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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Please no fighting.

I was reading a few articles on motorcycle safety and one was something about 10 myths of motorcycle safety. And one of the ten points was that loud exhaust do not save lives, they said it was a myth and left it at that with no data to back up the definitive statement!

Well, a one time opponent of loud exhausts and still not particularly keen on them, my own observation, several times I have begun a lane change only to realize, by the exhaust noise, that a motorcycle had been stupidly sitting in my blind spot. Would I have hit the motorcycle, no, because I also always look. But, in another day and time and place it could indeed be the critical piece of the chain that once broken stops the event.

Everything that happens is a chain of events that bring each of us to some place in time and place. As annoying as the group pf Harley riders (or it could easily have been sport bikers) that ruined the quiet sunset in Yellowstone for us with all the loud exhaust, maybe they do not need to be that loud, but we certainly noticed them if that was the intention. But for an article to just blather out that loud pipes do not save lives and it is a myth, what evidence do they have to back that up?

3C
 

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Ace Tuner
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Don't know if loud pipes save lives but I have been in a cage and could tell a bike was coming up beside me because of the loud exhaust.
I'm a little different from you in that I lower the window so I can hear the exhaust music better.

It is a little irritating when a loud sportbike goes by emitting an obviously too lean sound from the exhaust.
It irritates me because I know all the rider did was put a pipe on it without tuning for the free flowing exhaust.
Kinda like he's playing a tune out of key.... Irritating.
 

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Here's my take. Cars are built to be soundproofed and quiet, to the extent it becomes a selling point. Seriously, some of them are like coffins - people get in them and hope to have as little external stimuli as possible. Add to that increasingly advanced bluetooth audio systems and satellite radio, so people are listening to music at full blast. How many times do you hear cars going down the street with their **** blaring for everyone to hear? You can feel them coming well before you even see them, because the reverberations transmit into the roads.

Even if you do have those loud pipes, a person not specifically listening for it may still end up tuning it out. People like us hear loud and quiet motorcycles alike - because we like them, and want to see other bikes. Contrary to popular excuse, people don't actually multitask well - the brain will ignore certain stimuli in favor of others. They may "hear" it but not actually listen to and acknowledge its significance. Of course, the moment they get a text message, they'll hear the ding over their gangsta rap and be Johnny on the spot in answering while at the wheel.

The same thing happens with visual stimulus - even when I dress like a clown with my high viz jacket and bright white helmet and high beams on in the day, on a white bike, I've still had people turn in front of me, and tell me they didn't see me. Of course their eyes saw me, they just weren't processing, and the brain just threw it out as insignificant, because they were looking for cars. Or who knows, maybe they weren't, some people are just born stupid, and don't have to work for it.

So, I don't think loud pipes necessarily save lives any more than high viz gear. It might snap a person who's only somewhat distracted out of a trance, but then again, so will pressing a horn - a sound people are a lot more accustomed and likely to listen to, I might add. Maybe there is benefit, but also think of the costs. High viz gear has no real downsides, as far as I know, but loud pipes could damage your own hearing, get you pulled over if it's illegal, and piss off your neighbors. Though the latter might be seen as a pro!

Some cars have technology like blind spot warnings, and if I remember correctly, some luxury cars even have tactile feedback - you'll feel a vibration in the wheel if you attempt a lane change with an obstruction. We have radar guided cruise control that works in stop and go traffic. All of this technology, designed to aid humans in conducting a task that requires inhuman amounts of concentration and attention to detail. Still, life always finds a way, just like stupid people always find a way. Ride like you're invisible, and ride like no one can hear you. For the latter: many do, it's a well known fact that those who rev the **** out of their engines at intersections believe they pull unimaginable amounts of tail. They really don't, but who am I to judge? :D
 

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Moderator - Loves All Motorcycles
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Oh I like this Adam guy. :)

There's also the fact that bike pipes usually point behind the bike. So while a car driver may hear the sound of a mean Harley or super fast Gixxer, they may not be able to pinpoint the source of said sound in time.

