Motorcycles not the only source of noise

Published on July 17, 2014

It is summer and that brings the annual complaints about the noisy motorcycles in St. John’s and discussion on what the city and province should be doing about the racket.

We are regularly inundated by noises of summer — and year round for that matter — and it is amazing how this particular noise issue becomes such a public one with cries for changes in the law and more police enforcement.

Yes, the noise from the motorcycles is loud, offensive to some, and perhaps above acceptable or legal levels. However, there are certainly many other noises that pollute our surroundings as we try to enjoy the short summer season.

Beyond the overpass and here in Conception Bay South, we too get the noisy motorcycles as their drivers enjoy a run out around the bay.   

There are many other noises too — some we enjoy and others we hate — that go with living in and outside the city. And we seem to accept the noises as part of summer.

Why is that we don’t hear complaints about noise from fireworks? They are popular with local town and city celebrations such as New Year’s Eve and Canada Day, and people buy them throughout the year for birthdays and other special occasions.

The fireworks are an acceptable part of summer and year-round living. Yet they are noisy, frighten people and their pets, disrupt our sleep and frequently get fired off past the legal noise bylaw times.

Music from outdoor parties, music and noise from the decks of bars and restaurants, outdoor concerts and events are too all part of summer.

For some they are annoying nuisances, but most of us accept them as part of summer, close the windows and turn up the television volume.

For years, many residents of C.B.S. who live on the coast or other areas adjacent to the T’Railway had to live with noise from ATVs and dirt bikes at all hours of the day and night.

Now they have to listen to the noisy dirt bikes heading to gravel pits south of the town near the Trans-Canada Highway.

A summer ritual for thousands is a visit to our Topsail Beach, accessible via several residential side streets.

People in that area have to live with the increased noise of cars and motorcycles, as well as that from the park users.   

Common sounds here in C.B.S. and other areas outside the overpass are barking dogs, snowmobiles, chainsaws and other sounds of suburban and rural life.    

Why is there so much focus on motorcycles when there is so much noise that interrupts our daily lives in summer and throughout the year?

At least the provincial government is staying out of the city’s issue, or at least for now, and not looking at any provincial legislation.

Local police have suggested decibel monitoring devices to catch the loud bikers. Some cities in Canada — Bathurst, N.B., and Edmonton to name a couple — have implemented bylaws regarding motorcycle and other loud vehicle noise, and this seems to be the desire in St. John’s.

The noise and the attempts to do something about it are likely not going away. The question is should we be spending valuable time and resources on having police officers chasing people with noisy, expensive motorcycles when there are many more important issues on and off the road?

The motorcycle noise is just one of many irritants that are part of the short Newfoundland summer.

Coastal Sounds

Coastal Sounds choir is starting a ladies’ choir, and female singers in C.B.S. and surrounding area are encouraged to sign up for an audition.

Auditions are scheduled for Sept. 13 or can be arranged by appointment. To learn more email or visit

Joan Butler is a lifelong resident of Kelligrews, Conception Bay South. She can be reached by email at