Meeting on loud vehicles short of clear solutions

THERE is clearly an issue with excessively loud motorbikes and exhausts, but how to tackle the problem effectively is not straightforward.

That was the message at a meeting at Moores Hotel about the problem of noisy bikes and cars.

It was well-attended and gave islanders the opportunity to raise concerns, suggest solutions and challenge the panel, which included director of Traffic and Highway Services Karl Guille, president of Environment & Infrastructure Lindsay de Sausmarez, organiser Les Gallienne, Police Inspector Tom Marshall, Chief Inspector Ian Scholes and Home Affairs president Rob Prow.

Legislation is in place for ‘excessive’ noise, but the problem that quickly became apparent was that it was hard to make a case without evidence and police time and resources are often directed to incidents of the highest priority where someone’s health or wellbeing is in danger.

When it comes to driving offences, police are keen to tackle the deadly four: driving under the influence, mobile phone use, speeding and not wearing a seat belt – a noisy exhaust on a moped might have to ‘take a back seat’.

Priorities have to be set with the limited resources of the police.

Questions about other bodies such as honorary police or douzaines enforcing the rules or carrying out bike checks came up.

Deputy De Sausmarez said this was not a case of trying to reinvent the wheel, but Guernsey could look to other jurisdictions such as Jersey for ideas on how to tackle the issue.

She recognised that having to launch an investigation for the offences was not the most appropriate way to deal with the issue but said this was a complex issue where several options would need to be explored.

Deputy Prow was keen to continue the discussion with E&I and believed legislation was the answer, but defining that legislation would be the challenge.

Speaking to the Guernsey Press after the meeting, he mentioned MOT-style testing as one way to monitor any modifications.

And legislation takes time, he told the audience, which was met with sounds of frustration.

‘[Home Affairs] is listening. We recognise there is an issue, but it would be E&I that leads on this,’ he said.

‘It has become clear that this issue goes further than just a loud exhaust pipe, it’s about antisocial behaviour as much as anything else.’

From the police perspective, there are things in place so the issue can be enforced, but it requires the public coming forward, having evidence and being prepared to make a statement and go to court.

However, there seemed to be a reluctance for this because people were fearful of the negative consequences that might follow.

Currently, there is a rectification scheme whereby if a problem is discovered on a bike, the owner has 14 days to fix it and report back to the police. However, this does not stop someone checking in with the police and going home to take off the silencer or changing it back to the modified state that same day.

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