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Noise Snare – photo radar for loud vehicles


May 20, 2011

Owners of vehicles that exceed local allowable noise levels could start automatically getting ticketed, thanks to Noise Snare (Photo: Gizmag)

Owners of vehicles that exceed local allowable noise levels could start automatically getting ticketed, thanks to Noise Snare (Photo: Gizmag)

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It's a situation that everyone has experienced - you're walking down the street, when a vehicle drives by that's so loud, people cover their ears and cast angry glances at the driver. You assume that it's illegal to use a muffler that's so ineffective, or to have a stereo turned up that high, but if it is ... how come so many people seemingly get away with it? Well, part of the reason is manpower. While speeders and red-light-runners can be ticketed in the thousands using automated systems, actual police officers need to go out and manually check cars and motorcycles for noise violations. The designer of Noise Snare, however, claims that his unmanned system can automatically detect and identify overly-audible vehicles.

Noise Snare was invented by Mark Nesdoly, an electrical engineer from Edmonton, Canada. He was inspired to create it after a neighbor's loud motorcycle woke up his young daughter.

The system can be covertly mounted on a vehicle, which is then parked and left unattended at a location that municipalities wish to monitor. Once everything is armed, a microphone proceeds to register noise levels of passing vehicles. When a vehicle that exceeds legal noise levels is detected, a video camera captures footage of it, which is recorded - along with stereo audio - to DVD. Information such as the time, date and location of the infraction are superimposed on the footage, along with the vehicle's sound level in decibels.

As with photo radar, vehicle owners are identified via license plate numbers on the footage. Users can simply view the DVD to find out who's getting a ticket, or the system can notify them as it detects violations, via text messages or email. According to Nesdoly's company, Street Noise Reduction Systems, the system is able to accurately identify which specific vehicle is the guilty party, even in heavy traffic or on multi-lane roads.

The city of Calgary will start testing the Noise Snare within the next couple of months, pending council approval, and may become its first adopter.

Below is some test footage captured by the system, of vehicles that exceeded local allowable noise levels.

About the Author
Ben Coxworth An experienced freelance writer, videographer and television producer, Ben's interest in all forms of innovation is particularly fanatical when it comes to human-powered transportation, film-making gear, environmentally-friendly technologies and anything that's designed to go underwater. He lives in Edmonton, Alberta, where he spends a lot of time going over the handlebars of his mountain bike, hanging out in off-leash parks, and wishing the Pacific Ocean wasn't so far away. All articles by Ben Coxworth

This will end up being about revenue generation for some communities. God help us!

Jeffrey Hoffman

While on one hand I agree that the car owners who put those stupid loud mufflers on, and who do it for the sake of making their car louder, should be ticketed... Having those morons off the street would be nice. However, that being said, this is going to create a huge opposition from the motorcycle community as well.

The result of these new noise snares is going to be primarily targeted at motorcycle owners, which on one hand, yeah some people put really loud exhausts on their bikes and it can be kind of annoying if they rev the engine on a crowded street or in suburban neighborhoods, which is why i try not to do that, but on other hand, and I cant stress this enough... LOUD PIPES SAVE LIVES!!!!!!

As a motorcycle owner, I know from experience that one of the scariest things is when you\'re riding on the highway and some idiot who has his radio turned up, or is talking on their cell phone, and isn\'t paying attention, cuts you off and nearly kills you. Lots of bikers die every year because people couldn\'t hear them coming. So as far as I\'m concerned these tickets are totally bogus and I\'ll gladly oppose paying the fines, and refuse to remove my exhaust to keep myself safe. I couldn\'t care less if people don\'t like how it sounds, I get to go home to my family at the end of my ride each time because people can hear me coming, which gives me a much better chance of staying alive.


Yes Yes one on every street!!!! Catch all the bearded old farts on their Harley\'s with straight thru exhausts.


Let\'s go even further and make them to catch noisy neighbors. Barking dogs, tiny motor bikes ridden by kids, salsa music till 1 AM, the list goes on.

Facebook User

I hope we can get the noise snare here in Tampa, Florida. We have a lot of nuts on the road that need to pay for their abuses.


Looks great - wish we\'d get them here. The argument \"loud pipes save lives\" doesn\'t stack up as a reason not to enforce an existing law. By all means lobby to change the law - but I don\'t really buy it.

Steve Bennett

Finally ! Now combine this with a speeding camera and put it in the same housing. And add a fine particle dust sensor. And in school and densely populated neighbourhoods, add a traffic jam sensor that controls the closest traffic lights, to quickly shut off overcongested areas. And pressure politicians to install the technology in highly polluted urban canyons such as my own street, because we are getting murdered !A Flemish biker and Twike EV pilot since 13 years, desperate for a solution that is effectively enforced. Government simply ignores binding EU regulations, mostly because of lack of applicable technology.


