Do Loud Pipes on Motorcycles Save Lives? I Think So!

Norman Gregory Fernandez and Sabrina on a Run

Based upon my own first hand experiences riding motorcycles, I can say without a doubt that Loud Pipes do save lives! I have been in many situations, particularly when I am splitting lanes, where revving my engine and making noise got cagers to notice me and make way.

I have been in other situations on streets and on the freeways where cagers have had their windows rolled up, talking on a cell phone, and it appeared to me that they would switch into my lane. Again, revving the engine and making noise got them to notice that I was there.

The key to not getting hit by a cager while riding your motorcycle is to be seen by the cager. In some circumstances you have to force them to see and hear you.

The reason I am putting this article in the Biker Laws section of my Blog is simple. The law as it currently stands, prohibits you from modifying the stock exhaust system of your bike and creates a maximum decibel (noise level) at which your motorcycle can run in most States. Some cities even have their own noise ordinances.

I recently read an article where some cager was bashing bikers with loud pipes, and that loud pipes are a nuisance. The problem is that most motorcycle accidents are caused by cagers who fail to see motorcyclist. Loud Pipes will definitely get the cagers attention.

With that being said the choice is up to you. As a lawyer I cannot ever advocate not following the law. However in this particular instance having loud pipes may save your life. You need to check your own local laws to determine what you can and cannot do with respect to after market pipes and maximum noise levels.

There are no laws that I am aware of that prohibit you from installing an air horn of the type that are on Big Rig Trucks! This may be a viable alternative to loud pipes. If you see a cager who is not paying attention and that may hit you, blast your air horn! That will get their attention.

It’s all about being legal on your motorcycle and being safe.

By Norman Gregory Fernandez, Esq. , Copyright 2006

41 Responses to Do Loud Pipes on Motorcycles Save Lives? I Think So!

  1. “If you see a cager who is not paying attention and that may hit you, blast your air horn! That will get their attention.” —

    Yeah, and may scare the crap out of them, causing them to jerk the steering wheel and swerve right into you!
    The time to get noticed is BEFORE you are in a place where the cage driver can run into you.
    Ideally, we should try to avoid situations where a cage can run into us. Always plan ahead–leave yourself an escape route.
    If you must put yourself in a place with no escape, try to get past that place a quickly as is safely possible.

  2. I would agree that alerting non-attentive drivers to your position in
    traffic certainly improves your realtive safety, but a blanket statement that your life was saved thereby is wrong. just becausem, in a certain traffic situation, you think a driver “might ” move over on you, or not see you, doesn’t automatically mean your life is at risk. in fact, I would propose that you life isn’t at any significant risk until you’ve already lost control of the motorcycle and are sliding down the road.

    I’ve been riding motorcycles since the summer of 1975. I’ve ridden every season since then, on bikes both loud and quiet, and cannot honestly say that the louder bikes were more noticable, generally, than the quiet bikes, given the amount of times I was cut of, moved over on, or otherwise had my lane space invaded.
    BUT, of all my bikes, the only ones that gneerated unsolicited negative comments from non riders, were the loud ones.

    I would also have to say that this usual anecdotal hearsay of “I revved my engine to make noise, so the “cager” would look at me” is nothing more than substituting your loud exhaust for your horn.

  3. As a lawyer, you must be aware of the overwhelming amount of backlash against “loud pipes” throughout the country. In many communities, citizens are using the fact that loud pipes are a public disturbance as justification for a blanket ban for all motorcycles.

    Don’t ruin it for the rest of us.

    The non-motorcycling community only knows about us the things that stick out to them as disturbing or offensive. Waking your neighbors up at 6am as you warm up your bike before a long ride, or interrupting a conversation among pedestrians with a few unnecessary, self-congratulatory throttle blips at an intersection falls into this category just as much as a squid doing a wheelie on the interstate.

