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Gone.
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Discussion Starter #1
I was in my truck yesterday afternoon going to pick up some tires and such. I was in the left hand lane, in moderate traffic, with the stereo on at a decent volume but not overly loud. I was kind of stuck behind a loaded truck going way too slow and wanted to get around him on the right, but other vehicles kept pulling out before I could and passing us both. I kept my eyes going back and forth between my mirrors and the truck in front, looking for a chance to pass.

Finally I saw that there were no more cars behind us and I put on my signal and did a sweep of my mirrors. I checked to make sure I wasn't about to crash into the slow poke ahead, turned my head and looked quickly over my shoulder, checked the mirrors again, and started to accelerate into the right lane. Just then I realized I heard a motorcycle. I wasn't sure where he was, but I knew he was close so I stopped my lane change. I looked over my shoulder again and as I did I caught a glimpse of something in my sideview mirror. The fool was riding right there in my blind spot and close to my truck. Had I not paused there is no doubt that I would have run into him sideways or forced him off the road. After about a block he leisurely accelerated ahead and passed me and the truck I was stuck behind.

He was on a Suzuki cruiser and his pipes were not OEM stock. (No brand uses stock pipes that skinny now.) They weren't obnoxiously loud, but I'd say definitely louder then stock. I thought this worth posting for all those who claim that loud pipes can't possibly save a life, and for all those who ride along unaware of vehicles around them. If you can't see the driver, he probably can't see you.:)
 

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Gone
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It seems like he was depending on the sound of the motorcycle a lot more than a good road position. See and be seen is the best strategy.

There are situations where the sound of the motorcycle can alert other vehicles, but it's not a substitute for good road and lane position. (and good old common sense) I think there is a false sense of security with many riders who think their pipes are a cure-all where other more effective safety measures and riding habits are being neglected.
 

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MODERATOR
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If being aware of sound isn't a safety issue, why is it against the motor vehicle laws to wear earbuds/ headsets when driving or riding? The standard answer is that the person has to be able to hear emergency vehicles/ sirens etc.

We all use our horns to warn others or animals in the road too.

A vehicle that is loud enough to get your attention makes it safer for all parties.

Right now, there is concern that 'electric' vehicles are so quiet that pedestrians are stepping right in front of them because they don't hear them. MINIMUM sound levels are being investigated to mitigate this growing problem.

Stay out of blindspots.

Sam:coffeescreen:
 

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There's no way you could have heard him, you were in front of and to his left, sound doesn't travel that way.
 

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MODERATOR
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Sound travels in all directions of course:wink:

Sam:coffeescreen:
 

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When I had the very loud muffs on my Sporty, it didn't stop many a car from encroaching on my space. After going back to the stock muffs I have noticed little if any difference in driver's attention. While it helped in this particular situation, I prefer to rely on Dod's mode of operation. Trust no one except yourself to keep you safe.
 

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Gone.
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Discussion Starter #7
It seems like he was depending on the sound of the motorcycle a lot more than a good road position. See and be seen is the best strategy.
I don't think he was relying on anything. He honestly didn't seem like he was aware enough of his surroundings to give a thought to safety.
 

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It's all fun and games until someone loses an eye
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8,665 Posts
Idiots need all the help they can get. I find myself taking an extra look all the time now for bikes. IMO loud pipes can't hurt, and my wife believes they help, so even just for a little piece of mind for her, I'll keep my pipes.
 

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Retired twice: Navy and as a govt contractor
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Too late in the year for a snowbird, must have been one of those senile citizens that move down there for the weather.
 

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I know my hearing is not very good, but over the years I have found that I only really notice loud pipes when I am riding/driving BEHIND the motorcycle making the noise. Rarely if ever do find myself on a highway and suddenly think "I can't see a bike, but there must be one around here somewhere because I hear the loud pipes". Usually its while I'm riding or driving and spot a motorcycle far ahead of me, but moving slower than I am. As I get closer I sometimes think "I better pass that guy because the sound of his pipes is a pain" and/or "I guess that's a Harley I'm catching up with". I know that other bikes besides HD's use after market pipes, but clearly it is the Harleys that constitute the largest group of loud bikes that I encounter on the roads and streets.
 

