Bylaw more trouble than it’s worth: report

A proposed city bylaw to crack down on drivers of noisy vehicles may be more time consuming and costly than its worth, says a top Red Deer RCMP official.

A proposed city bylaw to crack down on drivers of noisy vehicles may be more time consuming and costly than its worth, says a top Red Deer RCMP official.

Inspector Ray Noble filed a report to city staff suggesting that a bylaw for souped-up vehicles may not carry enough benefits to justify passing it.

During 2009, only 46 of 1,778 audited complaints related to municipal bylaws dealt with noise from vehicles, said Noble.

“This number represents less than three per cent of noise-related complaints received by Red Deer detachment.”

Noisy vehicle bylaws in other communities require standards in place so that police officers can be objective when they pull over excessively noisy vehicles.

Noble said this would require buying noise-measuring equipment, training officers to use it, developing an ongoing program to keep the equipment maintained and certified, and ensuring officers are regularly re-certified to use the equipment.

“Based on the volume of complaints received, it is likely any benefit received from enacting a vehicle noise bylaw would be offset by the cost of acquiring and maintaining the required equipment,” said Noble, “and by the lost time required to conduct training.”

Administration will ask Red Deer city council on Monday to delay changing the Community Standards bylaw.

Instead, staff would like to monitor Edmonton’s bylaw over the next year.

Edmonton council introduced the bylaw for motorcycle noise in June and is now considering adding other vehicle noise.

Edmonton Police Service bought eight noise meter kits at $3,000 each. Police can issue $250 tickets to individuals with motorcycles generating sound louder than 92 decibels (while idling) or 96 decibels when the bike is moving.

A staff report reveals that some residents in Edmonton are concerned that the new bylaw only focuses on motorbikes.

“Some feel the bylaw is highly discriminatory and that the bylaw should address all vehicle noise,” says the staff report.

Edmonton has about 13,000 registered motorbikes. As of March 31, Red Deer has 3,105 registered motorcycles and 24 mopeds.

The Motorcycle and Moped Industry Council is working with provincial ministries to develop consistent sound emission policies across the country — another reason for Red Deer to delay its bylaw.

City Councillors Cindy Jefferies, Gail Parks and Larry Pimm originally asked for the staff report on what needs to be done to curb growing vehicle noise.

ltester@bprda.wpengine.com