Case in point, I've had a number of near-misses with speeding lane splitters in Chicago. Lane splitting isn't legal here but if you watched our motorcycles you wouldn't know. You'll hear them, but since you're 200 cars deep in traffic you don't know if they're oncoming, behind you and going with the flow of traffic, or behind you and will slice by in a few seconds. Some individuals in this city will even react to the sound of a possible lane splitter by blindly blocking the theoretical path the bike would have to take.

I'm pretty sure someone can find an example where loud pipes were the driving factor in saving a life, however I don't think they are inherently safer. My straight piped Buell didn't stop inattentive drivers from trying to make me into road pizza.

That said, if you like the sound, have at it! :)
 
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Just remember fellow citizens, the Federal Environmental Protection Agency has made it an actionable offence to tamper with, alter or change any Emissions related parts or tunes on any vehicle approved for use on public roadways.:surprise:

This basically means that almost ANY aftermarket exhaust systems are technically illegal as are aftermarket tuners, jet kits, modified air boxes and 'Full flow air cleaners,' and anything else that raises the sound level over the factory approved decibel level.:surprise:

Any builder or tuner knows that to increase horsepower, torque and speed, normally MORE fuel that requires More air that requires more and freer exhaust flow, changes the air/ fuel ratio and increases emissions and is thus illegal:surprise:

Are they enforcing the EPA laws? Ya betcha:surprise: Many cities, towns and States have 'NOISE' abatement laws that are just waiting to ruin your day, forcing you to come into compliance by putting your stock exhaust back on, to clear the infraction and you still will pay a fine:surprise:

Many Motorcycle dealers have been targeted for openly changing a stock motorcycle to increase performance and thus making it louder and the fines I remember at one of my Favorite Harley Dealership in Southern California was $50,000 for their first non-compliance citation:surprise:

I, personally would never modify a streetbike:angel: (Cross my finger's) Sorry LORD:smile_big:

Sam:nerd:
 

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A guy called Doplar realized and explained the Doplar effect. This is how your GPS can find you. Also the basis of the Raineer beer add of many years ago.
The sound we here, is different when approaching us, or leaving us. The louder sound from louder pipes, will not be as loud when a bike is approaching us. It will be louder when it is leaving us. Bikes generally are involved in collisions when approaching the soon to be crash. I have noticed a lot less cages cutting me off since the head light on rule was put in effect. I also know, they way we ride will have a lot more to do with the number of crashes, than the noise we make.

Read the thread about the two folks killed recently. Loud pipes could not overcome excessive speed in the dark, the effect of grog in the guidance system, the lack of experience of the guidance system, or any other factor that got them killed. I think the thread is titled Preaching to the Choir.

The other day I got in a squeeze play between two semis and needed to change lanes. The Dodge pickup in the next lane increased speed to cut me off. He could see me.
On the ferry, to park my bike at a 45 degree angle, requires entering the lane next to me. As I was doing this a cage was approaching. The ferry worker signaled her to stop. She did not.
Last week a cage driver, ignored to stop sign warnings, plus the stop sign, and pulled out from a side road onto the main road in front of a cop. Crash bang.

Taking a defensive driving course will help more with crash avoidance than loud pipes, IMO. So will riding in the dirt and falling off a lot, as you figure out how these things handle.

I got my license to thrill in 1961. Zero crashes on the public roads. Hundreds of crashes in the dirt. A few at the road race track.

And lastly. Why would I want to annoy my neighbours when they are walking their dogs, or the kids riding their horses.

UK
 

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Biker
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Well Porky, just another reason I feel Gov. flat out sucks. . . and Royally! I know Gov. could squash the sales of any after market
items and /or kits to get more hp out of your bike. But no, they'd rather wait till we fix our bike up the way we want, then come
after us. Thumbs up to government, 2 of them even, Gov. is the largest bunch of out an out crooks and A-holes.

So far as loud pipes save lives, maybe maybe not. Might be they piss more people off than actually help the rider. I know that
when I go grocery shopping and some moron on a sports-bike flies by me at 20 miles over the limit sounding like a screeming giant,
frankly I'd like to shove a hand grenade up his tail pipe, you can figure which tail pipe I mean.