    Riding safe involves strategy rather than incessant action. Think of it like the Cold War vs. WWI. Always be a few moves ahead of the cars around you. Position yourself so that you can react, knowing full well the person in the car has no idea you’re there. Don’t get territorial when you weigh 1/10th of what your adversary does… its a losing game. So be smart, not loud.

    as the new saying goes, “Loud bikes lose rights”, and anyone capable of passing the bar should understand the basic concept that its a lot easier to do things when the law actually allows you to.

  4. Thanks for the response… I understand your view a little better, but I wholeheartedly believe the only way to “save a life” is to be as prepared as possible (good gear, good maintenance, smart riding strategies), and not to rely on passive means (noise, appearance, etc).

    “Most accidents are caused by negligent cagers”. I’m curious as to the actual numbers there. As a litigator, I’m sure that’s a good position to believe in, but as much as it pains me to say it, I’d be wiling to bet an overwhelming majority of accidents are caused by riders themselves. I’m even of the opinion that more of the responsibility rests on motorcyclists in the event of cager-error… we should know they don’t always see us and continually try to have an out rather than hold our ground to prove something. (But, I strongly believe in more aggressive enforcement of traffic laws and more detailed accident investigations where a cage is clearly in the wrong)

    On the subject of exhaust, I’ve heard a reasonable suggestion that they extend the max allowable noise to ~93 dB… allowing for moderate increases in overall loudness and tone, but then also aggresively increase enforcement of bikes over that limit with fines.

    I think the only way the motorcycling community (or anyone else in our rapidly polarizing society) will find any sort of acceptance is to actively try to find a middle ground, to make reasonable compromises and understand some of their viewpoints, while at the same time educating the non-riding public about motorcycling rather than berate and fight them.

    But even as your website states… maybe there’s a big difference between “motorcyclists” and “bikers” at play here, too. I’ll leave that one alone.

    Great can of worms, Norm. I appreciate the open forum… this is exactly the kind of approach needed for everyone to learn more and find some common ground.

  5. Dirtbikes; at least 7 or 8 behind my home are driving me crazy with the noise. There is no f***ing reason for putting a loud pipe on these machines. It’s all right to have fun riding a dirt bike, but please quieten those machines down. I have just looked up the Florida statute and will start phoning the sheriff tomorrow. I am sick of those damn things.
    And I love to hear a Harley’s sound; that’s ok on a street or highway, but not a dirtbike race all day long next to a home!

  6. Absolutely “LOUD PIPES SAVE LIVES”!!! Let those cagers who do not pay attention and can not see…..make noise and pray that they can hear!!! Shame that in Daytona that police can pull you over and check how loud your pipes are……..sad day when the police have nothing better to do.

  7. I have a pin on my jean jacket that I bought Bike Week in Daytona 1997. LOUD PIPES SAVE LIVES. You reve your engine and cagers do take notice. I am amazed at the things I see people do while driving. I saw a woman with a curling iron doing her hair. HOW, I ask did she plug it in? The cigarette lighter? Or, a small generator. Lots of makeup is applied as well. People just do not drive the cage and pay attention. When on a bike, one must look in every direction and use their rearview mirrors too.

  8. Norm: This also pertains to your article on Canyon not wanting motorcycles in their neighborhood. I just looked at a contract on a condo that a friend put a contract on In Jupiter. It has three paragraphs on motorcycles not allowed on premises at all. If you havr friends ride their bike to visit you they must park it elsewhere. Noise is the reason stated…….but golf carts are allowed and there is no golf course. Go figure. Alot of these jap bikes that kids are on making the sound of a beehive cutting loose come out of the factory that way. Or so. I read.

  9. Norm: I spoke to a friend of mine whp retired from NYPD after 9-11. He now has a investigations firm. They serve summons for attorneys etc. He told me that Daytona requested police help from NYPD for Bike Week. I was told that Daytona is importing police officiers and they have also borrowed machines to test the loudness of pipes. Now, that is a shame because it makes the old timers want to stay home. Nobody really cares to ride in the parade the final day after they look around at all the temp tags, see new shiny boots and gloves not broke in. You don’t know who you are riding with in that pack anymore. One thing for sure, if one bike goes down it will be a pile in a few seconds. Daytona is paying for the officiers hourly wage, putting them up in nice motel rooms and giving them money for three meals a day. Some cities are even loaning their motorcycles. Remember 20 years ago when it used to be fun to go? Think I will go up for the weekend and head back before everyone else does.

