By Jessica Lovell
With the arrival of warmer weather, people may notice an increase in the bone-rattling rumble of motorcycles on city streets, but so far the bylaw meant to curb such noise is not getting much use.
“This year, bylaw staff have not received any complaints for noisy motorcycles,” said Doug Godfrey, the city’s manager of bylaw compliance, securing and licensing.
He could not speak for the Guelph Police Service, which also has the power to enforce the bylaw.
Godfrey said city bylaw staff have had very few complaints overall since the noise bylaw was amended in December of 2012 to allow roadside tests for motorcycle noise.
There has been just one call for motorcycle noise bylaw service, and it was in June 2013, Godfrey said. “The June 2013 call was investigated, and the motorcycle was gone upon arrival,” he said.
When council approved changes to the bylaw, it was thought that enforcement would be primarily the work of the Guelph Police, as they have the power to pull over motorcycle riders. But police could not provide any details about how many complaints they had fielded or how many riders they may have charged.
City police do not keep statistics on bylaw charges that are that specific, Guelph Police spokesperson Mike Gatto said in an email.
City bylaw staff have not charged any bikers, although they have issued some warnings, said Godfrey.
City staff “proactively provided education and volunteer tests of motorcycles through the summer and fall of 2013,” he said. “During volunteer tests, two motorcycles were found to be in violation.”
Both of these motorcycle operators were issued warnings and were given an opportunity to make repairs to comply with the bylaw, he said.
No one has been fined, he said.
The cost, should anyone ever be charged under the bylaw, would be a $300 fine, plus a $5 administration fee and a $60 victim surcharge.
But the goal is not to take people’s money. “Our goal is to seek compliance,” said Godfrey.
He could not say for sure why there have been so few complaints about motorcycle noise.
“It could be that people aren’t reporting it,” he said. He also speculated that better education and awareness of motorcycle noise could be a factor.
The city has received one call regarding motorcycles this spring, Godfrey said, and that call was just a request for general information on motorcycle noise.
But it’s still early, and the late start to spring may also be a factor.
“We’re just starting the season,” said Godfrey.