You’ve heard them thundering past you on the freeway. You may have even seen the slogan “Loud pipes save lives” on a sticker placed on a biker’s motorcycle helmet. Is it true, though? Do those annoyingly loud exhaust pipes truly help save motorcyclists’ lives?
As it turns out, not so much. European researchers at Bucharest’s Polytechnic University’s Department of Road Vehicles, Romania’s Association for the Development of Motorcycling and Holland’s Enviro Consult (a noise emissions specialist) conducted tests to determine whether the loud pipes were truly heard by drivers when they’re near a bike.
Most drivers couldn’t hear the rumbling
At 50’ from the revving motorcycles, no drivers reported hearing any noises that would indicate the presence of motorcyclists in the vicinity. At 33’ ahead of the cycles, little discernible noise from the pipes was heard by those in their cars. Bikes idling loudly a mere 13’ ahead of the vehicles also went unnoticed by the drivers.
Only when a motorcycle’s front tire was adjacent to the car’s rear wheel did a driver note its presence from the noise. All tests were conducted with the windows rolled up and the car radio playing no louder than 20 decibels, which is softly enough for drivers and passengers to carry on a normal conversation with no need to raise their voices.
Why does this myth persist?
Some motorcyclists undoubtedly believe that the louder their pipes are, the safer they may be on the roads. Others may simply like the loud rumbling sounds made by their bikes for their own purposes.
Whatever your opinion on the appeal of loud pipes on motorcycles, it is important that neither the bikers or the motorists count of the noise of the two-wheeled cycles to warn others or be alerted that motorcyclists are in the vicinity.
Were you injured in a motorcycle wreck?
If you suffered injuries in a motorcycle accident caused by a negligent driver, you have the right to pursue compensation for your injuries, damages and other losses.