• It’s not always an effort to show off to the neighbors.
I’m sure everyone has had their evening television show or quiet family dinner interrupted by an obnoxious, loud motorcycle driving down their street at some point in their lives. Most people’s first instinct is to think to themselves “Why do they feel the need to show off?” and possibly even follow up that thought with a call to their local police department.
It’s true that most cities have ordinances in place to prevent such loud disturbances, and most motorcycle riders can even be ticketed for choosing to equip their motorcycles with louder exhaust pipes. And while most of these city ordinances were created with the quality of life of their citizens in mind, I also believe they were drafted on the false premise that there is no necessary reason to have a loud exhaust pipe on a motorcycle.
According to several sources, 15 percent of all vehicle fatalities in Texas involve motorcyclists. Many of these crashes were caused by the simple fact that the motorcyclist was not seen. Vehicles today have many blind spots, and there are several videos online that demonstrate that even with high-visibility gear, how easy it is to miss a motorcycle on the road. That doesn’t even include all of the distractions that keep driver’s eyes off the road such as cell phones, other passengers, etc.
As a rider myself, I understand that every time I turn the key over, I am assuming a certain amount of risk. But, that doesn’t mean I won’t take the opportunity to minimize that risk in any way that I can.
What I have learned throughout this summer since getting my motorcycle endorsement is this: No matter how alert you are, no matter how much safety gear you wear- you can’t control the eyeballs embedded in another person’s head. I can’t tell you how many times I have had to make risky maneuvers to avoid vehicles that didn’t see me on the road, even right here in little Pampa, Texas.
So, I had my mini bike fitted with much louder exhaust pipes. Even if a person can’t see me coming- there is zero excuse to not hear me coming. As a rider, having that extra bit of protection gives me more confidence on the road. I’ve not had to dip or dive into the shoulder of the road to avoid other vehicles that didn’t see me coming.
Yes, I will get dirty looks riding in some residential areas. But I don’t intentionally rev my engine either (unless of course I have a little kid waving at me to acknowledge). And who knows, I may even get a ticket one day.
But one thing is certain; you can’t put a price on the safety my louder exhaust pipe provides. I’m not sure I would remove it, even if I was ticketed- which is why I decided I would share my thoughts with our readers of The Pampa News. I’m sure there are many other riders who feel the same as I do.
So next time you hear that loud motorcycle coming down your street, please consider that we aren’t all out to have a good time at your expense. We are all just trying to make it home to our families so that we can enjoy our evening television shows as well.
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