EDMONTON — Passions are boiling across Canada over the issue of loud motorcycles. In one case, a Saskatoon city councillor who suggested a possible crackdown on noisy bikes has been threatened.
Bob Pringle isn't alone in his quest to quiet down the roaring exhaust pipes favoured by some riders. The Motorcycle and Moped Industry Council of Canada says municipalities from British Columbia to Nova Scotia are looking for ways to measure that noise and perhaps put a lid on it.
Pringle started receiving threats in the last couple of weeks after he asked city administrators to examine a possible prohibition on exhaust pipes that amp up a bike's noise -- equipment that's usually added after the machines are sold.
Pringle, who served as a social services minister in the government of former premier Roy Romanow in the 1990s, says he hasn't been personally threatened since his days as a cabinet minister.
While most motorcycle enthusiasts are peaceful, he's been getting an earful from those who are not, Pringle says.
"Bikers are very angry. They feel like I'm targeting them unfairly and they need this extra noise for safety reasons," he said in a recent interview.
While some anonymous callers have simply told Pringle to back off, others have been more sinister.
"There was also a threat about 'I would love to meet you in a back lane and you wouldn't come out."'
Pringle acknowledges there have been only a handful of threatening phone calls. The vast majority of residents complain about ear-splitting noise made by tricked-out machines as they blast through city streets.
When an anonymous caller reached him on his cellphone around 2:30 a.m. last Sunday, he promised to call each time he heard a loud noise. Pringle thought the situation was escalating and it was time to step up his response. He spoke to Saskatoon's police chief and a lawyer about whether to start writing down some of the more threatening details.
On the other side of the debate is Kelvin Ooms, 44. By day, he's a maintenance supervisor for a food distribution company in Saskatoon. In his off hours, he climbs aboard his Harley Davidson Fat Boy and transforms into a road warrior who isn't ashamed to use his bike's loud exhaust pipes.
When he heard that Pringle was touting the idea of a crackdown on loud bikes, he immediately started a petition and a Facebook site to drum up opposition.
Ooms knows people are passionate about the issue, but he also doesn't like the nasty turn this debate has taken. He has removed at least six people from his Loud Pipes Save Lives Facebook page who have been threatening or derogatory.
"By no means do I condone any behaviour like this. I don't think we're going to accomplish anything by doing that."
Ooms said there are more constructive ways to get out the message that loud exhaust pipes can save riders' lives. The image of loud bikes as souped-up versions of their owners' egos and machismo isn't driving this debate, he insists. Rather, it's about ensuring that drivers, who often admit after a collision that they didn't notice that oncoming motorcycle, both see and hear them.
Earlier this year, when a driver started to change lanes without noticing him, Ooms used his loud exhaust pipes to avoid a collision. He honked his horn, locked up his wheels, popped his clutch and hit the gas.
"It wasn't until I engaged my clutch and revved my throttle and really snapped my pipes that I finally got the attention of the driver and they moved out of my lane."
Bob Ramsay, president of the Motorcycle and Moped Industry Council of Canada, says his organization has helped to develop standards on what constitutes a loud bike. They've been getting calls from interested municipalities and police forces across Canada.
The group has spent more than three years developing noise standards for bikes because of an escalating number of complaints.
The council has determined that if a bike is idling, its exhaust should be no louder than about 92 decibels. As the bike revs higher, it shouldn't make noise higher than about 96 decibels. Ramsay says that with an objective standard for noise, it would be easier for municipalities to draft bylaws putting limits on the louder machines.
The industry was also worried that all motorcyclists were being painted with the same brush, he said.................
What are your thoughts?
Do you mind the sound of loud motorcycles?
Would you like to see a law put into place that restricts the level of noise that comes from a motorcycle?
Above and further into the report they note the noise is a safety issue so other drivers can hear them.
I personally think that's a crock of sh*t. You have lights, hand signals, turn signals, and if you're going the speed limit and not jetting back and forth through lanes like an idiot, other drivers can and will see you.... they don't need to hear your damn bike barreling down the highway for three counties to hear.
I live not too far from an off ramp on the highway, and hearing air brakes from transfer trucks all day and night is bad enough..... having to hear motorcycles revving and barreling up and down ramps all the damn time, when I'm over a KM away (yet they sound like they're on the same street as I) is a bit much.
and when down town it's even more ridiculous.
South Park did quite well summing up the situation with the episode "The F Word"
Brrummmm brum brum brum bubububububrum brum brummmmmm.....
Don'tget me wrong... I like bikes and always thought of getting one someday..... but the amount of noise that comes out of them is beyond any understanding other then to be an obnoxious douche.
Tell me..... how many times have you noticed in your life when an idiot on a motorbike was cruising his bike and then..... just when they're right beside you, they rev their motor as high as they can to try and get you or someone to jump, or just make them fk'n deaf for a few seconds?