close up of a motorcycle tire and exhaust

Fact or Fiction: Loud Pipes Save Lives

Are Louder Bikes Better?

When you first start learning to ride a motorcycle, you may hear a common safety tip that "loud pipes save lives." This notion exists with the expectation that the louder the bike is, the more alert automobile drivers will be when traveling near riders since they will be able to hear them sooner. Although this phrase has lived on for decades, research indicates that it may not be entirely truthful.

Why It’s Likely Fiction

Throughout the numerous international studies that have analyzed this concept, they all seem to conclude one thing: how loud your bike is does not affect accident risk. This is primarily due to the fact that exhausts are on the back of motorcycles—meaning that sound travels backwards to the vehicles behind you rather than forwards to those you are approaching. Furthermore, a study in Romania found that, in most cases, passengers in cars cannot hear a motorcycle until it is closer than 33 feet behind or right next to them for this reason.

Another study in France concluded that nearly one-third of motorcycle accidents occur in traffic or other built up areas. These scenarios are often associated with heavy noise congestion, meaning that even the loudest pipes could be drowned out by other vehicles.

Alternatives to Loud Pipes for Visibility

Although loud pipes may not be your biggest safeguard on the road, there are several other steps you can take to increase visibility to others, including:

  • Wear brightly colored gear.
  • Use reflective tape on your bike.
  • Avoid lingering in another vehicle's blind spot.
  • Swap out your headlights for LEDs.
  • Use the horn when necessary.

St. Augustine Motorcycle Accident Attorneys

Our team has seen the implications of motorcycle accidents across Florida and are committed to ensuring our clients receive the justice they deserve. With over 250 successful jury trials to our name, Canan Law can help you through even the toughest situations. Schedule a free consultation today by calling (904) 849-2266.


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