LETTER: Loud motorcycles not about safety

Ruth Meyers claims that loud pipes make motorcycles safer. I have heard this justification before and assumed it was a joke.

Re: “Loud pipes make motorcycling safer”

Ruth Meyers claims that loud pipes make motorcycles safer. I have heard this justification before and assumed it was a joke. Clearly I was wrong.

I have owned and enjoyed a wide variety of motorcycles since the 1960s.

Ms. Meyers recounts an experience which she feels validates her “loud is safe” theory. I will recount one of mine. My wife and I were on a ride last summer, cruising down open highway when an idiot on a Harley ripped past us at full throttle. In spite of my failing hearing, a helmet and wind noise, the sound from that bike was so deafening it seemed like a physical blow to the head.

Imagine that someone sneaks up behind you and fires a starter’s pistol beside your ear. The shock is painful and disorienting. It is physical assault. It fills you with anger and then aggression. That is how I felt and if I was as reckless as he (or she) I would have matched the 130 km/h and followed this criminal to a place where I could get a license number and vent and lodge a complaint.

Now perhaps this idiot actually is safer when riding with straight pipes, but what about the other 99 per cent of humanity? And what about the anger directed against all motorcyclists as a result of the loud and reckless few?

There is growing and justifiable resentment against loud motorcycles. The issue is certainly not safety. The issue is about having respect for others. Society is reaching its limit on this particular type of immature behaviour and hopefully other “screw the rest of you” behaviours as well.

Rob McArthur, Nelson

 

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