Friday, November 30, 2007

Loud pipes....again?

Once more I had someone stand in front of me and make the tired old claim of how loud pipes save lives. What is it with these people? In this case, inspiration hit me and I was able to make a reply I'd never thought of before. I think it was the fever. Back to that in a minute.

Ok, I'm guilty, I confess! I've severely neglected this blog. I had an excuse over the long Thanksgiving weekend. This week has been one for the books. I won't waste your time with all the gory details but here's a couple of interesting highlights.

Tuesday was supposed to be spent watching some folks bring a manufactured home onto my mother's property. She has two acres out in North Albany. Grandma just turned 88. Long story short, due to circumstances, we applied for a hardship permit to put this home on some existing property with the intention of having Grandma live there. She's closer to us than in her old home. I offered to have her move in with me but she wants her own abode, still. There was some delays in the permit process. So here we are, end of November, in rain soaked ground.

This is a 15 x 52 foot unit. Sounds easy to hook the crawler onto it and bring it down the sloping driveway. A man from the dealer came and inspected the drive. He proclaimed it wide enough. Then came reality. I spent time playing logger with a Mac chain saw. Yep, all the trees and big bushes lining the drive needed serious pruning. It was a bad day. The end of Tuesday saw the home mired up to its axles in mud. That's how it spent the night. Let me say right here that my mother hired a contractor to prepare a pad for the manufactured home. I had nothing to do with this! Although I should have.

Back at it early Wednesday morning. Interestingly, the job had somehow gotten turned over to the old timers. The guy who showed up to supervise is a white haired man with 40 years experience. Instead of the younger man who handled the crawler, his step father showed up. Between the two of them and their crews, they had the situation corrected and the trailer in place by 1 PM. Experience will tell!

Like I say, I was initially there to watch. I ended up actively involved and down in the mud. As the stress and frustration built on Tuesday I played the role of peacekeeper. Language got a little rough and I had to remind them to watch it in front of the ladies. The finger pointing started between the set up crew and the contractor. I stepped in and made it clear that I was the customer and they had better get on the same page to make it happen for me. Tuesday was ugly.

I made up for my hard guy attitude on Wednesday by keeping them supplied with hot coffee and donuts. It was in the upper thirties all morning. Pretty darn cold and they spent a lot of time in the mud. Sorry there's no pictures but I took video, not still pictures.

When I left on Wednesday afternoon I was chilled to the bone. Turns out that whatever evil sickness bug that had been attacking me took full possession. When I went to bed Wednesday night, Katie said she was sure if she wet her finger and put it on my skin it would sizzle. Most of Thursday was spent in a fevered blur.

It was one of the set up crew that made the statement about loud pipes on Wednesday. Stereotypes aren't a good thing but this guy looked like a "biker". Somehow the conversation came around to motorcycles. How does that always happen around me? I mentioned being an instructor and this guy told me he didn't believe in training. His loud pipes were enough to keep him safe from other drivers. Here's the gist of my reply. I've put it into general terms. Have you all ever thought about this particular inconsistency?

I've always said that people just use this for an excuse to be rude. Somehow the statement of pipes savings lives is supposed to make their own desperate need for attention honorable and justified. Follow along with me on this and then tell me if you agree or not.

If a person makes a statement that loud pipes save lives you would presume that this is a safety conscious rider, right?

My question is why the rest of their riding doesn't reflect the same philosophy. If they're concerned about being "safer" why do they usually have minimal or no gear? Why do they bar-hop on their bikes? You'd think they'd be lining up to take training targeted at experienced riders. Yet I see extremely few of them come through any of the courses I teach. And I'm involved in the majority of the advanced training. Would a rider who's really concerned about the preservation of their own life and limb rely solely on one tactic? That of making a lot of noise?

It's a huge inconsistency, in my opinion. What do you think?

Miles and smiles,


P.S. I'm teaching the last class of our training season this weekend. What kind of folks are these who are taking a motorcycle class in December when we have a chance of snow? Look for a class report the first of the week!


Krysta in MKE said...

Whoa! The comments setup changed... No more linking to our own pages.

I've seen those inconsistencies of "LPSL" vs. actual 'biker' behaviour pointed out before, but here're a couple more for you:

If the noise were really intended as a safety mechanism:

1) it would come out the front so traffic ahead could hear it (since studies have shown that most collisions with another vehicle are from the front).

2) why have NO safety studies EVER shown that the noise level of a motorcycle has ANY effect on crashes per thousand? (Well, no _reduction_ in crashes... it's been shown that cruisers are overrepresented, and cruisers tend to be ridden by the LPSL crowd.)

But yeah, I agree... if someone is actually concerned about her own safety, why would she rely on one unproven method, rather than stacking as many things as possible which have been SHOWN to be effective in reducing crashes, morbidity, & mortality? [Training, helmet, clothing, bright colors...)

On a slightly different topic, why do so many 'eye candy' girls ride pillion unhelmeted and underclothed? Sometimes they're with similar males, but sometimes the driver has a helmet! Excuse me? You take care of yourself but not your passenger?!?! Run, don't walk, away from him.

Anonymous said...

PS - I hope you're back to a normal temp & feeling better now, though maybe Katie liked having someone to keep her REALLY warm ; )

irondad said...

I don't know what's changed in the comment section. It was nothing I did. At least that I'm aware of!

Emergency vehicle siren research has shown the most effective way to alert traffic to their presence. Like you say, aimed forward is most effective. Also, the high pitched noises actually carry and allow triangulation of their source. The high tones bounce off stuff. Motorcycle pipes point backwards and the low tones get absorbed in the landscape. The only time you know for sure where the bike is happens when the rude person is right beside you!

I hate that same thing. Is the girl dumb or blissfully ignorant? Blissful until she falls off, of course. I've asked the same question.

Hey, dude, do you care about this girl?

Take care,


Balisada said...

I tell you, the loud pipes saves lives argument really annoys the ever-loving-patooties out of me.

Proponents always say that the car was coming up on them and they "gave it a roll on the throttle" and the car backed off.

Hey sweet pea, the rest of the world has a horn for just such an occasion.

If the only piece of safety equipment that they possess is an exhaust system, then really, it's not about safety.

Yeah, I know that the horn on my Honda Rebel sounds like it's still waiting to grow up and be a real horn, but it still works, and it doesn't annoy anyone.


Conchscooter said...

I agree. Nuff sed.

Conchscooter said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Steven said...

from a forum post's .sig, a line I'd not seen prior to this week - "Quiet Pipes Save Rights"

that's smarter thinking.


Allen Madding said...

As a tattooed bearing and patch wearing harley rider, I restate my stance. Loud pipes annoy neighbors.

I've consistently observed cagers lane change over into lanes occupied by bikes with loud pipes. Cage drivers on cell phones oblivious to motorcycles with three headlights don't notice loud pipes anymore than they would notice a UFO landing beside them.

Most riders would be better off with full gear all the time than worrying with loud pipes if safety were really their genuine concern.

Your mileage may vary...

irondad said...

Most of our fatalities are riders by themselves in corners. Not sure how loud pipes would help there! Maybe better to tackle the real problem. Like getting skills.

Roger that.

I've heard the "loud pipes lose rights" thing. The expression you shared is a more positive way to look at it, for sure. Thanks.

I agree. Better to become a gear protected rider as well as getting skills. Cagers run into big yellow school buses all the time, for goodness sakes!

Take care,


Joe said...

I've yet to see any evidence that loud pipes prevent the left turn in front of you. I agree with Allen and the others, I'm not a proponent of loud pipes.