Interesting commercial adspeak, but fails to address the issue that noise testing is done in a specific way, for specific markets. So any roadside testing carried out in a way that does not directly obey the protocols and criteria for the market is not only irrelevant, but quite possibly taking a photo is an infringement on personal liberty as there is no justification for the image, and it certainly could not be used in court...

For example, the noise test for a motorcycle is carried out on a specific side of the vehicle, at a certain rpm and from a specific distance, by an approved authority. NONE of those criterion are addressed by the existence of this product, nor could its findings be used as evidence.

And the motorcycle image you use shows a standard exhaust fitted, meaning that the bike conforms to the conventions and legislation of the market it is being operated in.


Loud pipes save lives? That\'s the excuse you\'re trying to use? Does that go along with motorcycles blinding everyone with their headlights because highbeams save lives? If its so damn dangerous, put it in the garage and leave it there. You can make a long list of excuses for why you should be allowed to do whatever you want but at three in the morning when you wake up the whole street, on every street you drive down, no one is going to listen to your excuses. Maybe that\'s the excuse people with with loud car stereos that you comlained about are going to use - loud music saves lives! Everytime they get cut off by someone on a motorcycle with loud exhaust it was because you couldn\'t hear them coming, so now they crank out the music.

Drive safely. Drive defensively and pay attention. Be seen (not heard) by wearing bright colours. I\'ve been riding an ultra-quiet motorcycle for over forty years and I\'ve never - not ever - had to ride with my high beams on or blasting loud muffler to stay safe. I watch for them and watch out for them and I\'ve never had an accident.

Dave R

Snave, you're grasping at straws.

First, there's no legal expectation for privacy in public places. The courts have always said that. If there were, red light cameras could never be used.

Second, you're talking about testing protocols from DOT or DMV. These would be used to enforce local noise ordinances. Whole different jurisdiction.

Lastly, they're just using a street motorcycle as a generic illustration of a noise source. Pictures mean little. There are people who boast that the first thing they do when they get a Harley is ram a rebar through the muffler to destroy the baffles while keeping the stock look.

Dave, you can't argue with Mepps10. "I couldn't care less if people don't like how it sounds." All he cares about is himself. Not other people nor the law. Did you notice that he admits he gets cut off on the highway even though he has his loud pipe? That's sure "protective."


Let\'s get it right.

It is mostly young males under 25 who think it is impressive to another male or female of the same age group.

Everyone else just thinks the person is a plonker with no consideration of their noise pollution to others and they don\'t realise their act adds to the general stress of living in cities or towns.

Stuart Halliday

Loud Pipes Save Lives is a bogus reason for loud exhaust. To save lives on a motorcycle the sound must project forward to alert those infront that a fragile vehicle is approaching. In fact, the noise from the exhaust projects backwards, and the loud noise is simply flashing the middle finger at those motorists and pedestrians the loud machine has just passed.

And by the way...there is some actuarial evidence that loud motorcycles are in MORE accidents. Straight pipes refelect a driving mind set that is contra-indicated to survival.


@Greytoma: LOL! You must live in my neighborhood. At least somewhere in South FL!


Well said Dave R!!

Dirt bike and Harley\'s with ridiculously loud pipes are just obnoxious. Get them off the road.

Adam Nightingale

Spot on Dave R, bike riders know it is higher risk, they don't have to ride bikes, they choose to. So why should they then use their choice as an excuse to inflict excessive noise on everyone around them? I have neighbours who do this, revving their bikes at all hours. The sooner this device hits every street, the better.

There's way too much noise in modern cities, and studies show it raises stress levels and contributes to heart disease and other diseases. We need to treat the reduction in noise levels as a high-level concern. Same goes for light pollution, it's way out of hand in most urban areas.

Mr T

Yeah loud motorcycles...

The guys is wright about the noise blowing out the back...

But the point is as your coming alongside a vacuous individual in a car., it\'s that sound energy that penetrates the insulated box, which is where it counts - because they may become aware of something running along side them, which is where they may not even suspect that a hoover vacuum cleaner is there.

But straight through exhausts - while certainly allow the inductance of major pressure waves in an oscilliatory manner - are going a steppe too far.

Too little noise - BAD. Too much noise = pain in the arse. Comfortably loud = useful.

Mr Stiffy

Lets address these issues individually shall we...

