Motorbike noise a safety feature—red herring

Just a bit to add to what shouldn’t be a debate concerning loud pipes and safety as pertains to motorcycles.

To the editor:

Subject: Letter to editor—Many Will Say Noise A Safety Valve, July 1 Capital News.

Just a bit to add to what shouldn’t be a debate concerning loud pipes and safety as pertains to motorcycles.

It’s a fallacy. The research that has been done on this subject is conclusive and the facts remain the same, no matter how some would like to believe otherwise. The vast majority of street motorcycle accidents  involve issues ahead of the motorcycle. Loud exhaust emits its decibels to the rear.

If the “loud pipes save lives” mantra held any water at all, street bikes would all have extra loud pipes from the factory and said pipes would face the front of the bike.

Plus, of course, the often overlooked fact that people in cars and trucks in this valley during riding season tend to have their windows rolled up, the A/C on, along with the stereo and are not going to hear a thing outside.

The very first thing that comes out of the mouth of car drivers who have (for instance) just killed or injured a motorcyclist after turning left in front of the bike is “I just didn’t see him/her.”

Want to hedge your bets on the street? Bright colours, lot’s of daytime lights, the best helmet you can afford, a really loud horn (that faces front) and a very strong survival instinct. Having a beanie helmet with a “Loud Pipes Save Lives” sticker doesn’t help the argument.

The news that Kelowna city council is finally taking years of complaints seriously is a good thing but, as was pointed out by another reader, laws on the books will mean nothing without the testing and training to make them hold up in court.

Obviously there are many more vehicles on the road and on the water that have their exhaust systems intentionally altered to be simply loud and these vehicles and their owners need the same attention given to them as loud motorcycles and their owners. I’ve mentioned motorcycles because I’ve ridden on the street for 40+ years, so am familiar with the issues.

I’ve heard all the arguments I care to hear about safety and noise. Having a heated conversation on “rights” and “freedom” is always so one-sided. It’s all about their rights and freedoms, not the general public.

What about the public’s right to peace and quiet? Why should the public put up with excessive noise anymore than they would put up with having tobacco smoke blown in their face from inconsiderate smokers?





Pete Watson,

West Kelowna


Kelowna Capital News