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Loud Pipes Are for Douchebags

Updated: Feb 6

Article submitted by Abigail Harper

Nothing beats coming into your local motorcycle Facebook group and writing something along the lines of ‘Loud pipes makes you a douche'. These ‘tough,’ ‘nothing offends me,’ motorcycle guys suddenly start looking up your profile for ammunition to strike back. Mike, who rides a yellow Ultra Glide tricycle, for fuck sake, 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 lives, 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, not just because high visibility is more functional at keeping you alive than those pesky pipes. Loud pipes and high-vis are 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, you must be aware of your surroundings and, most importantly, 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 yellow works so well because it is the first colour your brain picks up. At night, your lights should be on. If possible, add extra lights in the back to help drivers see you at a distance. Keep out of blind spots by moving rapidly ahead or behind these areas.


As a driver or a ‘cager,’ I should be able to predict what you are going to do next. What you will do next should not be a guessing game by the driver 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 GPS.

By just utilizing loud pipes as your lifeline, you are putting your safety at the hands of that idiot who is rushing to get to church on time on Sunday morning. This passive technique can even land you quite a 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 me). It is not that I don't like loud pipes; I do! But I like them for the sound they make, and 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. Do you disagree with me? Comment below. If you have an opinion piece, email us at

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A teensy but harsh, labelling all loud Pipers as douches, but other than that, I love this article!!


dot me
dot me
May 17, 2021

Here is a direct contour to your writing and thinking which should be considered if you want to truly be one with the greater motorcycling good. First off, there is no such thing as a "loud pipe", period. Think about it. No set or one off device hanging on a wall, can be held in hand and determined for it's quality of sound deadening characteristics alone, to be applicable to common sense or regulation. A piece of cold rolled hard steel, or exotic mesh of composite material makes no sound at all, without the motorcycle it was designed to fit. Don't agree, read the U.S. Code of Federal regulations 205 part D&E, or hold up a muffler inlet …


dot me
dot me
May 01, 2021

Preferred human movement on a public way falls by volunteering to comply to applicable regulations under penalty of law. There is no forcing of compliance, other then a railroad crossing gate creating a physical barrier. The greatest single source of unwanted public way nuisance is the direct by-product of exceeding the posted speed limit, not the decrease in personal safety, but the excessive sound energy traveling into ear canals of innocent humans by each logarithmic scale over the mph. Noise control advocates ironically are equal offenders, and think little about their own illicit by-products while operating a speeding standard vehicle, often scheming to wipe out traffic types they despise, for biased and prejudicial reasons. Effective enforcement methods of publi…


John Tiny Robinson
John Tiny Robinson
Feb 06, 2020

People have BEEPERS on cars and trucks for reverse so people HEAR and SEE YOU backing up said vehicle, Cause you might not see that TRACTOR TRAILER backing up..Its the same principle ! If people can miss seeing a big ass TRUCK, people on a bike dont stand a chance. USE SOME LOGIC !!!

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