For a long time conventional wisdom has stated that the louder the exhaust pipes on a motorcycle, the safer the rider will be. If a motorcyclist is seen, he or she is safe, the logic goes. But, there are those who disagree.
Ask any rider who has been injured in a motorcycle crash, and they will tell you that anything that increases a rider’s visibility is worth it. But others questions whether loud pipes, especially after-market pipes add to the rider’s safety or simply give motorcyclists an unfair negative image. If you have questions about motorcycle safety, be sure to download a copy of the book KC Biker Bible. The KC Biker Bible is a free guide for Kansas City bikers, provided as a service from Kansas City Accident Injury Attorneys.
In fact, in one blogger’s opinion, that loud pipes mean safer riders is a bit of a false sense of security. The blogger cites the accident statistics from the infamous Hurt Report, which is considered the main source of information for motorcycle accident statistics. In the report, less than five percent of motorcycle accidents occurred when the biker was hit from behind. Loud pipes are heard mainly by those who are behind them, the blogger contends.
In 2010 California passed Senate Bill 435 that required all motorcycles manufactured after January 1, 2013 and all aftermarket exhaust systems made after the same date show an EPA compliant label. Riders who are found without the proper labeling displayed after that date will face a fine of $100 for a first time offense. Repeat offenders will be fined more. The EPA sound emissions label must be visible to law enforcement if the rider is pulled over.
Since 1986 the Environmental Protection Agency has stipulated that motorcycle exhaust systems be no louder than 80 Decibels. Some organizations like the American Motorcycle Association (AMA) supports noise limiting legislation.
Instead of relying on loud pipes, some bikers suggest relying on motorcycle safety tips. These tips include obeying all traffic laws, avoiding excessive speeds, riding with proper safety gear, and keeping clear of other driver’s blind spots.