  10. There’s no need to check your local laws regarding what you can and can’t do, as Mr. Fernandez suggests. It is against federal law to “remove or render inoperative” the OEM noise controls. Period. This applies to all on-road vehicles. See section 10, paragraph (a) of the Noise Control Act of 1972.
    Also, anecdotal evidence of the “loud pipes saves lives” mantra is worthless. I can find anecdotal evidence of alien abductions, but it does not make it fact. If you believe in this controversial statement, as do many, and you want to be able to defend it properly, show the world a peer-reviewed scientific study that proves your hypethesis. I will bet you that there is absolutely no statistical difference in injury, death, or accident rates between riders on bikes with modified exhausts and riders on bikes with stock exhausts.
    As I was sitting at home this weekend listening to one loud bike after another go past my house I marveled at the audacity, selfishness, and thoughtlessness of people who believe in their freedoms to the excluson of the freedom of others to hear eachother talk in their own back yard.

  11. I am not with Robert on this one. I personally do not know anyone, and my husband and I ride with several people and “EACH” person has changed out their pipes immediately before adding any other extra accessories on their bikes. I feel like we as riders of “any” make and model motorcycles have the right to go down any highway. I see no difference in the neighbor who puts their dog outside barking before the chickens wake up to be rude. I personally hate the sound of crotch rockets but I do not get upset when they pass me on the highway or go past my house. I do not know how someone can’t hear a conversation because loud pipes go by their home. This would only be possible if the bikes were sitting in front of Robert’s home and not moving. So please leave the aliens out of it. I will continue to rev my engine if I know that a cager does not see me while backing out of their driveway or changing into my lane!!! Excellent reply Norm. I agree LOUD PIPES DO SAVE LIVES!!!!

  12. Dear Esquire,

    Please provide conclusive, empirical evidence that loud pipes save lives. No such study exists as far as I know. It’s just wonderful that this is your opinion, but your proclamations to this effect are generally met with the same level of ridicule as Holocaust revisionists.

    Loud pipes are disruptive to the peace and serenity of everyday life. They exist for only one purpose – self-aggrandization and a desperate need for attention by men and women who have no identity other than that of the hopeful badass.

    Loud pipes restrict rights! I have an old Husqvarna 450 Desertmaster that is loud as all get out, as well as a Moto Guzzi 850 street bike. I would NEVER ride the Husky in a residential area. Why? Because it’s important to me to respect the rights of others for peace and self-preservation. It’s just common sense.

    Ask any American if respect for others and the law is the American way. Most would readily agree with you – it’s in the common fabric of our moral/ethical system. Loud pipes are simply illegal, dude! Most groups and attorneys will readily admit this if blasted against a wall – most pro-biker arguments are based upon the ability to enforce rather than the basis of the law itself.

    And you know, I consider bikers like you to be un-American. Why? Because you stand for selfish interests and not for the good of all. Is that the kind of American that you want to be? I guess so. This is just one reason why people all over the world laugh at us and our inherent contradictions.

    The fact that people would even debate the idiocy of disturbing other people is beyond belief. In any case, please provide your address so that I can ride by your house on my Husky while you are sitting there peacefully writing about how some noise ordinance is evil. Then, you’ll get a grip on what it is really like to have to put with this stupidity.

    An example: after seeing a load of what I call “dickie bikers” at a convenience store a couple of weekends ago, I took my Husky for a spin by the store. When I drove by, every biker head jerked up spasmodically. The looks on their faces were not friendly. Why, Lordy, I had disturbed THEM!

    I found it funny how you said that you would go NUTS if loud dirt bikers were racing behind your house. Don’t you realize that your Harley dickie pipes are doing the SAME thing to everyone else?

