St. John's, province in stalemate over motorcycle noise

Deputy mayor asks riders to head out on the highway

Colin MacLean
Published on July 11, 2012
St. John’s Deputy Mayor Shannie Duff addresses council Tuesday night during its regular weekly meeting. — Photo by Gary Hebbard/The Telegram

St. John’s says only the province has the authority to curb excessively loud motorcycles.

The province says this is something St. John’s can do on its own.

Herein lies the problem.

Deputy Mayor Shannie Duff told city council Tuesday night comments to this effect by Paul Davis, minister of Service NL, caused the offices of several councillors to get confusing phone calls from residents.

“We had quite a lot of reaction to the comments by the minister, that the City of St. John’s has the authority to proceed with enacting regulations to curb motorcycle noise,” said Duff.

As far as council is concerned, the minister is mistaken, she added.

“And I want to clarify that. ... We do not. We do not have the authority to enact regulations under the highway act and we do not have the authority to enforce them,” said Duff.

Davis has stated in media interviews his understanding of the situation is St. John’s has authority under the City of St. John’s Act to impose noise bylaws, and thus cover loud motorcycles — notably those with aftermarket tailpipes.

The minister has also said bringing in legislation would mean any noise ban would be provincewide, and this is essentially a downtown St. John’s issue only.

The city has stated changing the Highway Traffic Act is the right way to go, and would give the RNC (which is a provincial police force and so answers to the province and not the city) the authority to stop and test loud motorcycles.

Duff concluded the issue reached an impasse, so she took the step of appealing to motorcycle riders.

“So at the moment, since we seem to have reached a stalemate, I just wanted to appeal to motorcyclists, many of whom are very law-abiding and very considerate,” she said.

“... That if they really feel the need to go and accelerate and rev up and make a lot of noise to do it on the highway. Please have consideration to residents who have a right to peace and quiet,” she said.

Twitter: @TelegramMacLean