I have yet to see some rider on a Harley or maybe a Suzuki M-50 or M-90 fly by me making a racket so loud and irritating that I
put a curse on him/her that they have trouble out in the boonies at 3:am. I am not saying a Harley or Suzuki or other touring bike
is not loud, I am sure they can be. Heck I just got the Wide Glide stage 1'd but still it is a deeper and throatier sound, which I like.

I think the best way a biker can keep on riding is to keep up their slow speed skills, loads of situational awareness, good lane
positioning, high viz biking gear.

1Adam12 is right as is Dave Hough, people don't see bikers as a threat to them, they can see us but if they don't regard us as
anything to worry about, and frankly might not even like people on motorcycles, because they zoom by so loudly or have their front
wheel 2 feet away from your rear bumper revving the hell out of the engine.
 

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Retired twice: Navy and as a govt contractor
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Look around you, the average driver can't hear the claxton horn on a fire truck or see his flashing lights. Hi-viz or load pipes we are all just sitting ducks. That said both my bikes are louder than stock.
 

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Moderator - Loves All Motorcycles
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Unpopular opinion: I'm okay with noise abatement laws. The sheer number of straight-piped everything in the bordering towns gets annoying really quickly. It's one thing if it's a bike, but then you get those dudes who make their pickup trucks louder than a jet engine while coughing up more soot than the local power plant (mom's an asthmatic and those trucks are basically toxic). And then you get those other dudes who decide to put the biggest subwoofers they can physically fit into their clapped out Cavalier. Then they roll around town playing music so loud that the sound is distorted and they wake up sleeping children.

I'm willing to give up that little freedom to be able to watch a sunset from my deck in silence. ;) But that's the good thing, some towns have such laws, some don't, and some have them and don't enforce them. There's something for everybody.
 

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At 70mph you're travelling 34.22 yards per second. At that speed on the highway, a car 5 seconds ahead in the lane to your right is 171 yards ahead.

If your pipes are loud enough for that driver to hear you with the windows up and his stereo on, or while driving in the rain, then your bike is dangerously loud. Why? Because it will drown out the sound of any danger coming your way - vehicle horns, brakes squealing, emergency vehicles, etc. Being able to hear approaching danger is at least as important for a rider as it is for a cager.
 

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Biker
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Miss Mercedes has a pretty good point, seems like a lot of people in St.Pete like beefing up their pick-up trucks
and though it is not often I have heard cars with what seemed like kilowatt audio amps hooked to to some big
-ass woofers mid-ranges and tweeters and yeah by the time we hear it, due to the vibration of everything around
we have no idea of what the song was.

Some cars are starting to sound like Sport bikes the way they get 'souped up' Maybe since Motown is building
faster cars, only to have the EPA squeeze back some of that power, we want to get it back and since there are all
kinds of what I call,"beef it up kits" anyone can buy, this has become a hobby. The same being said for those into
heavy duty electronics like those big powerful amps and speakers.

Well if anyone starts to get their self in a dither due to the loudness of motorcycles, we can always say," Everyone
who has hit someone on a bike says,' We didn't see him/her.' famous words for the woman putting on her lipstick
or the guy juggling a roast beef sandwich and trying to text his boss. So we try to get around the "I didn't see him/her
thing by making our presence loudly known.
 

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Obviously the sound is louder at the rear. If you are at a race track in the stands the bikes coming are loud, but much louder as they go by. All I know is my sportbike has a loud, obnoxious , and annoying 2brothers exhaust on it and I love the sound. I see cars looking in their mirrors when I am approaching them (depending on the speed) and that is good enough for me. I know when Im being noticed from the sound of the pipes and not the driver's awareness. Sometimes I can see people on their phones looking down, then when I get up close they turn their heads and look back at me. My cruiser has cobra dragsters which are also loud and annoying. Thats the way I like it. Even if the one soundproofed car with the loud stereo system doesnt hear me, i know another driver will and that the exhaust is worth the the annoyance ( to me). I am told I can be heard from very far distances by friends and coworkers. This is one topic Id like to see done on mythbusters just for proof.
That being said, I work late nights right now and get woken up by $%#@ing lawnmowers all the time in the summer and snowblowers in the winter.
 

