Ear-splitting vehicles a ‘never-ending battle

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Efforts to crackdown on loud cars and motorcycles haven't got anywhere said Vancouver Coun. Tim Stevenson, who worked as an MLA to reduce noise pollution.Province past-due on promise to revisit car, motorbike noise rules.

Efforts to crackdown on loud cars and motorcycles haven’t got anywhere said Vancouver Coun. Tim Stevenson, who worked as an MLA to reduce noise pollution.

By: David P. Ball Metro  Published on Mon May 16 2016

The noisy racket that’s got some residents fuming about pimped-out cars, roaring motorbikes and “boom car” subwoofers hasn’t quieted since one Vancouver politician championed the issue 20 years ago.

“It’s just an ongoing problem — a never-ending battle,” Vancouver Coun. Tim Stevenson said. “The noise just reverberates across those high buildings and creates an echo chamber.”

In the late 1990s, he campaigned to crack down on noise pollution when he was the West End’s MLA.

“But it’s very difficult to catch anyone,” he lamented.

To silence louder-than-permitted mufflers, Vancouver police at one point set up a roadblock on the Burrard Bridge, he recalled, and ticketed or ordered inspections on violators.

“But that hasn’t been done for a while,” he said. “It‘s a new generation of younger guys roaring into town today.”

Vancouver police spokesman Sgt. Randy Fincham said that traffic police have tools to measure noise and enforce the law.

“Certainly, (people) can phone the police non-emergency line if there’s a noisy muffler,” he said. “We’d have to be able to prove they’re in violation.”

The West End’s current MLA Spencer Chandra Herbert said it’s time for the province to fulfil a longstanding vow to update its rules.

In April 2015, Transportation Minister Todd Stone told a Legislature committee he was aware of the concerns and had “received a number of concerns from residents in my constituency in Kamloops relating to motorcycle noise, so it is a problem that we’re aware of,” adding his ministry has a working group exploring vehicle noise rules with police chiefs and the Commercial Vehicle Safety and Enforcement branch.

At the time, Stone said he expected a “set of recommendations” for “pragmatic but focused changes” by “early 2016.”

A ministry spokesperson said Monday that B.C. laws already prohibit loud exhaust noise and modifying exhaust systems, and that municipalities can also pass bylaws lowering decibel requirements further.