    All I can say is – try to pull yer head out, brother! All the blathering in the world won’t justify a simple common sense issue. You can paint it all with all of the hues of grey you want, but it becomes crystal clear when it happens to YOU!

    Best o’ luck and regards,


  13. Norm: I agree with you, LOUD PIPES SAVE LIVES!!! Many other people must agree with us. The most sold pin that is worn on a jacket or vest of a biker is LOUD PIPES SAVE LIVES made in pewter.

  14. Your reasoning that “loud pipes save lives” is nuts! It doesn’t matter is there is the rare time where having an extremely loud bike helped you avoid a potential accident. You can’t and shouldn’t expose your noise to hundreds of people a day so that you feel safer on a bike. I can;t open my windows on nice evening (especially on weekends) because I have to listen to a barrage of unbaffled motorcyclist rev their engines on the way home. That impact dozens and dozens of citizens trying to get a nights sleep, just so these morons look and sound cool. I’m sure most use the ‘safer” excuse but the truth is they like to look and sound cool.

    So you think it’s ok to disturb the population just so you feel safe on your bike? The problem is in expressing your personal choice, you are infringing on other personal rights.
    Would you like it if your neighbor fired up a chainsaw or starting ripping wood at midnight?

    Your reasoning is flawed! Everyone take a risk when they leave their home whether on foot, bicycle, car of motorbike. If you can’t accept the extra risk in driving a bike with normal, quietpipes, then drive a car.

    What if everyone took your approach and removed their mufflers on their teenagers cars and maybe strap an airhorn to be always on onto there kids bicycle. That would be a bit safer for them, you sure would know they were coming.

    What you want is an “exemption” from the the laws and from common courtesy just so you can express yourself. It doesn;t work that way, your pursuit of happiness can’t infringe on my pursuit of happiness!

    Do the right thing and quiet your bike.

    Yes, I was a biker in the past but never replaced the stock mufflers. I guess I was just more aware of others peoples rights.

  15. I can’t wait till you put the sound of your new air horn online for us to hear!!! LOUD PIPES SAVE LIVES!! Wha says a bike can’t be loud without knocking the baffles out?? We go to a dealership, buy pipes and have them put on!! It is legal.

  16. Thanks for the advise Norm. Like you I purchase my add ons at the local Harley Davidson Dealerships and have it installed there. One learns to always go to a reputable place to purchase any parts. I don’t think Florida has that emmissions thing, if we do I am not aware of it. Yes, Jesse James was recently fined for this emissions thing and it was $10,000 per bike. James paid a $100,000 fine to the Great State of California. See what I mean……I always learn something here. Keep up the good work.

  17. I disagree and despise loud pipes. If you need a loud noise, blow your damn horn like everyone else on the road. If you are worried about getting hit by another ignoramus on a cell phone, get away from them like everyone else has to do. Why should my eardrums have to suffer because you don’t want your precious leather tassles scraped up?

    Further, you broadcast your beligerent decibels BEHIND YOU. If you want noise to be of help to you, it would make sense to broadcast your ignorant decibels IN FRONT OF YOU. Why don’t you turn your straight pipes around and hence breath in your own exhaust – do the world a favor.

    Oh, and yes, I ride motorcycles too (though the only thing I’d use a Harley for would be to mow my lawn)

  18. I know first hand that loud pipes did save my life, and no opinion can change that fact
    I am so thankful i did put louder pipes on my bike, If you think about it, in a situation
    where someone is not seeing you and may possibly hit you, would it be easier to use the
    controls where your hands already are, to rev up or try to find your damn horn button
    only to hit the blinker or something ?????


    I find no reason to be upset about opposing opinions and wont belittle anyone that says
    something conquary to my experiences. Unfortunately you will have to experience it first
    hand to be a supporter of it.

  19. How exactly do “Loud Pipes Save Lives” while sitting in a driveway of a suburban neighborhood at midnight? My neighbor extols this mantra and roars his straight pipes late at night just a dozen yards from my child’s bedroom window. Please explain what dangers this noise is protecting his life from while he is sitting in front of his own garage.

