RCMP to crack down on loud bikes

For many Kootenay residents, summer means the arrival of loud motorcycles. Now the RCMP is vowing to target the most obnoxious offenders.

Police throughout the East and West Kootenays will be stepping up enforcement and adopting a zero tolerance policy with respect to motorcycles that have altered their exhaust pipes or installed after-market equipment to make the motorcycle louder, Cpl. Ryan Bacica of Cranbrook said last week. Bacica is with the RCMP’s East Kootenay Traffic Services division.

“Many motorcycle riders will say that ‘loud pipes save lives’,” he said. “This topic has been widely debated in the motorcycle community for a long time. Motorcycle riders who have loud exhaust pipes may not realize the impact that the excessively loud pipes are having on others around them, such as area residents who are woken up to loud motorcycles at night, pedestrians who have to hold their ears to protect from the loud noise or other motorists following behind or beside these motorcycles”

A loud motorcycle exhaust can be painful to the ears, cause medical problems as well as drown out more crucial sounds such as approaching emergency vehicle sirens, car horns or cross walk signals.

Modifying existing exhaust or installing after market exhaust pipes that do not meet the requirements under the Motor Vehicle Act is illegal in BC. As well as gathering the usual objective evidence, police officers can now use their own “subjective observation” to determine if a motorcycle exhaust is too loud, and sound measuring equipment such as decimeters are no longer needed due to a Supreme Court of Canada ruling from 2017, Bacica said.

“Riders who believe that their loud exhaust pipes are making them safer on the road would be better off to adopt a ‘ride to be seen’ mentality. Wear high visibility clothing, an approved helmet, ride defensively and make sure your motorcycle lights are functioning properly. Those motorcycle riders found to have loud after-market exhausts will be issued a $109 fine as well as a formal inspection notice to have the motorcycle inspected (at the rider’s expense) to determine compliance with the MVA.”

With an increased emphasis on distracted drivers using electronic devices, police are also taking action. Police will be stepping up enforcement and adopting a zero tolerance policy on BC drivers who have illegal window tint on their vehicles as well as not displaying their front license plates.

“Many motorists may feel that this should not be a priority for police,” Bacica said, “but the increase in use of electronic devices while driving, window tint and no front license plate makes it harder to report distracted drivers to police. Many are electing to not display their front licence plate and apply window tint in an effort to circumvent the distracted driving laws.”

Having tint on side windows is a safety concern and also makes it harder for police to observe distracted drivers, as well as those not wearing their seatbelts. Applying tint to front side windows also reduces visibility for the driver at night or during inclement weather. Applying any type of film to side windows also defeats the purpose of safety glass, which is intended to shatter during a collision and assist the occupants in escaping from the vehicle if unable to open the vehicles doors. It is illegal in BC (and most other provinces in Canada) to apply solar film window tint to any window on a motor vehicle that is not behind the driver’s position.

The fine in BC for applying solar film window tint to front side windows is $109 per window. Any vehicle found equipped with illegal tint will be issued a ticket as well as a mandatory inspection notice at the driver’s expense.

It is also illegal in British Columbia to not display a front licence plate in the vehicle manufacturers intended location. In other words drivers cannot display front licence plates on the dashboard. They have to be affixed to the front bumper where it was intended. The fine for not displaying a front licence plate is $109 and any driver found not to be displaying their front licensce plate in the correct fashion will be issued a ticket.

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