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Belt Drive Betty posted the /A\ News television newsclip on loud pipes [watch it here]. Yep, it’s that time of year again where this ugly issue reasserts itself. Last year, I too asserted my opinion on loud pipes [read it here]. I have an opinion. That opinion is that loud pipes don’t save lives. Others have other opinions.

Live and let live, I say.

Letting live is the important part. As far as I’m concerned, the police crackdown in Nanaimo on motorcyclists is simply an alert to be aware. If you modify your pipes beyond the legal limitations, suck it up. Deal with it. If you speed or do wheelies on the main drag and get caught, ditto.

Sure, I think the crack down on bikers is stupidly over the top. Like almost all other bikers, I believe that the problem mostly lies behind the wheel of the vehicle: car drivers, half asleep (ie only semi conscious) in the drivers’ seat. Coming down heavy on bikers and pleading our safety is nonsense. As one reader in another newspaper observed, you never read of a head-on accident between two bikers. Not that we’re completely innocent. The number of preventable single vehicle accidents that happen because of a biker taking a corner to fast is all to common.

But when it is a multi-vehicle accident, it’s with a four-wheeled variety of vehicle. And, more likely than not, you’re bound to here the phrase uttered (say it with me now…), “and they came out of NOWHERE.”

Loud pipes are more of a nuisance. They disturb the peace. They scream “Look at me Look at me Look at me” like a child desperate for attention. And, yes, once in a while they may wake up a dozing driver (again, not literally dozing, just metaphorically). I think there are better ways of being safe. Like being diligent with your shoulder checks, maintaining a religious three-second count behind the vehicle in front of you, and leaving your road rage at home.

If you get caught in Nanaimo, you probably did something wrong. While you might disagree with the rule, you still have to deal with the consequences of what happens when you break that rule. “Man up” for goodness sakes. And if you’re a woman, “man up, princess.”

Don’t like it? Then set out to change the rules. Do something constructive. While we’re all happy complaining about the unfairness that society levels against us, very few are willing to actually do something about it.

Not ready to go the distance? Then pay the fine, fix your pipes to the legal limits. And quit whining.

And if motorcycle safety is your genuine concern, then book yourself into a riding school and find out what other things you can do to increase your safety on the road.

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