  20. When we are in our garage or driving out of our or any neighborhood we always use respect and stay off the
    throttle, but when your talking about pipes on the bike and the usefulness sitting in the garage. It would
    be like asking you to remove your car muffler and put it back on to suit me, It just doesnt happen that way
    You should ask your neighbor to please show respect for your child if sleeping and keep the reving of the motor to
    a minimum.

    His actions in no way diminish the reason why we are saying loud pipes saves lives. And has no reflection
    on those of us that have had our lives saved by having loud pipes on our bikes

  21. In response to cindy: I want to personally thank you for being courteous with your pipes while in neighborhoods. I do know plenty of bikers who are just like that. In fact, I’d say most of the bikers I know try to keep the throttle down while in residential areas. I can respect and appreciate that.

    But when my neighbor feels the need to lay on the noise late at night while sitting in his driveway, I feel the argument breaks down. Any requests to be courteous are met with the “LPSL” line and provoke even more noise. Just to show how loud he can REALLY be.

    I understand the rationale behind loud pipes as a means of alerting other motorists of your presense. I’m not arguing against that. My truck’s horn does the same thing. But that function does not give me the right to sit in my driveway late at night and just lean on the horn. Then trying to justify it as a life saving device. It seems to me that he is using this as an argument to give him carte blanche to be as loud as he wants, whenever he wants, and wherever he wants. I think that’s the crux of the problem.

    Judging by the noise made from his bike, I can reasonably assume his pipes are illegal. I do not want to turn him in to the police, I just want to keep peace in my neighborhood. But when his actions are this obnoxious and polite requests just provoke him, what other recourse do I have? Please give advise on how I should handle this.

  22. You are absolutely right and i totally understand. My pipes are loud, and would possibly sound like they are
    illegal but meet the noise decimal for california regulations, so his pipes could or could not be legal.
    By turning him in you have lost all hope of having a mutual resolution. Only you know your neighbor and his
    mentality. Just be careful with your attitude as your mad at him so you dont want to go over with a mad on.
    I am a firm believer of truth and honesty. I would approach him when you feel its a good time for both of you
    and be completely honest. I think you will be surprised at the outcome.

  23. Cindy, I am also a firm believer in truth and honesty. And I feel that there’s a percentage of people who are not being truthful and honest about their own loud pipes. If I may bring up my neighbor again as an example:

    He has weekly displays of illegal fireworks for “religous reasons”

    He smokes weed for “medical reasons”

    He flies the confederate flag for “historical reasons”

    He blasts his loud pipes at night for “safety reasons”

    I contend he’s not being fully honest about his intentions. He’s finding justifications so he can do “whatever he damn well please!”

    Like most things, I have no problem with the responsible use of loud pipes. It’s the abuse of them that irritate me. This is a basic social issue that society has always struggled with. How do we not let the few irresponsible jerks ruin things for the responsible majority?

  24. Les I agree with you 100%. If you see read some of the safety articles that I have written in the Blog, you will see that I agree.

    I personally do all of the things that you say to do to get noticed and be safe.

    However, there are those split second times when you get into what I call “a pickle.” You are right, blasting an air horn could cause them to jerk and hit you. Then again not blasting an air horn, or having loud pipes could cause them to hit you too.

    The reason I suggested an air horn is that in modern insulated and sound proofed cars, with a radio running, and a cager on the phone, it might be the only way to get their attention! I also own a cage. There are times when I can barely hear a siren from a fire truck!

    The reason I wrote this article was because of a biker bash post I read somewhere about our loud pipes and that they don’t really save lives. In my case I think that they have on many occasions.

    I really do appreciate your input man. When it comes down to it you are right. I hereby invite you to write a guest post on the Blog if you like regarding this safety issue. Let me know if you want to do it!



  25. I hear you Rob and respect your opinion. I like to hear from all Bikers about their own experiences, and opinions, especially on safety issues.

