Loud Pipe Perspective

Yesterday afternoon - a typically draining day of bumper-to-bumper on metro-NY highways.

In yet another congestion-generated and unexpected 60 to 5 MPH deceleration with me at the tail end, I can hear the approaching whine of the pack behind me - perhaps a dozen sport machines, blazing graphics and indistinguishable from one another in their single purposefulness - the _______ Flyers NY MC Club proudly embroidered on the back of their jackets.

Like a hive of infuriated wasps they randomly insinuate themselves at speed into three lanes of crawling traffic, lane-splitting left and right repeatedly through the traffic and exploding out the other end in search of the next impasse.

Frankly, it was a miracle that this exercise did not result in fatalities. It occurred to me that while this behavior could be lumped together with loud pipes, which seems to get almost obsessive attention by the media and politicians, it has the potential to be damaging in a more insidious way to MC public relations then the occasional loud pipe could ever be.

I could read it in the sour expressions on the cage drivers faces as they looked accusingly at me edging along in traffic with them on my crusier, as if to say, "those a-hole kids are more than just playful - they're engaged in really reckless behavior. My family could get hurt here! Can you give me a motorcyle escort to the closet voting machine?"

And there's the distinction. The loud-pipe offended have successfully gotten us baffled as a "reasonable" solution to open or marginally baffled pipes. But, mandated baffles are not quite as threatening to motorcyclists as other possible restrictions. So, what action would yesterday's sour-faced motorists support in dealing with real anti-social behavior - the kind of behavior that can kill. Limits on engine output? Tariffs on importation of especially powerful motors with power standards arbitrarily defined by some shadow bureaucratic commitee? Specified top speed reg-fees and use taxes similar to gas guzzler taxes? Special offenses for reckless motorcyclists? Unlikely to happen? The Japanese producers are already anticipating these developments by entering into a loss understanding among themselves about capping top speed capabilities on their sport machines.

We all know the kind of hollow trash legislation our elected representatives are capable of creating or attaching themselves to, when the opportunism virus strikes. You'd think NYS tax code couldn't possibly be expanded to include another inflated, confiscatory fee, or that the NYS Vehicle and Traffic Law couldn't possibly accomodate any additional violations or offenses. Think again!

Regrettably, human nature being what it is I don't foresee a self-regulating solution here, as I suspect that the vast majority of young, rocket-mounted riders, the "Flyers" being a prime example, are not likely to be AMA members, are convinced they're immortal, and haven't any awareness, or couldn't care less, about the damage they're inflicting on us all.

We need to figure a way to impress upon these folks that track day is not Tuesday on NY's Southern State Parkway. A dialog needs to be started among ourselves as MC use is escalating geometrically for reasons we all appreciate, and we are all going to pay a price for that elevated visibility if we sit idly by.
Get Motorcycle.com in your Inbox
George Obradovich
George Obradovich

More by George Obradovich

Join the conversation