Friday, January 3, 2014

Stop this ‘Loud Pipes Save Lives’ Bullshit


I got invited to a BBQ the other day. 

Technically it was my wife’s do. 

So apart from the hosts I didn’t know another soul. 

One of the other couples arrived on their Harley so I started to make idle chatter with the bloke and the subject of mufflers arose.

I got to hear the argument ‘loud mufflers save lives’.  

The premise has a certain logic to it. 

But it’s simply wrong, not born-out in any independent study I could locate and ignores the fact bad drivers crash into other cars at the same rate as they crash into motorbikes.

Ignores physics: sound travels behind a bike not in front of it.  

How many accidents happen when a vehicle driving on an open highway drives up the arse of another one moving at speed?  

Then there’s the ‘herd of elephants in the room’ if you are in-fact a safety conscious motorcyclist?
 
Not an attention seeking one, driven by fashion and the desire to be a weekend rebel.    

Daytime running lights will make you more visible to other motorists.  

There are studies (Scandinavia, Denmark etc) that prove this.   

Similarly donning a hi-vis jacket as opposed to dark leathers will also increase visibility. 

So if you want to put loud pipes on your bike for safety reasons and not just exhibiting a form of attention deficit syndrome – then by rights it follows you will ride the roads in a fluro yellow vest or similar with headlights blazing day and night, eh?   

As we all know Harley Davidson owners see themselves as ‘real men’ and wouldn’t be seen dead in poofy fluro, nor adopting the effeminate habit of riding with lights on during the day.     

Yet these very same Harley owners are perfectly happy creating noise pollution under the guise of personal safety!  

Last but not least as a safety conscious motorcycle owner what about buying a motorbike that has the most favourable specs for handling, suspension and brakes etc?     

Get say a sports bike like a Ducati or Kawasaki which would ‘kill’ a heavy Harley in any performance, handling comparison.  

More importantly the likes of a Ducati, Yamaha, BMW make safer motorcycles better suited to N.Z roads.    
 
That’s probably why the owners of these motorbikes don’t see it as necessary to employ noisy exhausts.     

 

4 comments:

mavaddat said...

Regardless of source positioning, sound emits in all directions as spherical wavefronts of rarified and condensed air. So, unless your motorcycle is traveling faster than sound (mach one), the sound does not only travel backwards.

However, the sound will be more loud behind the motorcycle because of the directioning of the exhaust.

See here for a detailed illustrated account sound propagation: http://waiferx.blogspot.ca/2012/06/presentation-sound.html

mavaddat said...

Regardless of source positioning, sound emits in all directions as spherical wavefronts of rarified and condensed air. So, unless your motorcycle is traveling faster than sound (mach one), the sound does not only travel backwards.

However, the sound will be more loud behind the motorcycle because of the directioning of the exhaust.

See here for a detailed illustrated account sound propagation: http://waiferx.blogspot.ca/2012/06/presentation-sound.html

Scote said...

"gnores physics: sound travels behind a bike not in front of it."

Um, unless you are driving at or faster than the speed of sound, sound travels in front of and behind the bikes.

I'm highly skeptical of the loud pipes argument, and I think your "well if you are all about safety, you'll want to require these Hi Viz vests, too" argument is amusing and on point.

I'd love to see if there is a study of comparable bikes accident rates between loud and quite exhausts, ones that are controlled for type of rider, and HP to weight ratio, such that racing bikes don't give a false read out for "quiet" bikes, etc.

Canterbury Atheists said...

The sound emanating from a motorcycle to anyone other than the rider will predominately be emitted backwards. I make the point by asking how many accidents happen on an open road that could be prevented by rear sound emit ions? Presumably a few odd times but no-where near as much as riders proclaim and certainly noisy mufflers are a less effective method than proven safety methods like turning your lights on everytime you drive. A credible safety method virtually 100% of Harley riders reject along with high visibility gear. If sound was an effective safety method why stop at mufflers? Why not make boom boxes compulsory?