It’s a most common statement that is going around the bikers community that loud pipes save lives. So, Is it true? Or just another myth surrounded motorcycle riders. Let’s dig deeper into the question and find out the truth.
Loud pipes don’t save lives, but it helps strollers and drivers about your presence. Thus, your loudness may help stray dogs and people to protect themselves from coming your way. But, the only thing that can save your life is thy riding skill and the level of awareness you have while riding.
Otherwise, loud pipes are just a source of enjoyment for riders and noise pollution for abode.
Loud pipes are not more than a source of irritation and annoyance for people around you. In comparison, there is significantly less involvement of noisy pipes in saving your life. The reaming thing matters the way you ride and the awareness level while riding.
So, if loud pipes haven’t many contributions to saving motorcyclists’ lives, what does it contribute.
Do loud motorcycle pipes save lives?
No, loud pipes don’t save riders’ lives, practically as well as scientifically. It makes pedestrians and some drives aware of your presence near to you (especially backward). The only thing that’ll save your life is riding skill and the awareness level you have while driving.
But why do some, especially Harley-Davidson and Triumph riders, think loud pipes save lives. Let’s break this myth for once and all by using some common sense and logic.
Many riders think that the best way to save lives and get noticed on the road is by having a loud exhaust. And, I agree when you ride with noisy pipes, other motorcycle riders, pedestrians, and car riders (with windows open) can notice and hear you. What about riders who listen to music with earbuds and some driving cars listening in their speaker system, which is much louder with the window closed.
Even semi-budget Mazada 3 makes the road noise non-existent as it comes with eight speakers, a six-CD changer, and an auxiliary port for charging. Thus, it eliminated most of the noise outside and left drivers only with their music. But in current luxury cars, you’ll hear far less, and in the future, with improving technologies and soundproof windows, maybe nothing at all.
Let’s talk about some logic, physics, and common sense that many of us have, but only some use it.
We all know that motorcycle exhaust pipes are pointed backward, and as you travel forward, you are leaving the sound behind you, not ahead. Air is the medium for sound to travel; thus, the exhaust pointed backward with air being medium, the sound successfully helps the behind riders be aware of you.
But, the only thing that helps to alert you about your presence ahead of the drive is “horn.” As you know, the horn is pointed forward to help ahead drives to hear you. But, it’s also not that practical sometimes in traffic.
To understand this, let’s take an example of vehicles, especially trucks, as they are louder while coming toward you than when it’s going away. Thus to warn drivers about the presence of the trucks and bigger vehicles, they have generally louder horns. Therefore, the sirens (horns) are pointed forward to warn drivers that the vehicle (truck) is approaching from behind.
Thus, we can’t really say that “loud pipes save lives” also, I don’t want to deny that loud pipes have helped many riders save their lives by getting noticed by the vehicles that saved their lives. It doesn’t mean that everybody should have noisy pipes in their motorcycle exhaust, and everybody will be saved.
I think everybody should be agreed with me this statement that “no matter how loud the motorcycle pipes are if you are not a sensible and responsible rider with riding skills, nothing will save you.”
If you are riding recklessly without wearing proper gear, then it’s not going to save your life, even if you ride with a JBL speaker around your motorcycle, making it the loudest.
Thus, it should be clear now that we can’t provide any single perfect answer to this question. As there are variations of perspectives and experiences to this question. Because if I say “loud pipes don’t save lives,” even with providing some logical background, many people will also disagree. They’ll say it’s a good argument, but… (thinking about the incident), loud pipes saved my life.
So, this question is a very controversial one in which even I write a book; it will not satisfy every rider. But telling the truth and providing a logical answer is my work. And the truth is, “Loud pipes don’t save lives or from accidents, but it helps pedestrians to get notice you and leave your way.” So, does it mean that everybody should get loud pipes
Should everybody get loud motorcycle pipes? If it saves life
No, it would be best if you did not get noisy pipes on your motorcycle by replacing the stock exhaust because not only it’s illegal, it also irritating. As you start your bike, your neighbors will get irritated. Also, it contributes to saving lives significantly less, and that should not be the reason you swap your motorcycle exhaust.
If you want to save your and other lives, there are better upgrades than loud pipes like horns and high-visibility gears. As I have already discussed that exhaust pipes being pointed backward, leaving sound back. So, there is no logic behind using loud pipes except for your ears. And as I have met many riders, they said, “exhaust sound is not noise for my ears; it’s music for me that I love.”
Thus, if you are from that category want to swap your motorcycle pipes by giving excuses like this. Then its, not a good decision, not for you, your neighbors, and the environment.
Are loud motorcycle pipes illegal?
Any motorcycle noise exceeding above 84 decibels (dB) when traveling more than 35 mph on a paved street or highway is illegal and can be taken legal actions against anybody who does it. And, generally, loud exhaust noise ranges between 90 decibels to 100 decibels that are not only illegal but also harmful to your ear if heard for an extended period. You may not notice it now, but you will be facing problems later on in the coming time.
According to NIDCD, “Sounds at or below 70 decibels (dBA) are generally safe. Long or repeated exposure to sounds at or above 85 dBA can cause hearing loss.”
Generally, most motorcycle noise levels remain compliant with the EPA’s legal standards (78 dB to 80 dB). But, it’s the owner who modifies the exhaust or muffler to make the motorcycle noisier. Even if you swap your exhaust system for sound purposes, make sure its decibels level is under 85 dB as per the EPA guidelines.
Finally, I want to say only one thing, never ever rely on your exhaust loudness to save your life. Because it can’t, you drive your motorcycle thus you can only save your and other drives life. The critical component to saving a life is responsible towards rules and safety. Therefore, always wear safety gear and drive responsively. And to increase the chances of being noticed on the traffic or highway do two crucial things. First, upgrade your horn, and second wear high-visibility clothes.
I can’t help it, but memes are the best source to give logic and answer without using many words. So here are some memes surrounding the internet.
Here are the top memes made on “loud pipes saves life”:-
I found the above meme best justifying the truth if loud pipes save a life. Make it loud 2X by adding some extra noise of instrument or speakers.
This meme is a very interesting one by portraying two policemen asking questions from the guilty rider as he may have given a statement that his motorcycle is loud from the factory that is totally false. As I have already stated above the motorcycle are not loud from the factory it’s the owner that makes them loud.
In the above meme, its clear objective is that if loud pipes saves life then make it 100x.
I love the above meme on Harley-Davidson motorcycle. through, this meme it is being said about the loudness of the Harley. His Harley-Davidson is loud enough that every time he starts his motorcycle neighbor also knows it.
What do loud motorcycle pipes for?
Loud motorcycle pipes are the choice of some riders. The rider uses noisy pipes just because they like their sound. That’s the only reason some riders swap their stock exhaust pipes with the aftermarket ones. Some aftermarket motorcycle exhaust loud pipes are specifically designed to increase horsepower as well as sound. That’s the reason people also use some aftermarket exhaust because it sometimes also increase horsepower with sound.