Do Loud Pipes Actually Save Lives?


Do Loud Pipes Actually Save Lives?

A certain faction of the motorcycling community is of the belief that 'Loud Pipes Saves Lives'.
What they believe is that by having loud exhaust pipes, riders' lives will be saved as they can be heard from a long distance away, thus avoiding a potential accident.

The logic behind the notion does make sense on the surface of it, but when you employ some thought to it, all sorts of contradictions appear.

The problem with loud pipes is that it tends to create noise pollution which irritates people who do not agree with what some must consider as that sweet braaap, braaap sound...

For those who insist that loud exhausts are a life-saving measure, perhaps these quick facts will change your mind.


Light travels faster than sound

Before getting all science-y on this matter, the plain simple truth is that vision will come before sound. What this means is that on the road, you will almost certainly see a bike first before hearing it. So why not amp up your bike's appearance instead of the sound, it'll definitely get you noticed faster. As an example, you would see lightning before you hear it or you would see a Moto GP bike before you hear it.

2 into 1 exhaust

Sound follows one direction depending on where it is pointed

Since all motorcycle exhausts are rear-facing, your loud pipe will only be heard by motorists at the rear of your bike instead of the front. 77 percent of hazards come in front of a biker, so to make the claim that loud pipes saves lives, you'd need a front-facing exhaust.

Noise cancellation in a car

Cars are heavily insulated from noise these days

Cars are becoming more and more efficient at filtering noise outside of the cabin, so if you think you are being heard by having a loud pipe, think again. This is especially so for cars that come with noise cancellation technology which makes the cabin well insulated from outside sounds.

Motorcycle auxiliary lights

Upgrading your lights and horn is a better safety measure 

By installing auxiliary lights and better horns you'd definitely stand a chance to be noticed better. Since horns are pointed forwards, a car will definitely hear that beep beep or honk honk more than the rumble of your loud pipe. Correctly calibrated auxiliary lights like daytime running lights will also make you more visible on the road.

Motorcycle school

Better riding skills will save your skin more than loud pipes

In the slim chance that loud pipes do draw some attention, they are still completely useless without proper riding skills. Invest some time and effort in improving your emergency braking skills, perception skills not to mention good riding etiquette. Advanced riding courses such as ones from The School of Knee Down and Malaysian Rider's Riding Academy could help you gain some invaluable life-saving skills.

Ducati V4

Now, we're not totally against a sweet-sounding exhaust system, because who doesn't love the sound of a Ducati V4 or Harley V-Twin, but a fine balance must be achieved here so that we can continue to enjoy the sweet wail they emit.

But that's our take on it, what about motorcyclists, what do they think? 

According to Jeya Thevan, Aprilia Malaysia spokesperson, he too gets annoyed with extremely loud pipes as it brings the wrong kind of attention to motorcycles. "This recent clampdown on loud motorcycle exhaust systems has really taken the joy out of riding a motorcycle. Some motorcycles are homologated with slightly beefier sounding exhausts, but because of these aftermarket 'cap ayam' exhaust systems which make blaring noises, all bikes are under scrutiny even if their exhaust is legal. I too like a good-sounding bike, so it's a shame really this is happening."

Jeya Thevan, Aprilia Malaysia spokesperson

You've read Adam's insights, and you've also heard from Jeya, who rides every day and takes part in track days too. They both echo similar sentiments. In the end, it's up to us to find that balance between that rumble we've all come to love vs being a public nuisance. We'd also like to ask the authorities to be fair and transparent when checking the sound limit of exhausts for cars or motorcycles, adhering to the prescribed standard. 







Adam Aubrey

Adam Aubrey

Content Producer

Wants to live the simple life, especially when it comes to cars and bikes. That's what tech is for he reckons, to make motoring simpler