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Interesting point CC Rider,

Guy next door to the East of me starts mowing his lawn yesterday morning at 7:am sharp. Took the dog out last night and all
their lights are off. So I grab my 7 gallon air tank and double trumpet horns from my truck, walk over to their house at midnight
and give a nice long squeeze on the valve lever. YUP woke him out of his beauty sleep, his wife too and she is no beauty by any
stretch of the word. By the time he opened his door and standing there in his night shirt I was back in my yard.

I too am aware of the Doplar effect but I have to say, "It is a lot more noticeable at 7:am with a riding mower and no muffler
than a sport-bike blowing past you on the freeway. The guy has his house up for sale and I can only ask God someone buys it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
LOL, some strong opinions, some rather scattered, a lot of anecdotes, but I was looking for a study or data that backs up or refutes the premise that loud pipes save lives.

And by the way the Doppler effect is a frequency shift, not a change in loudness. The misconception might be related to sound also being directional and that from a motorcycle exhaust pointing rearward as the motorcycle passes contributes to the volume change.
 

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Google this: Do loud pipes save lives?:smile_big:

Enjoy reading for hours and hours---etc.

Definitive data for or against the premise? I doubt it: 100 dead riders wrecked bikes and how many had loud exhaust? Were all of the wrecked bikes quiet, with stock exhaust? How many had loud exhaust and ran their bike off the road? How many died of Cardiac arrest? How many Angel's fit on the head of a pin? How many rich Camels can fit through the eye of a needle? Do they like loud pipes?:surprise:

Give me a Harley big twin with a set of Vance&Hines long shots on there and it's Heavenly and makes me happy and happiness probably extends ones life--OUI? So I deduct that loud pipes may not save lives but they enhance and extend it :kiss:

Sam:nerd:
 

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LOL, some strong opinions, some rather scattered, a lot of anecdotes, but I was looking for a study or data that backs up or refutes the premise that loud pipes save lives.

And by the way the Doppler effect is a frequency shift, not a change in loudness. The misconception might be related to sound also being directional and that from a motorcycle exhaust pointing rearward as the motorcycle passes contributes to the volume change.
I did not want to get technical, just point out that bikes are louder going away from us. And therefor of no use. When the fuzz or the inspection folk check the loudness with a meter, they do not stand fifteen feet in front of the bike. 86 db used to be the limit around here.
There are likely about 50 or more other things we can do to afford crashes, that have a much greater effect than loud pipes.
I already listed head lights on. Slowing down at intersections and looking both ways. Expecting cages to pull out in front of us, changing lanes in front of us, looking directly at us and proceeding as if we were not there. I could go on.
My XS400 got run over while sitting still in the ferry line up. I was not on it.

UK
 

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On The Road Again!
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My Goldwing is whisper quiet and I haven't had any problems with people not seeing me....or hearing me either. My loud air horns take care of that!
 

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Biker
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Google this: Do loud pipes save lives?:smile_big:

Enjoy reading for hours and hours---etc.

Definitive data for or against the premise? I doubt it: 100 dead riders wrecked bikes and how many had loud exhaust? Were all of the wrecked bikes quiet, with stock exhaust? How many had loud exhaust and ran their bike off the road? How many died of Cardiac arrest? How many Angel's fit on the head of a pin? How many rich Camels can fit through the eye of a needle? Do they like loud pipes?:surprise:

Give me a Harley big twin with a set of Vance&Hines long shots on there and it's Heavenly and makes me happy and happiness probably extends ones life--OUI? So I deduct that loud pipes may not save lives but they enhance and extend it :kiss:

Sam:nerd:
Hello Sam, Don't forget that 'Eye' said to some extent, "More bikers have probably died from too much deep fried foods."
I forget exactly how it works but the higher sound frequency at a given volume is still more irritating than a lower pitched
sound like a large Harley going into a pair of long shots and having the same decibels of sound.
 

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Biker
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I think bikers like loud pipes that sort of rumble, like V&H's long shots, or similar pipes, It is a deep throated sound,
that even if it is loud somehow is not as rough on the ears as the higher pitched exhaust systems out there.

But when it comes right down to it, I would not put all that much trust in just being heard, good visibility,
lane positioning, situational awareness, low speed skills. . .good stuff to know.
 
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