A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

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Entry from June 19, 2019
“Loud pipes save lives” (motorcycle adage)

"Loud pipes save lives” is a motorcycle saying that has been printed on many images. Many drivers and pedestrians can hear a motorcycle before they see it. However, many still find the loud noise of motorcycles to be annoying.

“Loud pipes save lives” has been cited in print since at least 1988.


25 August 1988, The Palm Beach Post (West Palm Beach, FL), “Bikers gain respect with charity ride” by Catharine S. Rambeau, pg. 7D, col. 2:
One helmet read: “Kill a Biker, Go to Jail”; another proclaimed: “Loud Pipes Save Lives.”

11 March 1990, St. Petersburg (FL) Times, “The Wild Ones meet Joe Cool: Daytona Beach tries to cope as Harleys roar, students party” by Christopher St. Lavin, pg. 5B, col. 1:
“Loud Pipes Save Lives” is the credo of those who think motorists will respect bikers more if they hear them before they see them. At times, residents in nearby homes have complained of windows rattling as some bikes pass by. Some sound like continual fireworks displays as they cruise by.

17 May 1991, The State (Columbia, SC), “Bikers rally to hog the sand, sun” by Andrew Shain (The Sun News, from Myrtle Beach), pg. 1B, col. 5:
“Loud pipes save lives,” said John Runnel a mechanic with Dunes Cycle & Speed Shop on U.S. 501. “They can hear you coming.”

20 July 1993, The Province (Vancouver, BC), “Hog owners customize with ‘pride.’” pg. A23:
It’s all about taking pride in riding your own personally customized “machine,” engine, paint and chrome included. Ride one and see what it’s all about.

“Loud pipes save lives!”
Luciano Bruschetta
BURNABY

Google Books
The New Yorker
Volume 71, Issues 19-29
1995
Pg. 68:
Bikers have a saying, “Loud pipes save lives,” by which they mean that a biker whose motorcycle can be heard is less likely will not even apply the brakes to help a person whose motorcycle has broken down by the side of the road if the bike ...

Google Books
The Everything Motorcycle Book:
The One Book You Must Have to Buy, Ride, and Maintain Your Motorcycle

By A. J. Drew
Avon, MA: Adams Media Corporation
2002
Pg. ?:
“Loud pipes save lives,” as a popular expression goes, and for the most part, police officers tend to look the other way as long as you aren’t really flaunting your noncompliance with muffler laws.

Google Books
Proficient Motorcycling:
The Ultimate Guide to Riding Well

By David L. Hough
Bowtie Press
2008
Pg. 144:
Contrary to those pseudo-serious Loud Pipes Save Lives stickers, noise basically annoys people and demonstrates that you are impolite and self-centered.

Google Books
The Man Who Would Stop at Nothing:
Long-Distance Motorcycling’s Endless Road

By Melissa Holbrook Pierson
New York, NY: W. W. Norton & Company, Inc.
2011
Pg. 139:
The stickers were bold—emending the specious claim that loud pipes save lives with endless variations: “Loud pipes scare little kids”; “Loud pipes lose rights”; “Loud pipes suck”; and finally, “Loud pipes, little penis”—and so were the cartoons.

YouTube
Loud Pipes Save Lives - True or False?
M13
Published on Nov 21, 2012

YouTube
Loud pipes save lives
RoyalJordanian
Published on Jan 31, 2013
I’m certain if not for the sound of the Nuda the outcome would have been different.
One from the archive, filmed last summer.

Twitter
trans baby mode kitten 🐱
@spencrejack
Loud pipes save lives like yeah I know they’re annoying but a biker on a loud motorcycle is better than a twisted heap of metal with an unrecognizable lump of what was once a person trapped under some unobservant motorist’s car because they got sideswiped under an SUV merging
11:29 PM - 17 Jun 2019

Twitter
The Bike Insurer
@thebikeinsurer
Loud pipes save lives but with the potential introduction of fines for noisy road users, will accident rates begin to rise?
https://bit.ly/2R6okjO
12:19 PM - 12 Jun 2019

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityTransportation • Wednesday, June 19, 2019 • Permalink