contentious conversation on loud pipes column

Last month’s column on loud pipes generated an interesting (and at times a little nasty) conversation on The St. Albert Gazette website. It was just too good to keep a secret, so I’ve shared it with you. The contributors names have been changed.


Re: “Bikers’ Arguments Don’t Pass Muster”

Mike said:

Here’s something just as annoying as loud pipes on a motorcycle, and an unleashed *SCARY* dog….since they’re ALL so bad!….right Dee-Ann? It’s columns written by high-maintenance people, who for whatever reason always see the glass as half empty….never half full. Maybe Dee-Ann, you should turn your attention outside of your little insulated St. Albert bubble, and write a column about the starving children in Africa, or the environmental disaster pillaging the gulf coast. Your short-sighted, judgemental columns are only portraying you as a journalistic school flunky.

James said:

Well I agree with this column and apparently so does the City Council of Edmonton who just introduced a by-law to address this issue. Many other municipalities across North America are also looking at introducing something similar. This IS something that ticks off a lot of people and a lot of motorcycle drivers could care less how much noise they make. It’s rude. This is something that CAN be addressed through some legislation. Just because this isn’t about Haiti or some other issue that will take YEARS to fix, doesn’t mean it’s not important. This is something that is local that affects the people of our community. If we can fix it, let’s fix it! Perhaps Mike instead of attacking the person who wrote this you could address the issue. If you have a different opinion, then argue your point. If you can.

Jennifer said:

If remember right, her article about dogs did not say ALL dogs were scary but that as a pet owner, you need to take responsibility for your own pet and not to allow your animal to run or act freely around just anyone just because you love them. It’s called respect, not seeing the glass half empty. I agree about the noise of bikes too. As a bus driver, it is very hard on the ears when they roar by. I love your idea about a vehicle driving around blowing the horn to let everyone know we are there! If someone decides to ride a bike, that is their choice but they also need drive defensively too and not make safety the sole responsibility of the vehicle driver. Why should Dee-Ann write about stories that are far and abroad, when there are issues here that are ‘write’ worthy that all of us are thinking but don’t say? I applaud you Dee-Ann for your columns, you say what so many of us want to but don’t!! I do believe we are all entitled to our opinions and no where did I see that we must all agree so if you don’t like her columns, don’t read them. You don’t need to be harsh! Well done Dee-Ann!

Lisa said:

Mike, I find what you have written to be short sighted and very disappointing. I support a child through World Vision, local arts through CKUA, individual fundraising efforts as needed, and local families with meals or other donations when needs arise as well. I see the big picture of needs around the world and look for ways to help, just as Dee-Ann does. That does not mean that I then must ignore annoyances and concerns in my own community. I have three young children who are often awoken to the noise of individuals that are operating loud vehicles or lawn mowers and other garden equipment that is gas operated and noisy. As quoted from, “Neighbourhood noise is a form of anti-social behaviour”. All noises cannot be avoided but common sense and a sense of community may mean not revving a vehicle at 3am or not operating a lawn mower at 11pm. Thinking about how behaviour may affect another could help to alleviate some of the discomfort and anger that people feel in regards to noise. Its not just about the unleashed dog or the noisy bike, its about the sense of self-serving individualism that has taken over our society rather than a common care for the other person. Your comments speak loudly to the type of person that you are and who is really the judgmental individual.

David said:

I aim to be a fairly objective person. I have ridden motorcycles on and off for years. I currently work two doors down from a Harley Davidson dealership and every bike that visits them has to pass my office to do so. I often hear the rumble of pipes but it has NEVER been an issue that I have heard one of my staff members or clients mention. Without doubt there are some very inconsiderate riders who have after market exhausts and crack their throttle hard in inappropriate places. These riders should be fined under a common noise violation bylaw no different than a driver with a blaring stereo or who squawks his tires etc. I live a a city that has numerous Hells Angles as well, never have I been bothered by a motorcycle enough for it to become an issue like your organization is trying to make it out to be. You have clearly over-exaggerated things to lobby your point. If after market pipes should be outlawed so should gasoline fueled lawn mowers and barking dogs. I have never been woken up by a bike while trying to sleep but I have been by lawn lowers and barking dogs more times than I can remember.

Although there is the ‘odd time’ when a rider abuses things and makes unnecessary racket, the fact is that the #1 reason that this has become an issue is because of stereotyping. I have asked so many people over and over and over if they have ever been truly inconvenienced or harmed in any way by a the rumble of an after market pipe (subjective feelings aside) and every one of them said no. That is my experience as well. Loud pipes are disliked by some, hated by others and love by many. I happen to love them and have never lost a minutes sleep over them.

Mike said:

Good for you Lisa for your community input. I too invest $$$ towards charities & time into my volunteer life. However, columnists who constantly write about things that don’t “turn their crank” instead of presenting both sides of an issue, are only embarrassing themselves. Truthfully, I could care less about loud pipes on a motorcycle. Live and let live. Someone somewhere is making a mountain out of a mole hill. Noise is everywhere….it’s a fact of life. If we lobby to dumb-down motorcycle noise, then we might as well lobby to dumb-down loud cars (and there’s alot of them too), as well as the CN rail trains that run through town @ 4 a.m. in the morning. Come snow-fall, this will be a non-issue. You people disagreeing with me, need to re-evaluate your priorities, or build a hut on the highest mountain where you only hear the sound of your own voice.

