Loud Electric Bikes Save Lives

Some say loud pipes save lives, but electric motorcycles don’t have any pipes. AdvRider tells us, don’t worry, Yamaha is working on that.

Yamaha’s Alive AD (an acronym for “acoustic design”) is supposed to bring more noise to your electric ride, enough that people accustomed to listening for gas burners won’t have any trouble hearing you on your formerly silent electric bike. But your Yamaha won’t suddenly start sounding like a Harley. Yamaha wants to create a unique “soundscape” for electric vehicles so equipped. I would say that Yamaha is the best manufacturer to do this, considering that they also make musical instruments and are highly experienced when it comes to creating sounds. So while an electric Yamaha may not sound like a Harley, it will still sound like something exciting — a TIE Fighter, perhaps.

I find this reference particular amusing because the article’s author and real-life friend of mine, Kate Murphy, once told me my Honda PC800 sounded like a TIE Fighter as it roared down the front straightaway of Palmer Motorsports Park. I guess PC800s are so cool that now Yamaha wants a piece of that pie, or something.

But seriously, the silence of electric vehicles is a real safety concern. Electric competitors at Pike’s Peak and Mt. Washington are required to run sirens to warn people of their approach, they’re so quiet even at race speed. Trust me — I was there when Climb to the Clouds last ran in 2017, and the electric car’s sirens were all I could hear until they started crunching the dirt at Cragway just feet away from where I was standing.

When it comes to the street, of course people should open their eyes and actually watch for motorcycles, cars, tractor-trailers, Antonov An-225s, etc. Unfortunately, they don’t. So while I’m not a believer in “loud pipes save lives,” I do believe that SOME sound is necessary for safety reasons. It also sounds cool, as long as it’s not blowing out your eardrums in the process.

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