Do Louder Motorcycles Increase Safety? 

May 23, 2023 | Motorcycle Accidents

Motorcyclists on the roadway, especially when it comes to ensuring safety. Motorcycles are much smaller than traditional passenger vehicles, so when a collision occurs, it can lead to significant injuries for those operating the motorcycle. One notion that has persisted is that louder exhaust pipes are safer for motorcyclists. However, that is not the case. Here, we want to discuss this popular notion and discuss why louder tailpipes could actually be a safety concern.

Louder Tail Pipes – Safe or Not?

Motorcycles are smaller than traditional passenger vehicles and harder to see on the roadway. Motorcycles fit easily into the blind spots of most vehicles on the roadway, so individuals are always looking for ways to increase motorcyclist safety.

The myth about louder tailpipes revolves around the notion that louder exhaust pipes will save lives because they ensure other motorists on the roadway know that the motorcycle is there. In fact, you may have even heard the saying that “loud pipes save lives.”

The reality is that this is not true – louder tailpipes do not save lives. Many motorcycle accidents occur when tailpipes are facing away from the vehicles that strike them. In fact, the only time loud tailpipes would really make much of a difference as if the motorcyclist is in front of the motorist, which means this would work to prevent a rear-end collision. But drivers should already have a visual of the motorcyclist in those situations.

Additionally, the vast majority of vehicles on the roadway are driven with their windows up and at least some type of noise inside the vehicle. This can include music on the radio, a Spotify playlist, a podcast, or simply someone else in the vehicle talking. Often, if a tailpipe is loud enough for a motorist to hear, then the motorist likely already knows that the motorcyclist is there.

Anecdotally, many readers of this article will probably say, “But a loud tailpipe helped me one time.” There will always be an exception, and the reason myths stay so popular is that there is often an ounce of truth behind them. There are times when a motorist may simply not see a motorcyclist and only be alerted to them due to the noise, but these times are rare.

Defensive Driving is the Best Way to Remain Safe

The best way for a motorcyclist to remain safe on Texas roadways is to practice defensive driving. Motorcyclists need to assume that a motorist does not see them unless they actually make eye contact with them or otherwise acknowledge that they are there. Motorcyclists should be seen, not necessarily heard, which includes staying out of motorists’ blind spots when possible.

Motorcyclists should wear some type of reflective gear on their bikes or clothing, and they need to take extra steps to remain visible at night. It is true that motorists often disregard motorcyclist safety, and that is a major problem. During the most recent reporting year of data on file, the Texas Department of Transportation says that there were 521 total motorcyclist fatalities and more than 2,300 total suspected serious injuries caused by motorcycle accidents.

If you or somebody you care about has been injured in a motorcycle accident caused by the negligent actions of another driver, we encourage you to reach out to a skilled Austin motorcycle accident lawyer who can help you through the entire process of recovering the compensation you need.