Loud Pipes Tick People Off

Motorcycle Mufflers

Even if loud pipes do save lives, you better believe they seriously annoy a lot of people at the same time.

One of the biggest risks of excessively loud motorcycle exhaust systems is that influential people will get sufficiently annoyed that they will bring pressure to “do something about it.” Unfortunately, doing something about it all too often sweeps up the innocent along with the guilty.

Now, with the decline of newspapers it’s hard to say anymore how influential someone like the editorial page editor of the Denver Post is. Years ago that person had a good deal of influence.

Which all leads up to the fact that Vince Carroll, that aforementioned editorial page editor, had a column in Sunday’s paper entitled, “Mobile Noise Pollution,” in which he made it totally clear that too many bikers have pissed him off for too long. While the loud portion of our rider community claims that “loud pipes save lives,” other segments reply that “loud pipes risk rights.”

I’ve never been a loud guy myself. I have three bikes and none of them are louder than the typical car. And they’re a lot quieter than a good many pick-up trucks I’ve seen and nothing close to making the noise a semi makes. So my reply to the loud pipes save lives argument has always been that hey, I’ve never been in an accident, so maybe attentive riding and practiced riding skills are really the main things you need to save lives–forget the noise. And there are a lot of people out there like me. Somehow we survive year after year despite our lack of noise.

Sure I’ve had some close calls. We all have, haven’t we? The road is full of idiots. That’s why you always ride defensively, as if you were invisible.

And at the same time, I’ve known people on loud bikes who have gotten hurt. Was it just that their loud bikes weren’t loud enough? Yeah, let’s try making them even louder and then see how rabid the general public becomes toward shutting us all down.

Now, I’ll give it to Vince that he was not lambasting all motorcyclists. He very carefully made the point that his grudge is with a minority. But here are the words of warning:

Yes, they (loud bikes) are much harder to ignore. We can agree on that. But if safety can be achieved only by becoming a public nuisance–a questionable claim–then maybe these hobbyists need to find another pastime.

As I said, it’s hard to say how much influence someone in Vince’s position has any more. But what if a few legislators read his column and they agree? Perhaps they’ve had similar experiences. And they do have the power to do something about it. Then what happens?

Biker Quote for Today

The great riding pleasure is “to crush your enemies, to see them driven before you, and to hear the lamentations of their women,” all from a smaller, less powerful bike.

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