    In my case the fact that loud pipes saved my life is a fact. I can think of numerous occasions, especially when lane splitting here in California where a car was actually moving in on my space between the lanes and revving the engine caused them to take notice and back off. In many other instances it caused them to actually move to the other side of the lane to give me more room.

    It’s 6:17am here in California right now so I am not going to articulate many of my own experiences. I have had the opposite result that you did. On loud open pipe bikes people got out of my way more so than on quiet bikes. That is just my own experience.

    I agree with you that loud noise levels piss cagers off, there is no doubt about that. But then again, it’s the cagers that are responsible for the majority of motorcycle accidents which are on the increase everyday worldwide.

    Hearsay is a statement made out of Court which is offered to prove the truth of the matter asserted. I agree with you that my post is in fact hearsay, but I would also make the statement in Court if I had too!

    You did give me a good idea for a new article; the state of motorcycle horns. On many motorcycles, the horns are flat out not loud enough to be heard in traffic!

    Robb, I also invite you like I did Les, to post a guest article on the Blog with respect to motorcycle safety. I am sure everyone would like to hear the prospective of a long time rider. I myself got on my first mini bike in 1968 and progressed from there. Shoot me an email if you are interested in posting an article to the Blog!

  26. Jeff, I am fully aware of the negative repercussions of this issue. I knew my position would be controversial, but it is my position! If you go through the Blog you will see articles about Noise ordinances, and about one private city that banned motorcycles. I was contacted by persons of that city after the article was written and I am exploring a possible lawsuit to get the ban lifted.

    I wrote this article to express my own personal opinion about this issue. I fully believe that loud pipes save lives based on my own personal experience.

    You will notice in my article that I am not advocated breaking the law, and I am telling everyone to check their local laws, and to maybe get a loud horn as an alternative.

    I do care about public perception of bikers and motorcyclist because they seek to take away our right to be free in the wind. I myself am not ruining it for anyone. I do not have that kind of power. I am currently running baffled pipes in my Harley Davidson Electra Glide.

    The purpose of my article was to express my opinion on a controversial subject. To be quite frank, I am of the opinion that the general uneducated cager community does not like us no matter what we do. That is another subject altogether.

    Next week I am going to write an article which is going to invite other Bikers to sign up as members of the Blog and submit articles to the Blog.

    No ones opinion will be censored here, except Spam submissions that come in from time to time.

    Jeff, check out Google Alerts. You should sign up for Google Alerts and put in “motorcycle safety,” and “motorcycle accidents,” as two separate alerts. You will be appalled at the number of motorcycle accidents and deaths that are occurring each day. Most of the accidents are caused by negligent cagers.

    I am not the holy grail when it comes to motorcycle safety. I am after all, just a biker and a biker lawyer. I have my opinions just like everyone else. However, when it comes to prosecuting motorcycle accident cases, or bikers rights issues, I can tell you this; I give no quarter!

    With respect to the outright banning of motorcycles by cities. Most of these laws have been overturned because they are not reasonable. There are already laws on the books with respect to the maximum decibal level of motorcycles and the modification of exhaust systems. The Courts have ruled that the cities cannot outright ban motorcycles, but they can enforce their noise laws.


  27. I hear you Old Timer. The article was about Pipes on street bikes. I would go nuts myself if a bunch of dirt bikers were racing behind my house, especaily 7 or 8 at a time.

    I am not sure where you live but I am quite sure that it is not legal to race dirt bikes in a residential neighborhood.

    Good Luck Man!


  28. Robert, I allow all opinions on here, even opinions which conflict with my own.

    You will notice that in my article I do state that it is illegal to modify the stock exhaust system on your motorcycle. I did not cite the specific Federal Law, and the new EPA act that went into effect.

    The reality is that most motorcyclist do put after market pipes on their motorcycles. I have not heard of any Federal agency stopping individual motorcyclist and charging them with violating Federal laws for modifying their stock exhaust.

