Updated: Feb 8
Article submitted by Abigail Harper
Nothing beats coming into your local motorcycle Facebook group and writing something along the lines as ‘Loud pipes makes you a douche'. These ‘tough’, ‘nothing offends me,’ motorcycle guys, all of a sudden, start looking up your profile for ammunition to strike back. Mike, who rides a yellow Ultra Glide tricycle, for fuck sakes, writes, ‘this comes from an idiot riding a BMW’ or Joey whose profile I didn’t bother checking writes ’your a douche.’ I would also be willing to bet that some other Facebook motorcycle safety specialists may quote word-by-word the following ’loud pipes save life your moron.’ Try it one day; it is much fun!
Here is the theory behind loud pipes saving lives. It makes drivers aware of your presence by a roaring engine. Ironically enough, the same riders that make this claim would not be caught dead wearing hi-vis gear of any kind, and not just because high visibility is more functional at keeping you alive than those pesky pipes. Loud pipes and high-vis is part of what the annoying cyclist community likes to call MVPC (Most Valuable Person is the ‘Moto’ Cyclist). It’s a simple acronym that keeps you safe on your way to work or across the continent.
As a motorcyclist, is it your responsibility to be aware of your surroundings and, most importantly, to maintain at least two escape routes at all times. If you are riding with your escape routes in mind, much of your risk is minimized. Car cuts you off, bam! You move to your escape route, and you are safe. Most incidents happen at intersections, slow down, look at what’s going on at the intersection and then move across it with care and with an escape route in mind.
We talked about our beautiful high-Vis yellows, the reason why the yellow works so well is because it is the first colour that your brain picks up. At night your lights should be on. If possible, you should add extra lights in the back that help drivers see you at a distance. Try and keep out of blind spots by actively moving ahead or behind these areas rapidly.
As a driver or a ‘cager,’ I should be able to predict what you are going to do next. What you are going to do next should not be a guessing game by the driver that is behind you. I am talking about destination positioning, signalling, not swerving lanes, braking with time, and riding with confidence is all part of the process.
signalling your lane changes, following the rules of the road and, yes, loud pipes come into this territory too. But I don’t think you are giving the right communication to drivers who are distracted by their loud music, children, and GPSs.
By just utilizing loud pipes as your lifeline, you are putting your safety at the hands of that idiot that is rushing to get to church on time on Sunday morning. It is a passive technique that can even land you into a quite hefty traffic ticket. As to those Facebook experts, if you are not riding with MVPC in mind, go fuck yourself. Your loud pipes are a nuisance, they don’t make you look cool, and nobody likes them (except for me). It is not that I don't like loud pipes, I do! But I like them for the sound they make, I don't go around pretending that they are for safety.
Use care when driving; take a course. I am no specialist in safe motorcycling. Take this article with a grain of salt. These are the comments of the writer and not of OTOMOTO Toronto Moto. Disagree with me? Comment below. Have an opinion piece, email us email@example.com