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Thinking Outside the Box...

Myth: Loud Pipes Save Lives... (of motorcyclists)

Fact: Applying good judgement to manage risks, having better crash avoidance operating skills, and an effective HORN actually does the job far better.

Many uneducated motorcyclists mistakenly believe the myth that being loud makes them safer.

Unfortunately, having a loud exhaust noise emanating backward from the rear of the bike doesn't make you safer in front, where the overwhelming majority of risk lies when riding along the road.

Suggestion: A loud bike doesn't make significant noise in front of you as it approaches head-on to traffic in the road in front of you. The people you most want to notice you are the least likely ones to hear you approaching them.

Suggestion: Loud Pipe proponents believe that others will be able to correctly and accurately recognize where the noise is coming from; the simple fact is, many people are unable to recognize where the sound is coming from. And if there is more than ONE loud bike, which one is it they need to avoid colliding with? And who should be the loudest? Only YOU? Does being loud engender respect and affirmation from the non-motorcycling public, or does it encourage them to try to legislate riders out of places like State and National Parks?

Suggestion: Having a loud horn is in compliance with the noise laws; having loud pipes is in violation of noise laws, and since the horn is aimed forward, it does a far better job projecting the CORRECT AUDIBLE SIGNAL for alerting motorists to dangerous situations than loud pipes. Being loud with your pipes only says you have a loud bike; honking the horn indicates people need to raise their attention level.

Suggestion: Having better skills for avoiding crashes like effective risk-management strategies, knowing how to properly use your brakes, and recognizing situations where risk is elevating are far more important skills than passively relying on being loud. Using your brain actively to assess risk prevents most situations that irresponsible riders will attempt to use as a reason to justfy having a loud bike.

Suggestion: Being loud is useless when occupants of a vehicle about to collide with a motorcyclist won't hear them anyway when they have their own stereo on with "kickers" booming, or even without kickers. (Never mind the hearing impaired operators.)

Suggestion: Being loud has absolutley ZERO benefit in the most common cause of motorcycle crashes-- failing to slow to an appropriate and responsible entry speed before going into a corner. And YES, single-vehicle crashes are very definitely the most common cause of motorcycle-related injuries.

Suggestion: Nearly half of all the fatal crashes of motorcyclists are alcohol-involved riders with no other vehicles involved. If riders truly want to cut the deaths nearly in half without spending a dime on aftermarket pipes, they should focus on not combining drinking with riding FIRST, instead of being loud.

Beyond that, wearing a suitable helmet and other appropriate protective gear (instead of either no helmet, or a non DOT-approved helmet) has a far more useful effect than being loud with pipes. One of the highly-touted features of many automobiles sold today is how they silence noise from the outside.

Being loud to be a safe motorcyclist is a myth. It is a passive strategy that relies on others to be responsible for your safety. Do you really want to entrust your safety in the hands of people you don't even know?