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Traffic Noise

Ambient traffic sounds are everywhere, whether it is the daily hum of a busy street so loud that it limits normal conversation, or the roar of a muffler-less vehicle piercing through a residential street in the small hours of the morning. For some, the volume and type of traffic close to their homes cause diminished home enjoyment.

The impact of traffic noise on the listener can be reduced through the use of measures to block noise using berms and barriers. These may consist of built up earth mounds or concrete walls or fences, with or without landscaping. 

Monitoring, testing and evaluation are important tools in the management of traffic noise problems. Once the evaluation is complete, those areas that are deemed to have sustained noise levels above acceptable levels are scheduled for a sound attenuation project.

Traffic noise sound attenuation is included in the construction of all new residential areas. Land developers build these measures and pay all costs for their construction. It is also provided for all new transportation infrastructure projects and is included in those project costs. As an example, sound attenuation was provided along all residential neighborhoods adjacent to the Circle Drive South project.


Traffic Noise Sound Attenuation Program

The Traffic Noise Sound Attenuation (TNSA) program was created to help maintain the quality of the outdoor amenity space in residential areas located adjacent to high speed roadways and minimize the noise impact from high volume roadways to the outdoor spaces in surrounding residential areas. Only existing residential sites with a rear or side lot adjacent to high traffic roadways are considered for a sound attenuation barrier. Single family residential and townhouse type (maximum of two storeys) multi-family land uses qualify for sound attenuation measures. Apartment-style residential, commercial or industrial land uses do not qualify for sound attenuation measures.

TNSA policy framework and a TNSA monitoring program with a monitoring list of potential future sound wall projects was approved by City Council in November 2016.  Locations adjacent to arterial roads or freeways/expressways with average daily traffic levels greater than 20,000 vehicles per day are included.

Potential locations will be added to the monitoring list when traffic volumes over 20,000 vehicles per day are measured.  Noise measurements will be completed every three years beginning in 2020.

TNSA Monitoring List 


Common Noise Decibels

In the Home At Work General
50-75 washing machine 65-95 power lawn mower 70 freeway traffic
55-70 dishwasher 90 tractor 85 noisy restaurant
60-85 vacuum cleaner 105 snow blower 90 truck, shouted conversation
60-95 hair dryer 110 leaf blower 95-110 motorcycle
80 doorbell 120 ambulance siren 100 snowmobile
80 ringing telephone 140 airplane taking off 110 car horn
110 baby crying   125 auto stereo (factory installed)
    130 stock car races
    157 balloon pop
    170 shotgun
Loud Vehicles - The Noise Bylaw Amendment

What is The Noise Bylaw Amendment, 2014?

Members of City Council have received numerous complaints about excessively loud vehicles. As a result, an amendment was made to the City’s noise bylaw in May 2014 to address these concerns. The purpose of the amendment is to regulate unreasonably loud vehicle noise that disturbs the peace and comfort of fellow city residents and visitors.

Do these amendments apply just to motorcycles?

No, the first amendment states that no person shall operate any vehicle in a manner that produces “any unreasonable or excessive noise.” The bylaw applies to cars, trucks, motorcycles or any other vehicle that is too noisy.

What types of excessive noise are regulated?

The bylaw already has provisions to deal with loud vehicle stereos, the new amendment prohibits excessive vehicle noises such as those caused by a modified exhaust system, intentional engine revving and driving in a manner that disturbs the public.

How loud is too loud?

Your location, the type of noise and its duration are considerations. But if the sounds coming from your vehicle are loud enough to bother those around you, they’re too loud.

Aren’t there rules already to handle noisy vehicles?

Yes, there are provincial laws that regulate the manner of driving and prohibit such things as stunting. There are also provincial laws that require an operator to have a functional muffler on a vehicle. The amendments to the noise bylaw simply add another tool to the enforcement tool kit for police officers.

When do these amendments take effect?

The general provision for all motor vehicles is in force now, and the Saskatoon Police Service is already issuing tickets to those operators of cars and trucks that produce too much noise.

What are the rules for motorcycles?

In addition to the general rule, there are decibel limits imposed for motorcycles. The bylaw says any motorcycle that emits any sound exceeding 92 dB(A) at idle or 96dB(A) at any speed greater than idle is too loud and a violation.

Why do motorcycles have these different rules?

Right now, a simple roadside test that measures exhaust sound is possible for motorcycles, but there is no similar roadside test for other vehicles like cars and trucks. The standards of 92 and 96 dB(A) are based on what manufacturing standards must be met for a motorcycle to be made or imported into Canada.

What does that mean for motorcycle riders?

If you drive a non-modified stock motorcycle (any manufacturer) that’s in good repair, your bike will be fine. If your bike has been enhanced in ways that increase its exhaust volume or if it’s in need of maintenance, you may exceed the standard. The Saskatoon Police Service is offering a testing program, and more information about free testing can be found on the Saskatoon Police Service website

How will these new rules for motorcycles be enforced?

The Saskatoon Police Service is in charge of enforcement and has developed a program for the gradual implementation of the decibel limit changes. Free motorcycle testing clinics are scheduled May 30, 2015 at the same time a grace period will be in place. Public awareness and education campaigns will be ongoing.

How are charges dealt with?

These charges will be done by bylaw tickets. The first offence carries a fine of $100 if the ticket is paid within 14 days. The second offence carries a fine of not less than $200. A third offence carries a fine of not less than $400.

What if I want to dispute a ticket?

All these charges will be dealt with in our Bylaw Court in the same way as parking tickets or animal control matters and there will an opportunity to go to a trial, if one wishes, and present whatever defense that one feels is appropriate.

Can I report a complaint about excessive vehicle noise?

Yes. As with any noise disturbance, you may contact the Saskatoon Police Service at 306-975-8300, and the police will investigate. Your complaint may or may not lead to the issuing of a ticket as a variety of factors are considered. For more information about enforcement, contact the Saskatoon Police Service.

Where can I find more information?

You can view the complete City Noise Bylaw in the bylaws section here on the website or click to go directly to the specific bylaw. For questions about ticket fines and enforcement, you can visit the Saskatoon Police Service website.