    Notwithstanding Federal Laws, you do need to check your local laws because there are local and state laws and/or ordnance’s which put max DB levels on motorcycle exhaust that are separate and apart from the federal law. Furthermore, some States do require regular motorcycle inspections. It is far more likely that motorcyclist will have an encounter with State law enforcement, hence all motorcyclist need to know their individual State laws on the issue.

    With that being said, my article is based upon my own empirical observations, and discussions with numerous other motorcyclist and their empirical observations. I am not a scientist, nor do I know of any studies that would bolster my opinion. My opinion is based on my own personal experience. How alien abductions go into the mix I do not know.

    I can understand how someone could be pissed off if they could not hear each other speak in their own back yard. That is not the subject of my article. I am sure that you are pissed off because of it. Do big rig trucks drive by your house too? They are the loudest vehicles on the road.

    Based upon my own first hand experience, I stand by what I wrote in my article. Thanks for your comments.


  29. My empirical evidence is simple. It is my word saying that my loud pipes have caused cagers to visibly notice me, and to move out of my way when I am lane splitting. It has also caused cagers on cell phones to look over and see me. Because of my own observations, I can say without a doubt that the loud pipes have saved me on many occasions. I do not run open baffle pipes anymore. I now run Harley Davidson Screaming Eagle Slip-On’s which are legal, and not nearly as loud as other Pipes’s, but they do make some noise at highway speed.

    Lawyers can and do challenge many laws which they feel may be unconstitutional, or may be invalid with respect to common law. Just because a law is written does not mean it is set in stone. We challenge laws all of the time. At one point in the nation Abortions were illegal, and it was legal to discriminate against persons because of their race. It was lawyers challenging these laws that got things changed. In California a guy challenged the helmet law because it was ambiguous and won. My point is that just because a law is written, does not mean that it cannot be challenged. There are a huge amount of laws on the books in many States that are not enforced because they are either outdated, or they were meant for the 1800’s, and the legislatures never got around to repealing the laws.

    With respect to my position being un-American; that is lunacy. Being American means being free to do what you want to be able to do within the law. It also means challenging laws that may not be constitutional or properly written as stated above. America is about freedom of choice.

    The system you are talking about seems more communist to me. In communist systems, the good of the all takes precedent over the individual. In America the individual has freedom of choice.

    I am Jewish. Your Holocaust analogy was way out of line with respect to this topic. My article is based on my own personal opinion, and was meant to incite debate on the subject.

    I would not give out my home address over the Internet but I can say this. I live in the San Fernando Valley, California. We have more registered motorcycles in California than in all of the other States combined. In the San Fernando Valley the concentration of motorcycles per capita is more than in any other place in the nation. We have parades of bikers every day and on every weekend. I love the sound of motorcycles on the road. This is not the same as motocross riders racing behind my house all day.

    One thing about America and freedom is that everyone has a right to their own opinion. We can agree to disagree.


  30. You make a good argument Mike. It is always nice to see someone with an opposing viewpoint write an intelligent and concise counter argument, with good analogies!

    I do disagree with you that my reasoning is flawed. In my own experience, my loud pipes have saved me from getting hit, because the people in the cars and trucks that would have hit me, heard my pipes and knew I was there. Had I not had the loud pipes than who knows what would have happened.

    My article has nothing to do with the rights of others not to hear loud pipes, it has to do with my personal opinion that loud pipes save lives.

    I do agree that I would not want to hear chainsaws firing up in the middle of the night, etc. I also don’t like to hear trains or big rig trucks throughout the night, but I do and they are super loud. A big rig truck is very loud! We have train tracks about 1 mile from where I live, and they blast their horn every night when going by a local intersection. What can I do?

    In the end, this is about my personal opinion.

    On a personal note, my Harley has baffled pipes from the dealer called Screaming Eagles. They are probably the quietest pipes I have ever had on a motorcycle. I am installing an Air Horn real soon, to counter the fact that my bike is not currently loud!


  31. Sandie, I have heard that many motorcycle shops are not installing aftermarket pipes because they have started to get fined! It is not legal to modify a motorcycle’s stock emissions system per EPA regulations. I think the fine is 10k per bike but I am not sure.