Let me precede these responses with the clarification that I do not advocate all motorcycle riders. Some people really do need to pay fines for their loud and obnoxious exhausts, and some people really shouldn't own motorcycles. I am not one of those people, I operate within the speed limit and I don't do stupid tricks or try to show off. I simply enjoy riding my motorcycle on the open road and not have to worry about getting bogus tickets or having a bike so quiet that it puts me at risk of being hit by a distracted driver.

Dave R "Loud pipes save lives? That's the excuse you're trying to use? Does that go along with motorcycles blinding everyone with their headlights because high beams save lives? If its so damn dangerous, put it in the garage and leave it there."

You've clearly missed the point of the argument here... You're making the gross generalization that every motorcycle rider is a stupid punk, and that is clearly based on the idiots who make stupid choices on sport bikes. The reason we have to use our high beams at night is because we are much harder to see. If you don't like the bright light than maybe you should try using the switch on your mirror that causes it to tint- You know? That thing every car comes standard with? We are totally within our rights to own motorcycles just like you have the legal right to own a car.

seamountie "Loud Pipes Save Lives is a bogus reason for loud exhaust. To save lives on a motorcycle the sound must project forward to alert those infront that a fragile vehicle is approaching."

If you read what I wrote you would realize that you're response doesn't apply to the argument I'm posing- We have a horn to project noise forward- The exhaust projects in the area behind, and alongside an adjacent vehicle to let them know we're right next to them. This is exactly what helps prevent distracted drivers from crashing into motorcyclists on highways. We don't need you to know we're coming up behind you, just that we're nearby, so please be cautious of your surroundings- it's just common courtesy.


The fat couch potatoes on their pos harley davidsons say loud pipes save lives but yet they don\'t want to wear a helmet. How retarded is that ?


My prayers have been answered! I will be lobbying my town to start using the "Noise Snare" system as soon as possible! You operating a loud motorcycle because you don't feel safe does not override my right to peace and quiet. If you need loud pipes to feel safe then get a four wheeler. I don't care if you don't feel safe. If someone were to play NFL football without a helmet and body armor they would be considered morons. Bikers without helmets and body armor? Morons.


Personally I\'m all for it. I\'m very tired of excessive engine noise and rediculously loud pipes and \"mufflers\".

As to the arguement that loud pipes save lives. There has never been a study proving this, and as a rider and driver I can tell you that loud pipes do nothing more than satisfy the inner childs need to be annoying and the center of attention. As a rider I have found that loud pipes are a constant sound and become part of the background noise and thus ignored. As a driver I find that if the bikes pipes are loud enough they echo so I have no idea where the biker is.

My advice to bikers again as a rider... Put the muffler back on your bike and invest in a VERY LOUD horn! It\'s an intermittant sound so doesn\'t get filtered and if you get an air horn the driver WILL look around at you because they think they just merged into a semi. I have on numerous occasions caused distracted drivers to drop the cell phone, that is clenched between their shoulder and ear, and look at me while merging with the air horn, but not once with VERY LOUD pipes.


Do they get a picture of the driver? If it detects loud vehicle noise (engines or exhaust) it is reasonably to hold the owner responsible. However, if it is a loud stereo, it is the driver who is responsible.

In California, if you get a red light camera ticket and the driver picture is not you, you can get the ticket tossed and you do not have ID the driver or guess as to who it might be.

Page Schorer

Welcome to the \"NANNY STATE\" where we delegate all of our problems to someone else to fix. Ugh!


If you don\'t like loud motorcycles, then don\'t drive a car or try earplugs. Bad drivers in car\'s are what necessitate loud motorcycles.

BTW Exhaust noise travels almost equally in all directions. Simple physics most people don\'t understand.

Loud motorcycle exhaust makes a huge difference in motorcycle safety. This \"Noise Snare\" system will end up causing some injuries and death.


Just another revenue generator but even worse than speed and red-light cameras. As much as overly loud bikes and cars can be annoying this is totally unnecessary. Besides, what if something on your exhaust just recently failed and was louder than normal only briefly until it was fixed? A ticket for going to work that day...


Good idea. Hope every city and town gets a few of these units.

Some say this is acting like a nanny state. Oh really. How about I set up a boom box on the street pointed toward your bedroom window all night, every night. I should be free to do that according to your logic.


That \"Loud pipes saves lives\" mantra is complete nonsense. There is NO provable scientific data that they do. Middle-aged arrested development toddlers that didn\'t get enough attention when they were learning to ride their tricycles make up for it by annoying everyone else and use it as false safety blanket instead of good defensive save riding strategy. How can loud pipes help when most of the sound is send to the rear and most bikes collide in the front?