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Pale Rider
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I AM glad his louder pipes saved his life, but I wish, for all our sake's, he practiced safer riding techniques and habits! Loud pipes can, and do, save lives, but it is a sorry excuse (keep reading... please).

I wear ATGATT, including a Hi-Vis jacket with reflective materials, reflector decals on my helmet; I ride with a headlight modulator, as well as a brake light modulator. But the truth is, I do not rely on any of that to save my life -- they are just there to stack the odds a little higher in my favor of surviving riding, and crashing. I ride with my head on a swivel, and my thumb close to my car horns, wired directly to my battery through a relay, so they get maximum current, providing maximum sound output when needed.

My beef with loud pipes is that they are offensive, when too loud, and that attracts unwanted attention, and derision, towards motorcycles. We all need to respect everyone on the roadway, even the morons. The reality is, everyone has an occasional, acute attack, of moron-itis -- even me.

I will say, however, that when I test drove a 2008 Gold Wing, it purred along, with almost no engine sound whatsoever, at 55 MPH. I could hear the wind, which was loud enough to damage my hearing, but I loved the quietness of the mufflers, as the bike did not interfere with the nature around me. I normally wear 28 dB ear plugs, so if I'd had those on, I would have heard very little wind, and no engine noise. I would have enjoyed the test drive even more. Riding with ear plugs not only saves your hearing (all hearing loss is permanent, no cure, no going back), but it also reduces the stress on you while riding! It makes it easier to be more aware of your surroundings, and traffic. It sounds ridiculous, I know, but you won't realize how much stress traffic sounds, and muffler noise, are creating in you, until you wear a pair of ear plugs, and experience the drop in stress, for your self. Try it, once -- I dare you. :biggrin:

With regards to hearing, deaf people can, and do, drive. Hearing is not required. Seeing, however, is. If you are driving with the windows up, the A/C on, and the stereo up, jamming to a song, you won't hear the sirens until they are bearing down on your rear bumper. If you are driving attentively, you will see them long before you hear them, and you should be able to move over/stop, as required by law. Hearing is helpful, but it is not required. I am glad his loud pipes saved both of you from a crash, but I still say it is a sorry excuse -- but I'll take any excuse that saves my bacon, learn from it, and try harder, to be be better/safer from then on! ;) Let's hope he learns sooner, rather than later. Cheers!
:coffee:
 

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That's a fact. Nearly 50% of bikes on American roads are Harley. But let's consider they are not the only ones. A majority of HD riders do pipe them loud. But stop and think of how many sport bike riders do the same. I bet you the ratio is close to the same, per capita. You just think of the HD bikes because there are more of them.
 

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American Legion Rider
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There's no way you could have heard him, you were in front of and to his left, sound doesn't travel that way.
You need a science lesson sir. Throw a rock in a pool of water. Notice the waves it makes. Sound waves to exactly the same. Once they hit something they bounce back from that. There is no obstruction keeping sound waves from reaching a person to the left(or right) of a rider. Might take a millisecond but it gets there. Now whether you recognize it as motorcycle is another matter.
 

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American Legion Rider
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vito View Post
but clearly it is the Harleys that constitute the largest group of loud bikes that I encounter on the roads and streets.

Maybe because there are more Harley's on the road then any other brand?:)
It's probably regional but I find the obnoxious ones are metrics. The Harleys are just loud but sound nice. Metrics seem to have a sharpness that actually hurts. Not at all sure why that might be my observation but it is.
 

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Troublemaker
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2,517 Posts
I don't think he was relying on anything. He honestly didn't seem like he was aware enough of his surroundings to give a thought to safety.
If he were aware of his surroundings, he would have noticed that there was a vehicle holding up traffic and would have seen that things were getting hectic in front of him. Then he would have been able to either allow you to get over or he would have sped up to give you room to get behind him. He wasn't riding to be safe, he was just taking up space on the road.

His pipes did save his life, but had you not been a biker, his life could have meant a lot less than what he thought it did.
 
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