About three years ago, when Canadian cities first started to roll out loud pipe bans, I wasn’t terribly happy about it. Back then, a lot of people pointed out that the laws were discriminatory against motorcyclists, and I had a problem with that.
But not anymore. I’d hoped that after the initial uproar, motorcyclists across the country would get the message and tone their act down a bit, but that hasn’t been the case.
Increasingly, more and more riders (almost always cruiser jockeys, trying to be the next Sons of Anarchy guest star) seem to be coming to the conclusion that their exhaust just isn’t loud enough, and are modifying their mufflers to the point of public outrage.
Let me be clear: I have nothing against loud pipes, as long as you keep them on a race track, where they don’t bother the general populace. I don’t have anything against aftermarket mufflers either, as long as they’re not so loud they actually disturb the peace.
I’ve got a somewhat loud exhaust on my DR650 courtesy of an aftermarket FMF can. I went with the FMF because it was the quietest aftermarket exhaust I could find at the time, but I’m not out there labouring under the impression that if I twist the throttle while waiting at an intersection, I’m saving lives.
It seems lots of other riders are under this impression, though. Take, for instance, the numbskull that Editor ‘Arris and I saw while eating at an outdoor cafe in Wolfville on our spring tour. It was a nice night, and the local riders were out. Great.
Except, this one guy didn’t seem to get the idea of riding. His idea of a ride, apparently, was to slowly cruise up and down the main drag, clutch in, rhythmically blipping his throttle so he could show off his loud pipes. Were it true that loud pipes saved lives, the motorcyclist mortality rate at the local hospital would have dropped to zero that month.
But that’s just one instance, you say – why pick on all loud-pipers because of that?
Fact is, that’s just one more ludicrous example, but these twits are everywhere. I live on the main street in a quiet town on the St. John River. It was quiet, that is, until this summer. At 6:45 every sunny morning (never in the rain!), a local cruiser rider thundered by. If I was lucky enough to sleep in, it woke me and my pregnant wife up every single time.
Of course, you never actually heard this guy until he was well past the house. If someone had been in the danger zone, about to pull out in front of him, they would have done so, regardless of his sound output. So much for loud pipes saving lives.
But if there is any merit in the saving lives argument why does the type that espouses this nonsense then don a beanie helmet, a jacket without proper armour (or no jacket at all), jeans instead of rash-resistant riding pants, and straddle an overweight, under-braked behemoth?
At the rate these Neanderthals are going, motorcycles are going to be hassled at every turn. Maybe we’ll see a nationwide trend to ban motorcycles from urban centres, as has already happened in some towns in Quebec. Sadly, once we’ve all had our motorcycles taken away by pissed-off citizenry (and who can blame them?), we might actually see a few lives saved.
The responsibility to stop this madness lies with all of us. Personally, I’ve ordered a Quiet Core insert for my FMF exhaust. It’s possible I may lose half a horsepower in the process, but the fact that I won’t remotely be part of the problem anymore will make it worth it. I’ll leave the life saving to defensive riding and the right riding gear.
Disagree? Is your exhaust saving more lives than the Red Cross and the War on Drugs combined? Let us know in the comments section.