One of the greatest risks for a motorcyclist is an inattentive driver. Many accidents happen because someone turns in front of a bike, merges into the side of the bike or cuts the motorcyclist off — all because they never saw them to start with.
A common way that some bikers try to mitigate this risk is by riding loud motorcycles. There’s an old saying that “loud pipes save lives.” The hope is that a driver who isn’t looking or isn’t paying attention will at least hear a motorcycle coming, bringing their attention back to the road. But does this work?
Studies show that noisy pipes don’t attract the attention of other drivers
Many people still believe in this motto, but it is a myth. It’s even been tested. In one study, researchers found that no one in a car could hear a motorcycle that was 50 or more feet from the car. It took until 33 feet to hear anything, and even then they could “barely” hear the loudest bikes in the study.
In short, most people don’t hear motorcycles until they’re right next to them anyway, by which time it’s too late. There is no advance warning from riding a loud bike. This may not always have been true. A modern car is optimized for occupant comfort, though. Cabins are insulated and quiet. Car companies run commercials advertising this as a perk. Throw in some noise from the radio, and your average driver won’t ever hear a motorcycle.
What does this mean for you?
For you, as a rider, this means you can’t always trust that drivers will see you. They are still going to make the same mistakes due to distraction and inattention. Just be sure you know how to seek compensation when they do. An attorney can protect your interests as you pursue what you need to pay your bills.