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Author Topic: Are air horns worthwhile?  (Read 483 times)

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Offline Baxter

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Are air horns worthwhile?
« on: October 20, 2019, 08:19:55 PM »
So, I've been pondering an improvement to the new Ninjette's horn since it has such a modest and polite little beep.  And today I had to use my horn, but the inattentive driver either didn't hear it or, perhaps, didn't think it was for them.  So I'm contemplating a louder horn.  It seems not worthwhile to go by half-measures, so perhaps an air horn with relay. 

Any thoughts or observations?  Does an air horn get you noticed, or does the inattentive cager miss seeing you because they are looking for a semi instead?
I may not have gone where I intended to go, but I think I have ended up where I needed to be.  --Douglas Adams

Online The Artist Formerly Known As Bubbles

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Re: Are air horns worthwhile?
« Reply #1 on: October 21, 2019, 07:27:02 AM »
The inattentive motorist misses you because you're not part of the herd. There's a whole chapter on eyes-forward predatory lizard-brain instinctual shit in either the lee parks or the hough book on this, and it's been heavily discussed. Make yourself SEEN, and you'll be seen. Adding a horn is just mitigation of potential exchanges of rapid inertial changes after you and the supposedly inattentive drivers (sometimes that's very true, sometimes it's just not) have both fucked up to some degree. Your not being seen is often WAY more their fault than theirs, but it's 100% your responsibility to deal with the aftermath. Be seen. Leaving being heard as a last-second "oh shit, everything else has failed" Hail Mary.
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Online Black Hills

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Re: Are air horns worthwhile?
« Reply #2 on: October 21, 2019, 08:08:59 AM »
I've never used a horn on a motorcycle, ever.....
the above are merely the ramblings of a hamfisted fuckwit who has broken too many helmets.

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Re: Are air horns worthwhile?
« Reply #3 on: October 21, 2019, 08:09:41 AM »
^What he said

Online zer0netgain

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Re: Are air horns worthwhile?
« Reply #4 on: October 21, 2019, 09:16:54 AM »
Second.  :withstupid:

Horns are reactionary.  I'd sooner invest in a light modulator to flash the high beam to alert someone ahead of me than rely on a horn I have to manually activate.
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Offline Baxter

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Re: Are air horns worthwhile?
« Reply #5 on: October 21, 2019, 11:25:02 AM »
I agree that beeping after the fan has turned brown is pointless.

I've had mixed success with preventative beeping. Particularly when someone is merging in on me on a multilane road or highway--they usually go back to their lane or at least stop merging long enough for me to get safe.  But there was one time where a pickup, ironically with a Harley bumper sticker, just kept merging without paying any attention.

The particular instance that prompted my question seemed just right for a preventative beep to work.  A cager on a side street was engrossed in something the other way while inching forward.  This caused me to assume the cager was going to pull out onto the highway without looking.  I saw that I could safely evade by swerving into the oncoming traffic lane and getting back before I put oncoming traffic to any inconvenience.  But I gave a good beep expecting the cager to stop moving forward and to look in my direction.  Didn't happen. 

The cager never once turned to look in my direction while pulling out.  There was no mishap because I was prepared to maneuver.  But if I were operating a less maneuverable vehicle there likely would have been a crash.  I'm wondering whether a louder horn might have gotten through to the cager?  Even so, would the cager have stopped moving?  Chornbe, you may very well be right that the cager might not have looked for a motorcycle even if the cager had been prompted to turn and look in my direction due to a loud horn.  I suspect the same thing happens with bicycles and pedestrians being overlooked.

I agree that high viz is helpful, but it doesn't make a difference when the cagers aren't even looking in your general direction. Same with flashing the high beam in this situation.

No one thing guarantees safety.  Yet a multitude of approaches may increase the odds of having a good day.
« Last Edit: October 21, 2019, 11:54:16 AM by Baxter »
I may not have gone where I intended to go, but I think I have ended up where I needed to be.  --Douglas Adams

Online sleazy rider

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Re: Are air horns worthwhile?
« Reply #6 on: October 21, 2019, 11:29:13 AM »
Stebel Nautilus FOR THE WIN.  You may never need it.  Until you do.  I've had the "keep merging left without the mirrors" as I've reached their driver's door.  A quick flick of a button stopped that and had the driver trying to figure out where the semi-truck was.  I was in hi viz, but if they ain't looking, it does no good.
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Re: Are air horns worthwhile?
« Reply #7 on: October 21, 2019, 02:10:56 PM »
Flashing high beam says “go ahead”, 100% of the time around here. Having a modulator around here only promotes the pulling out in front of you. I’m so not a fan.
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Re: Are air horns worthwhile?
« Reply #8 on: October 21, 2019, 02:48:04 PM »
This happens all the time in my world. Currently the best method I've found is conspicuity via hi-viz and flipping headlight from low to high while they stare right through you. Still won't do anything obviously if they truly don't look. But hell, the horn can't hurt, like when a  lady came to a stop sign  just the other day while i drove up on the intersection in a full size pickup with trailer attached. She didn't look left at all, so it required a horn blast to wake her ass up to her impending doom. I hope she soiled her shorts at that point, as my truck and trailer would have destroyed her and her little car.

I'm of the mindset that ANYTHING we do to increase our chances is worth it. Game on.

