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Do loud pipes save lives? Or is that just a myth?

On Behalf of | Jun 16, 2024 | Motor Vehicle Accidents |

Motorcyclists hear the maxim “loud pipes save lives” all the time, but is there any truth to the saying? The idea is that motorcyclists with loud, rumbling exhaust systems are safer than those without one – because their noisy pipes alert motorists in passenger vehicles to their presence in blind spots or beside them.

Unfortunately, that’s just another myth that gets passed from one generation to the next, without any basis in reality.

Maybe it was true many years ago, but not today

Air conditioning being “standard” in modern vehicles is a relatively new phenomenon. While you could get A/C in a high-end vehicle in the late 1950s and early 1960s, air conditioning didn’t start to approach a standard feature until the 1970s. That means all the way up through the 1990s, there were a lot of older-model calls on the road that didn’t have it.

Drivers in vehicles without A/C put their windows down in warm weather. That may have made it possible for them to hear motorcycles rapidly approaching or riding in their blind spots.

Today, however, research indicates that cars with their windows rolled up are remarkably soundproof. Research indicates that even when sitting right next to a motor vehicle, one out of three motorcycles with exhaust noise between 80 and 110 decibels (which is certainly loud) still cannot be heard. 

Loud pipes won’t keep you safe if you’re a motorcyclist, so focus instead on defensive driving and other precautions. If you are in a wreck, find out more about your right to compensation for your losses.