In motorcycling, the topic “loud pipes save lives” never seems to die. Chances are you’ve seen the biker stickers and patches with this phrase. But is it myth or truth? The phrase is related to two extremes of an argument. Some argue that loud motorcycle pipes prevent accidents and save lives; others argue that the loud noise is merely a nuisance.
Many cities and communities in the United States have banned motorcycles because of residents complaining about the noise. And before I became immersed in motorcycle culture, I would have probably supported a city ordinance banning motorcycles if the noise bothered me.
But on today’s’ crowded highways, at a time when more and more things are competing for your attention as a driver, it’s easier to notice a loud motorcycle. It’s even almost impossible to miss a very loud one, whether its in your blind spot, in front or behind you. I can’t think of another method that increases visibility of motorcyclists, without them being visible per se.
So, loud pipes make motorcyclists more visible to others on the road, and this increases safety. Now how much this contributes to saving lives is difficult to measure, but you might say that increased safety reduces the chances of serious accidents. There’s your answer: “loud pipes save lives” is truth.
A question then comes to mind:
Does this mean that the rest of humanity has to cope with the noise?