Right to Quiet Society Noiseletter
Fall 2010 – page 3

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Edmonton muffles motorcycles

Edmonton has passed a bylaw to muffle motorcycles. Council voted in June to make it illegal for a motorcycle to be louder than 92 decibels (dB) while idling and 96 dB while in motion. Riders with noisier bikes face a fine of $250. The vote passed 11 1. "I've had an awful lot of complaints from people that are being woken up at 2 or 3 a.m. with mufflers that are way beyond the standards of what the federal regulations say should there be on a bike," said Ben Henderson, councillor for Ward 4.

Edmonton police have already purchased eight sound-meters, Edmonton Insp. Brian Lobay told CBC News. Officers are expected to start enforcing the change in July on Whyte Avenue, Jasper Avenue and Groat Road, he said. A revving motorcycle registered a noise level of 120 dB in an informal test performed in March by CBC. "The instrument is placed at a certain distance behind the exhaust and it gives you a digital readout on your dB-level. You either pass or you fail," Lobay said on June 3. Last summer, the

 

Motorcycle and Moped Industry Council tested 200 bikes across Canada when developing the by-law. The national agency represents major motorcycle distributors across Canada. Seventeen per cent failed the sound-meter test and all of those motorbikes had modi-fied stock pipes. Motorcycles with regular pipes passed.

Coun. Dave Theile tried to expand the bylaw to include noisy cars and trucks, calling the bylaw discriminatory. But Theile's motion was defeated. Police told councillors they don't have the tools to monitor the sound coming from vehicles other than motorcycles.

— CBC News

Editor’s note: RtoQ-member James R. has worked with Edmonton Police and City Council for a long time to re-duce the noise from deliberately altered mufflers. The new restriction is a step in the right direction but, regrettably, still allows too much noise.


100% electric trucks a first in Canada

This headline appeared in an advertising feature in Business in Vancouver in July. The one-page spread was an introduction to the Novex Courier company, who imported two electric trucks from Kansas City, USA, in June.

“They have zero emissions. They are the first two electric delivery trucks in Canada. Made by Smith Electric, we have two three-ton 100 per cent electric delivery trucks on the road as of June 24th,” said the company’s president, Ken Johnston, adding that U.S. President Obama recently toured the Kansas City, Missouri, Smith Electric Vehicles plant.

 

“We maximise our use of cyclists, but in our freight division, what are our options? We analysed the clean options for freight and couldn’t think of anything that comes even close to electric trucks,” Said Novex CEO Robert Safrata.

There are a few great advantages, he said. The obvious is the incredible reduction in CO2 emissions. Another is noise reduction. “These things are silent. For early morning and late night deliveries, people don’t want to hear the noise. The corner of Howe and Georgia [Streets] can be as being on the beach, quieter and clean air,” said Safrata.

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Protecting our children from noise pollution

The results of a recent study highlight the need for strong policy and decisive action to protect children from the detrimental effects of noise pollution.

It has long been thought that noise may affect learning in children. Substantial funding was set aside by the EU’s ‘Life quality’ programme to investigate this further. One such study, the RANCH(Road traffic and aircraft noise exposure and children’s cognition and health: exposure-effect relationships and combined effects) project, focussed on children at schools in the vicinity of three major European airports.

Information about noise levels, from not only aircraft but also road traffic, was collected from existing contour maps, measurements at schools, and analysed using noise models. Standardised tests were then carried out to measure the children’s ability to retain information (episodic, working and prospective memory), their sustained attention and reading comprehension. Nearly 3000 children from some 90 schools participated in RANCH.

The effects of aircraft and vehicle noise were analysed separately and incombination. This approach helped bring to light the complex interaction between the two main sources ofnoise pollution in urban areas. For instance,road-traffic noise affected episodic memory while aircraft

 

noise did not. On the other hand, the RANCH participants demonstrated that aircraft noise clearly delayed reading age. A combined effect was identified in the case of reading comprehension.

The use of the neurobehavioural evaluation system (NES) allowed the researchers to evaluate the impact of noise on a range of other cognitive parameters. Although no effects upon motor function and perceptual coding were detected, attention and reaction time were impaired by both types of noise. In fact, a complicated feedback mechanism between aircraft and road-traffic noise was discovered.

Funded under the FP5 programme ‘Life quality’ (Quality of life and management of living resources).

Collaboration sought: further research or development support.

http://cordis.europa.eu/marketplace
>search>offers>5345

—Research*eu results supplement - April 2010:

The April issue of the journal is available here:
ftp://ftp.cordis.europa.eu/pub/news/research-eu/docs/ researcheu-supplement23_en.pdf

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