    Now let’s say I have a Harley Davidson, and I purchase another type of exhaust from Harley Davidson that has been EPA certified, that is legal. I am sure the same goes for other manufacturers of motorcycles as well.

    If you do go to a shop, and they do install another type of after market pipe on your motorcycle, keep all receipts in your saddlebag just in case you do get stopped.


  32. Chris you have a right to your opinion. With respect to Harley bashing, the only people I really know who bash Harley’s are the people the want one but cannot afford one.

    Other than that, I disagree with your opinion. Most motorcycle horns are not loud enough to hear at all. I luckily have an air horn.


  33. Just an FYI to everyone, I am going to be writing an article soon about a major city that has banned anything but stock pipes on a motorcycle. They have basically incorporated EPA regs into a municipal ordinance. This is not good.


  34. I have seen and hear a lot people complaining about noise on Harley’s. But I do believe the loud pipe will keep riders safety, why? Because I’m deaf and I drive in my truck on freeway everyday and I could feel Harley’s vibration and pipe noise by minutes they were catching up to from behind me. I already knew there was motorcycle surrounding me before I even laid my eye on them. While couples of harley was making splitting lane during in my blind spot side of my truck I already make a way by moving my truck toward shoulder of freeway to give harley rider more room to make pasing safely. Many driver complains motorcyclist doing splitting lane and hit their side view mirrors, well in my opinion it’s not motorcyclist fault because driver try to narrows the gap between the other vehicle and motorcyclist have very tight gap to make split lane passing. Drivers, if you see or hear motorcycle. Be sure to leave enough space between your car and other car that are on your side. And everybody will be safe and no roadrage

  35. It’s irrelevant if loud pipes save lives. Don’t want to take the risk associated with riding a more vulnerable vehicle? Don’t buy one.

    I’ve had many a rider on a loud bike pass me on the highway, and it’s frequently the case that they’re not noticeable until they are actually passing me. And then, the sudden loud noise startles me, making it possible (as another commentator has already pointed out) for me to increase the risk to the biker, not reduce it.

    Splitting lanes? That’s a senseless thing to do. You shouldn’t be doing that, legal or not. Guess what? Wearing chainmail increases the chances of surviving a bear attack. Does that mean you should go in the woods and chase baby bears?

    You have no right to operate a vehicle that is a nuisance to other people. This is not open for debate. You have no right to hurt other people’s ears, to interrupt their conversations, to wake them and their family up, to make them tired all the time because you interrupt their sleep, to startle them, or to even make them notice you when you ride in the vicinity of their property and you’re the last thing they’re interested in. Wanting to operate a vehicle that is highly vulnerable does not magically confer these rights upon you.

    Even if loud pipes actually did increase your safety, you still wouldn’t have the right to use them. There are many examples of things you could do to increase your safety, at the expense of other people. But you don’t automatically have a right to do whatever happens to benefit you. Why is this idea so difficult for bikers to accept?

    I’m so tired of hearing the “loud pipes save lives” lie. If you really cared about your safety, you wouldn’t be on a bike in the first place. But if you did care about safety and still chose to be on a bike, you’d wear bright colors, which have been proven to make bikers more noticeable and to actually save lives. You’d also wear a proper helmet. Funny how I see literally NO loud pipe bikers wearing a helmet when I am in the states that don’t require them.

    And, quite obviously, if you actually cared about safety, you wouldn’t dangerously squeeze between moving vehicles at high speed.

    Yeah, you’re so worried about safety that you think loud pipes will do it all, right? It’s a magic elixir that makes every other stupid choice you make irrelevant, right? Forget the safer vehicle, forget the safety gear and principles, forget safe riding, just make it extremely loud and hop on.

  36. I do a lot of riding out in the mountain areas of BC, after riding many years with quite bikes I bought a Harley with stock pipes. I noticed an immediate difference in close encounters with deer. I went from 2 to 3 close calls, to 1 every couple of years.

    I’ve wrote about this topic in the past.

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