Children are better seen but not heard, they used to say – but that rule won’t apply to motorcycle cops in Oakland, Cal.
In order to improve the conspicuity of motorcycle police there, the police department has replaced the stock mufflers on their fleet of 45 Harley-Davidsons with louder pipes.
This follows an accident three months ago in which an Oakland police rider was hit by a vehicle whose driver said he had not heard the motorcycle coming.
The department sent 30 of their bikes down to the maintenance shed for installation of louder pipes at a cost of $15,000, and ordered 15 new bikes with louder pipes as well.
In the past, Oakland motorcycle police were known as “Rolling Thunder” for their practice of riding motorcycles with loud pipes, but after some complaints, the force had switched to the quieter mufflers. That, however, produced more complaints, from officers who firmly believe that loud pipes save cops. A study was done, and the decision was made to go loud and proud.
Coming in at 93 decibels, the new mufflers are technically illegal – but of course, it’s cops who are riding them, so little things like federal laws don’t really count.