Loud pipes save lives?

I’ve suffered this statement for decades now. Four of them, actually, but who’s counting.

Fine, Big Tommy from down the street finds his barely legal pipes on his bobber to be an expression of what I can only guess is a needed-for-compensation expression of his worth and virility. Whatever. There’s a blue pill that can do that too.

I only bring this up now because of the absolute nonsense I’ve been reading about how EVs are less safe because they’re quiet, and there’s even legislation considering forcing EVs to make more noise, artificially. It would be a profoundly ironic twist if, through the actions of a bunch of riders that feel they have the god-given right to ride as loud as they want, I am forced to NOT ride quiet. Absurd, maybe is a better word than ironic.

One of the things I fantasize about is the world with quiet bikes. Trucks and cars, too, but my road is a mecca for everyone with straight pipes in the Boston area, and there are times, sitting outside enjoying a summer afternoon, I just can’t take it. Maybe you live deep in the woods. I don’t. I actually consider loud pipes, as well as other neighborhood and road noise, an assault of sorts. Electric motorcycles are a step towards a quieter world.

…an electric motorcycle is a quiet motorcycle. Is it less safe? Give me a break.

Don’t get me wrong, I think sound, very VERY loud sound, is essential to safe motorcycling. I have a thing on my SRX600 that generates noise for safety concerns. It’s called an AIR HORN.

If any regulation or legislation is being considered, I’d love the DOT to step up and require actual effective horns on bikes, instead of the toys they consider acceptable now.

If you’re riding like you’re driving a car, and figuring everyone sees you, hears you and is trying to watch out for you, then, my friend, you’re the most dangerous thing on two wheels. Luckily, it’s mostly only dangerous to yourself. If, however, you’re riding to be seen, showing and signaling your intentions, and assuming people don’t see you or hear you, then you’ve got a swinging chance to have a nice safe ride.

Loud pipes don’t save lives. Smart riders save lives.

And ears.

Want to read some more? Maybe from the AMA and others?
Here’s a great interview on Roadracing World.

Here’s the official AMA position statement.

Virginia Wind
brings up the general noise “pollution” issue.

And here is the summary of the “Hurt Report”, officially, “Motorcycle Accident Cause Factors and Identification of Countermeasures”, on WebBikeWorld.

…but you know, I’m not thinking the people that subscribe to this argument are going to let the facts get in their way.


5 responses to “Loud pipes save lives?

  1. Thanks. When I forsake my 40 years plus of ICE riding for electric, I'll worry about that. For now, I just worry about what idiotic arguments will do to my right to ride the ride of my choice. Funny. Same argument as the loud pipers.

  2. I completely agree. It's the responsibility of the vehicle operator to do so safely. Loud vehicles ARE an assault on us all, they degrade everyone's quality of life. Proof of that is easily available in any city that has both diesel and electric busses in their mass transit system. San Francisco for example has electric busses with overhead wires. The noise difference between them is enourmous, and it would be lovely for all the vehicles to be so quiet as those electric busses. Our cities would be that much more livable.

  3. I walk with my son on the street (there are no sidewalks in my neighborhood) and it’s generally the SOUND that alerts us to someone approaching and I can shuffle him off to the side. And I’ve tried riding quiet bikes and loud ones….and I know the studies say that loud pipes don’t make it safer….but the studies would have to say that considering if they didn’t then bikers could legally get away with straight pipes and sue the government if they tried to stop them….anyway….I’ve ridden quiet and I’ve ridden loud……and loud is safer. We don’t believe the studies….because we’ve experienced the reality.


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