James said:

Everyone needs to be conscious that the noise they make gets heard by other people. That’s why I’m careful not to cut my lawn too late in the evening or too early in the morning. Or if I’m working outside, not to have my stereo blaring so loud that it disturbs my neighbors. That’s just common courtesy. Or if I’m driving in my car, not to have my stereo so loud that everyone around me has to listen to my music as well. When it comes to motorcycles with loud exhaust systems, I do not see bikers showing the same common courtesy. Some motorcycles are so bloody loud that I can hear them in my house, in the basement, with all the windows closed! That is completely unreasonable. The same applies for cars with loud exhaust systems. This law should be enforced for all vehicles. There may be some exceptions among big rigs but not for the typical motorist. This is about treating those around you with respect.

David said:

James… I said, that may be the case with the odd rider but if you hang around the Harley culture, they are very cognizant of this issue and every rider I know does not support cracking their throttle in a residential area. A low rumble of pipes in the distance is really just about personal preference because it does not cause any more of a problem than a ton of others noises we hear throughout our day. I like the sound others don’t but it is no more of a disturbance than the occasional barking of a dog, yelling children, lawn mowers, screeching brakes and many other noises we hear on a daily basis. It is being made waaaaaayyyyy to big of an issue and everyone is sharing their opinion simply because it has been made an issue by some foolish politician. I just heard one go buy actually, lasted less than two seconds and it was gone…..big deal. I also hear semi’s and diesels go by my office.

I hear comments about why people like loud pipes from people that do not even ride. This furthers my point about the fact that too many stereotypes and biases are included in the mix. I like loud pipes for the same reason that some people like to build hot rods. It’s fun and it sounds cool….I am a successful person, educated, have kids, no criminal record etc etc etc and I still love Harley’s that make a nice rumble. I have loved them all my life. Actually I own a Fat Boy with stock pipes but hope to get some after market pipes soon. My previous Harley had loud pipes and I was always courteous to my neighbours and even asked if it bothered them….nope was their sincere answer. One of them is in his 70’s and he always says he wishes he could ride it.

Utilizing the simple noise bylaw would have been good enough. If you and others cannot see this for what it is, ‘a cash cow’, subjective targeting and intolerance then you are very naive. There was already a law in place for all noise infractions. Why not simply target motorcycles, chainsaws, lawn mowers and loud cars under that law more aggressively? Of course because pulling over bikes in abundance, checking the decibel level and then imposing a $250.00 fine is a huge source of revenue and eventually appeases those in their ivory tower who, due to their over analytical subjective minds, will over legislate everything possible….especially those things they do not understand or appreciate.

James said:

You describe the sound from pipes as, “It’s fun and it sounds cool.” That’s probably the same argument that would come from someone as they drive by with their car stereo blasting disturbing everyone around them. I know it’s fun to ride a motorcycle. If I had the bucks to buy one I probably would. But it doesn’t sound cool for a lot of people. Just like the train whistle going off at 4am when no one is around. There are a lot of quiet bikes. I have no problem with those. Lots of quiet cars too. But when someone is generating a lot of noise because THEY think it’s cool, it’s like watching a 16 year old boy screeching his tires because HE thinks it’s cool. It’s not. It’s time for those with loud vehicles to grow up and consider that for a lot of people it is very annoying. I can’t wait until some tickets get handed out.

David said:

James: I understand your points but I do not see them as relevant. I often pull up to a set of lights and a kid has his stereo too loud. I think that it is very discourteous, I even think “what a moron” but I do not think it is worthy of a noise violation. Let him have some fun….big deal. He will be gone in a minute or two. On the other hand, I agree that anyone who is intentionally making excessive noise i.e screeching tires should be fined.

Coincidentally, one of my co-workers is 67 years old, wears fine suits and has absolutely no interest in motorcycles. He and I have been discussing this topic. Out of curiosity he read these posts. Although his subjective opinion, the word he blurted out after reading your posts was ‘prude.’ He agreed that the low rumble that goes by us a dozen or more times per day (far more than the average person will ever experience) due to us being located a few doors down from HD is NOT at all obnoxious or bothersome. He has also been here as long as the HD dealership has. We often sit on the deck in front of our office and the bikes drive by all day. They are there for a second then gone. It’s really never a big deal.

What I do know for sure is that there are a lot of complainers in our society. We have a society of spoiled people who attempt to get everything just right for their personal comfort and taste. It’s too bad. I hope the law gets repealed myself. It is clearly and unfairly targeting motorcycles and discriminating by excluding other modes of transportation. That is a plain, very easy to see…fact.

James said:

Well at least we agree that it discriminates against motorcycles. I think it was crazy to introduce it until after the technology was ready to use it on all vehicles.

Heather said:

All these loud car stereo people and souped up trucks and cars and bikes… what a bunch of low life knuckledraggers. Yet another example of the vulgaritizing of society.


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