LETTER: Loud pipes make motorcycling safer

Many vehicle drivers don’t take the time and effort to be aware of motorcycles around them.

Re: “Kootenay motorcycle noise: ‘The summer was ruined’”

I am writing in response to Art Mason whose opinions were featured in the Nelson Star and Gloria Lisgo whose opinions were featured in the Valley Voice. Gloria Lisgo began a petition that obtained 4,300 signatures objecting to motorcycles with loud pipes, of which 14 per cent are from tourists. I feel tourists have no standing in this issue as they travel through the Kootenays, do not live here and really are not affected.

Quoting one person’s comment on the Nelson Star article, “most bikes going down the road have read articles in magazines such as Cycle Canada. These people come from all over and they aren’t going to change their pipes for one road.” If a law was created and enforced like these two people want, then the Kootenays would lose a valuable asset. Motorcycle enthusiasts would stop coming to the Kootenays.

Ms. Lisgo stated “many motorcyclists pass through without stopping.” This is untrue as many enjoy stopping at the local coffee shops, restaurants and pubs for a bite to eat and a drink to drink. They stop and fuel up at thelocal gas stations. They stop at local shops to purchase souvenirs and gifts for friends and family. They stay in local motels and campgrounds. There is no difference between the “tourists” who drive through the Kootenays and motorcycle enthusiasts who ride through the Kootenays. The Kootenays are a favourite area to ride due to the twisty corners, beautiful scenery and mainly friendly people.

Gloria Lisgo was quoted in the Valley Voice as saying “excessive noise can affect physical, emotional and mental health” and “summer was ruined, as motorcycle pipes are noisy and people can not talk and can barely think.” My question to her is why did she purchase property close to the highway? Did she not take into consideration the traffic noise? Traffic noise encompasses all traffic, not just motorcycles.

Semi trucks and logging trucks can be quite loud and annoying, especially their jake brakes. Why single out motorcycles? Why not make and enforce a law against all vehicles including semis, logging trucks and other vehicles with loud pipes? To single out motorcycles is a form of discrimination. Motorcycles have just as much right to be on the roads as cars and trucks, both large and small. If you live close to a highway you should be aware of all the traffic noise and find a solution that does not include limiting the sound made by motorcycles.

I support loud pipes on motorcycles. I ride an American-made motorcycle. My pipes are loud and have a unique sound. That sound has saved me from being hit by a car that was going to change lanes right into me. The driver didn’t see me as she didn’t shoulder check before the lane change. I down shifted in anticipation of her lane change, something I was taught in my motorcycle safety course. This burst of noise got the driver’s attention and she pulled back into her lane, thus avoiding colliding with me and my motorcycle.

Loud pipes do save lives. Many vehicle drivers don’t take the time and effort to be aware of motorcycles around them. Motorcycles are not as large as a car or truck and can easily be overlooked. The sound of a motorcycle’s pipes makes a driver aware that there is a motorcycle around them. Loud pipes make it safer for motorcycle enthusiasts.

Ruth Meyers, Meadow Creek

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