The eardrum-splitting roar of a hypercharged engine may soon meet its match -the sonic equivalent of photo radar.
In their battle against excessive vehicle noise, Calgary bylaw officers have proposed becoming the first in Canada to use the device, an Edmonton-made product called the Noise Snare.
Rather than the normal method of using a noise gun that measures machinery or concert noise and pulling over offenders, the new tool captures a video image, audio recording and decibel level.
“I don’t just like it. I love it,” said Councillor John Mar, who has led council’s bid to toughen the city’s noise bylaw and determine ways to enforce it on cars, motorcycles and trucks. “It’s good for those guys on their hotrods who think louder is more cool and more masculine.”
The city’s hotline received 1,310 vehicle complaints last year, but under the bylaw the onus is on complainants to testify to the impact of extreme noise.
Bylaw officials propose an undetermined new decibel maximum for vehicles, and believe the Noise Snare is the best tool for the job -the only one like it they could find.
Electrical engineer Mark Nesdoly said a neighbour’s loud motorcycle inspired him to design the technology.
“I still remember the day, laying down my daughter to go to sleep and he went roaring past -and her eyes just popped open,” said Nesdoly, whose upstart company has talked with other municipalities.
Since Calgary could be his first customer, Nesdoly has offered the city one $112,500 device and training for free.
The city has tapped an acoustics expert to validate the device’s functionality, a report to a council committee says. But it would have to go further if council wanted the bylaw department to verify its usefulness.
“City prosecutors will be required to prove the credibility of the technology to the court so that the Noise Snare is accepted as a reliable enforcement tool,” the report says.
Bylaw staff tested noise levels around Calgary last September and recorded one motorcycle at 97 decibels. That’s louder than a power saw at a distance of one metre.
Calgarians are split on whether the city should regulate vehicle noise. Unscientific surveys online and at city open houses last year found that 49.4 per cent of 1,484 respondents said they don’t want regulation, while 48.2 per cent said they wanted the city to catch the excessively loud.