The idea is that as much as motorcycles are invisible to other drivers, the problem can be mitigated by utilizing the auditory senses and announcing a cyclist’s presence with authority. Even if they can’t see you, they’ll know you’re there.
I heard people talk of it on both sides of the issue, arguing about the effectiveness of the loud pipes and whether or not amplified exhaust overcomes tight cockpits, loud music, and driver indifference (or idiocy). I’ll admit, I haven’t looked up any citied studies and rely on my own opinion.
I have no doubt that making noise over being unheard makes a difference in some instances, maybe even more than not. But it’s not full-proof. The size of a motorcycle is the biggest issue. The ease that motorcycles can move in and out of lanes, accelerate and decelerate to new positions almost instantly, and the ability to blend into background images; is just too much to be “fixed” by simply being a noise ordinance violation.
With the age of self-driving cars around the corner, I’d bet the development of anticipatory software and computer reactions will have more of a difference than Vance and Hines. Anticipation and reaction are what we riders say saves us daily, right? The new “Anti-Crash” (my word) devices developed by Ducati will also give riders more options in avoidance as well.
The new battle cry may not be as macho: “MOTORCYCLE COMPENSATING COMPUTERS SAVES LIVES!”
Honda Gold Wings are not known for loud pipes but they can be gaudy. One version of the Gold Wing in particular comes in bright, bright yellow. On the back of one such motorcycle, the rider had placed a bumper sticker that is just as valid as any argument defending loud pipes. It read:
LOUD PAINT SAVES LIVES.
Leave it to a Gold Winger to cloud the issue.