rattle windows.

The Motor Vehicle Act does specify the collective noise level of engine and exhaust system for a motorcycle cannot exceed 91 decibels. The act also prohibits tampering with mufflers, like removing baffle plates, to rev up the sound.

Petition aside, noise laws are already being enforced, according to RCMP Cpl. Chad Badry.

“The petition is asking the government to deal with this problem,” Badry, from the Integrated Road Safety Unit (IRSU), told the Trail Times.

“There’s this rhetoric that seems to be going around that police are not interested in enforcing excessive noise from motorcycles because it bring tourists to the area.”

That is not definitely not the case, he reiterated.

“I’ve got no qualms about enforcing it and I am not alone,” he said. “The rest of the officers in IRSU and the highway traffic unit are all like minded – we enforce those laws.”

Local RCMP patrols no longer carry decibel metres because readings can be contested in court. Factors such as wind, passing cars, even birds tweeting, can affect ambient air thus the accuracy of a decibel test.

Instead, police use discretion.

If a bike is extraordinarily loud, the rider is issued a $109 fine.

Typically, a notice of order will be written under one of three categories. Those range from immediately taking the bike off road until it’s repaired, ordering an inspection within 30 days, or giving the person up to two weeks to fix a defect before the local detachment signs off the repair.

Badry says riders generally comply with notice of orders, because if they don’t, a $598 non-compliance ticket will follow.

At the end of the day, unnecessary noise is part of the RCMP mandate, said the corporal.

“It’s important to get that message out there and that we do enforce it,” Badry added.

“But we do have to balance it with our other mandates, some that are obviously very high priority because they cause serious injuries or fatalities- such as impaired driving by drug or alcohol, distracted driving and seat belts.”

The AKBLG is the local government association that represents municipalities and electoral areas of the southeastern B.C. The area includes the Regional Districts of Kootenay Boundary (RDKB), Central Kootenay (RDCK), East Kootenay (RDEK) as well as the Town of Golden and the Village of Valemount.


Just Posted

FILE – Perry Bellegarde, National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations, takes part in an event on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Tuesday, July 7, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Indigenous Peoples Day must be a ‘call to action’, says Assembly of First Nations chief

Discovery of children at Kamloops residential school site must lead to change, Perry Bellegarde says

Trees blown over by a windstorm in forest owned by Anderson Creek Timber. Photo: Anderson Creek Timber
Timber company logging near Nelson raises local concerns

Anderson Creek Timber owns 600 hectares of forest adjacent to the city

Keith Smyth, Kootenay Savings director at-large joins children from the Kids’ Care Centre at St. Michael’s Catholic School. Photo: Submitted
Kootenay Savings continues credit union’s tradition of giving

Funding totalling $48,250, is going to a wide array of Kootenay initiatives

From left: Karl Luedtke (West Arm Outdoors Club), Dale Williams (BCWF), Molly Teather (FLNORD), Gord Grunerud (West Arm Outdoors Club), Eugene Volokhov (Grand Prize Winner), Casey McKinnon and Lex Jones (Jones Boys Boats). Photo: Tammy White, Whitelight Photography
Balfour man lands big prize from angler incentive program

Eugene Volokhov of Balfour is now the proud owner of a sleek 18-foot Kingfisher boat

“I want to see the difference in the world, embrace it, celebrate it … ” Photo: David Cantelli/Unsplash
A new way to say ‘Hello’

“Inclusion, you see, is NOT about making us all the same.”

The border crossing into the United States is seen during the COVID-19 pandemic in Lacolle, Que. on February 12, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
VIDEO: Border quarantine to soon lift for fully vaccinated Canadians

Eligible travellers must still take multiple COVID-19 tests

One Reconciliation Pole and two Welcome Figures were unveiled during a ceremony in honour of truth and reconciliation on National Peoples Indigenous Day at the Vancouver School District in Vancouver, B.C., on Friday, June 21, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Horgan marks Indigenous Peoples Day by urging recognition of systemic racism

National Indigenous Peoples Day has been marked in Canada since 1996

A man makes his way past signage to a mass COVID-19 vaccination centre at the University of Toronto’s Mississauga campus during the COVID-19 pandemic in Mississauga, Ont., on Monday, May 17, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Canadians encouraged to see mRNA shots as interchangeable as more 2nd doses open up

Doctos urge people not to hesitate if offered Moderna after getting Pfizer for their first shot

Chief of Defence Staff Jonathan Vance sits in the front row during a news conference in Ottawa on June 26, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Defence committee rises without report on Vance allegations

Committee had been investigating the government’s handling of complaints against former defence chief

The Coquihalla Lakes washroom is getting upgrades. (Submitted)
Coquihalla to get upgrades to aging washrooms

The Ministry of Transportation is providing $1 million in funding to upgrade 3 rest areas

The Sacred Hearts church on PIB land burned Monday morning. (Theresa May Jack/Facebook)
Two churches on First Nation land in South Okanagan burn to the ground

Sacred Hearts church on Penticton Indian Band land was reduced to rubble

Tl’etinqox-lead ceremony at the site of the former St. Joseph’s Mission in Williams Lake, B.C., June 18, 2021. (Angie Mindus photo - Williams Lake Tribune)
‘We are all one people’: Honouring residential school victims and survivors

Love, support and curiousity: Canadians urged to learn about residential schools and their impact

Indigenous rights and climate activists gathered outside Liberty Mutual’s office in Vancouver to pressure the insurance giant to stop covering Trans Mountain. (Photo by Andrew Larigakis)
Activists work to ensure Trans Mountain won’t get insurance

Global campaign urging insurance providers to stay away from Canadian pipeline project

Most Read