Motorists’ modified muffler racket rattles residents

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As summer patio season arrives, deliberately amplified vehicles have residents and patio patrons ‘hearing’ red.

East Vancouver resident and Wise Hall president Dayle Mosley off Commercial Drive as cars snarl past.David P. Ball/Metro

East Vancouver resident and Wise Hall president Dayle Mosley off Commercial Drive as cars snarl past.

When Dayle Mosley awakens to his bedroom windows violently rattling and shaking at night, he doesn’t worry Vancouver has been hit by a mega-quake.

Accompanied by a fearsome but familiar snarl, he knows the ear-splitting noise is simply a passing motorbiker’s muffler, modified to crank up its volume.

“It’s loud as hell,” the East Vancouver resident told Metro. “You’ve gotta pause your TV sometimes just to let their noise pass.”

It’s a problem that’s been escalating for the last two or three years, the retired father of four says.

“It’s been getting visibly – well, audibly – worse,”  the motorbike enthusiast

But why can drivers can get away with making excessive noise at any hour of the day, Mosley asked, despite noise regulations and time-of-day bylaws for construction, garbage trucks and music venues?

He’s familiar with those laws as president of East Vancouver’s Wise Hall, which runs a lounge and concert venue. The venue frets about its late-night noise to avoid neighbours’ complaints.

“I don’t see why it’s any different for these motorbikes or cars,” Mosley said.

He’s not the only Vancouverite raising concerns about noisy vehicles in residential areas.

“It’s ridiculous that you can get a ticket for breaking the law by not having parts installed to muffle your sound,” Vancouver-West End MLA Spencer Chandra Herbert told Metro, “but it seems perfectly legal to install parts that break those laws.”

The MLA said he’s spoken to police who told him that even when cops issue a ticket or warning to such motorists, without decibel measurements it may not hold up in court. Chandra Herbert wants B.C. to crack down on businesses that install noise-makers, and to lower vehicles’ acceptable decibel levels.

Vancouver police and B.C.’s transportation ministry were unavailable for comment before publication.

It’s not just louder-than-necessary bikes raising a ruckus, the MLA added. His constituents have also complained about what he calls “boom cars” outfitted with bone-jarring subwoofer speakers, as well as regular cars with modified mufflers to raise their racket.

“It’s an annoyance that only pleases the driver who likes to be loud,” Chandra Herbert said. The phenomenon has rankled him when trying to enjoy a sunny restaurant or bar patio in the summer with friends.

“All of a sudden you can’t hear each other because some dude wants to be as loud as possible,” he said. “I understand there’s going to be some noise, but there’s no reason you have to make it worse just to be way louder than everything else.”