Dave Merriam

"Loud motorcycle exhaust makes a huge difference in motorcycle safety." Yeah, right. I don't remember any reports of bloodbaths of Honda Goldwing riders. I don't drive, so why should I have to suffer your selfish love of noise? Nobody should. It may not be civilized, but whenever an idiot with a loud motorcycle blasts past, I admit I have a momentary wish that the rider end up under a car.

If you don't want a "nanny state," then don't act like inconsiderate children.


as a Motorcyclist, lifelong, I don\'t buy the \"loud pipes save lives\" arguement

Drivers are oblivious, and a loud, deep, unidirectional sound isn\'t going to make them look your way

Paul Buell Rider

THANK YOU. There's some douchebag who lives in our neighbourhood who cant WAIT to overrev his ricerocket which has some ultra ultra loud exhaust you can hear from 10 blocks away, he always takes off in 1st gear to make sure we all know of his comings and goings.

Neoracer Xox

I have a couple of thoughts here. First, I don\'t go for loud exhausts on my motorcycles (both my bikes still have un-molested factory exhausts), but I have to question the value of this system. I mean all it would take would be a big diesel pickup, delivery truck or public transit bus traveling the opposite way stop next to the system and every car or bike that passes that camera could be tagged. Valid sound testing is supposed to be done away from other sound sources, which is why enforcement has so many issues when it comes to properly enforcing noise limits. But my second thought is great, let them put this system in place. I give it a month before all the delivery companies, bus companies and most of the small general contractors in the area, as well as a ton of normal car operators all get nailed for their loud exhausts. I still remember my one old neighbor constantly complaining about the loud motorcycles \"blasting\" up/down my street. She used it to constantly poke at me about my motorcycles. But then one day, as she\'s giving me crap about some moron\'s loud exhaust she heard the night before, her nephew pulls up in is Duramax pickup. It\'s huge exhaust set off another neighbors car alarm as he parked near it. I looked her in the eye and said \"why don\'t you go bother someone that really is shattering the peace in this neighborhood and leave me alone\"

John Sheldahl

I love the sound of jets in full afterburner. Bikes, cars, and trucks dont bother me.

If you live in an area where they are too loud, the solution is simple. Either invest in E.A.R Plugs or move to the country.

Peter Callil

I like this system. Can\'t wait to see it in place. Hate the noisy hogs and bass kickers shaking the house. There are tons of people safely and quietly riding bicycles so the bogus argument that noisy pipes are needed for safety is nullified. Put on a helmet and orange safety vest... or doesn\'t this fit with your image of toughboy biker? Yes, we know your obnoxious pipes are really about the image you are trying to project, not safety. It\'s sad, but true, the world needs systems like this to compensate for rude idiots who have no idea how to comport themselves in public. Bring on the fines and the stiffer the better.


I\'ve been a trainer with Canada Safety Council in Calgary for many years and I\'ve never heard of an authentic correlation between noise and safety (I am also an avid bicyclist). The noisy motorbike is a convenient argument because it\'s sort of plausible and of course nobody would ever question something done for the sake of safety, and of course it\'s not reasonable to ask somebody to give up their noise generating behavior when it\'s done for the sake of safety. Very often the very same group will be found at motorcycle shows buying (and selling) phony DOT/Snell safety stickers so they can try to not get a ticket for their useless renegade skull cap helmets. I would guess these guys suffer from some sort of antisocial personality disorder that makes them want to inflict the maximum discomfort to their neighbors while escaping responsibility to the furthest extent possible. We all wish they\'d grow up, but we have to continuously invent ways to measure/rank/classify their behavior and prescribe limits while they continuously invent new ways to be assholes. It\'s not illegal to be an asshole, after all.


Exactly. The whole \"noise = safety\" argument is a rationalization that doesn\'t stand up to any scientific scrutiny. Honestly, if they were really worried that car drivers don\'t notice them, they can easily develop all sorts of visual warning devices that attract attention. Or how about active warning devices? Proximity sensors can continuously monitor the area around a motorcycle and if any car comes too close, strobes and klaxons can suddenly activate, which should scare off any careless driver but wouldn\'t annoy anyone during everyday riding.


I use to love living in my current location. I have so much noise pollution from the highway now it makes it diffiult to get a good nights rest. I have been complaining to the local sheriff\'s office about the noisey cars out here for the past five years and nothing has been done about it. I think the Noise Snare is a good idea to cut down on the unnecessary noise such as the loud mufflers that now have some sort of high pitched scream or the deisel trucks that sound like they are about to explode. The motorcyces are nothing compared to this nerve racking noise pollution.

Frances Garcia
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