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Online Bounce

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Re: Are air horns worthwhile?
« Reply #9 on: October 22, 2019, 08:48:35 AM »
I've heard of flash meaning "gord head own" but never lived where that was a thing. I've also never ridden somewhere that I could point to an incident where my modulators ever did anything other than I intended them to.

Offline Baxter

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Re: Are air horns worthwhile?
« Reply #10 on: October 22, 2019, 08:55:40 AM »
Ok Bounce, you lost me.  What does "gord head own" mean?

For me, flashing the lights at oncoming traffic is a way of warning folks that a LEO is hiding ahead of them.  And flashing the lights at traffic you're following means that you want to pass.  As for sitting at an intersection where everyone is hesitating to go for whatever reason, I'm used to waiving the other person that they have right-of-way.
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Re: Are air horns worthwhile?
« Reply #11 on: October 22, 2019, 09:38:41 AM »
.....  As for sitting at an intersection where everyone is hesitating to go for whatever reason, I'm used to waiving the other person that they have right-of-way.

 I wave the others on, regardless.  I'm on two wheels and not going to get in a pissing match over 'right of way' even though the laws say yield to the vehicle to your right.
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Offline Baxter

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Re: Are air horns worthwhile?
« Reply #12 on: October 22, 2019, 02:58:49 PM »
.....  As for sitting at an intersection where everyone is hesitating to go for whatever reason, I'm used to waiving the other person that they have right-of-way.

 I wave the others on, regardless.  I'm on two wheels and not going to get in a pissing match over 'right of way' even though the laws say yield to the vehicle to your right.

I agree a pissing match is to be avoided.  But I didn't mean to imply that I'd just push my way through if the other traffic isn't yielding the right-of-way to me.  The point was that communication should be used when the situation is unclear. 

The situation can become unclear when you add the other rule that the first vehicle at the intersection goes first, and it is upon a tie that the left vehicle yields to the vehicle on the right.  Fairly often it seems, the vehicle on the right may think that the vehicle on the left got there first, and so hesitates even though the vehicle on the left is stopped.  Rather than have a standoff, I usually motion to the other motorist to go.  Sometimes even to have that person waive me on instead.  At that point, I usually nod my head to acknowledge their gesture and go, even if I believe that they should have gone first.  We won't crash because we are communicating.
« Last Edit: October 22, 2019, 03:14:53 PM by Baxter »
I may not have gone where I intended to go, but I think I have ended up where I needed to be.  --Douglas Adams

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Re: Are air horns worthwhile?
« Reply #13 on: October 23, 2019, 06:56:37 AM »
The other day, I saw a several guys not see the Fire Chiefs bright red suburban with sirens and lights, followed by 2 bright red fire trucks with lights and sirens, followed by a bright red 50 foot hook and ladder fire truck with lights and sirens wailing.  One of the guys was so impatient he floored it and turned between the 2 fire trucks instead of waiting 4 seconds.

We have no chance.

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Re: Are air horns worthwhile?
« Reply #14 on: October 23, 2019, 07:54:59 AM »
We have no chance.

That's the bottom line, right there.

Cliche' as it sounds, ride like you're invisible BECAUSE YOU ARE. Deal with it. Take the responsibility (not the blame) for EXACTLY that point.
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Re: Are air horns worthwhile?
« Reply #15 on: October 23, 2019, 08:13:14 AM »
what he said ^ 

one of the first things my father taught me when I started riding on the street was " if you want to know what they are going to do watch their front tires, not their faces". After I T-boned a car at 55MPH because I was sure I had eye contact with the pretty blonde I started following his advice.
the above are merely the ramblings of a hamfisted fuckwit who has broken too many helmets.

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Re: Are air horns worthwhile?
« Reply #16 on: October 23, 2019, 08:15:06 AM »
Serpantine! Serpantine!
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Re: Are air horns worthwhile?
« Reply #17 on: October 23, 2019, 08:30:15 AM »
Ok Bounce, you lost me.  What does "gord head own" mean?

Local dialect for "go ahead on".

Quote
For me, flashing the lights at oncoming traffic is a way of warning folks that a LEO is hiding ahead of them.  And flashing the lights at traffic you're following means that you want to pass.  As for sitting at an intersection where everyone is hesitating to go for whatever reason, I'm used to waiving the other person that they have right-of-way.

That's how I learned it and how it's implemented in OK, TX, AR, LA, NM. By extension, it's also what seems to work while I've ridden all over the US. Local side streets in various villages might be different.

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Re: Are air horns worthwhile?
« Reply #18 on: October 23, 2019, 09:59:22 AM »
We have no chance.

That's the bottom line, right there.

Cliche' as it sounds, ride like you're invisible BECAUSE YOU ARE. Deal with it. Take the responsibility (not the blame) for EXACTLY that point.

Motorcycling is all about risk management. We all know this.  Which is why I never ride my bike through town anymore, nor do I commute by bike anymore.  Basically, I ride weekend day rides or LD travel. The rest of the time, the bike sits waiting.  Even LD travel by bike... the romance is gone for me. Which is why I trailered my bike to Yosemite. I've ridden across the country. Do it once for the experience.

Frankly, my riding days are numbered. My tolerance and ability to manage that much stupid are reaching the tipping point.  Theirs a high top camper van with a small trail bike on the back carrier in my future.
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Offline Baxter

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Re: Are air horns worthwhile?
« Reply #19 on: October 23, 2019, 11:06:52 AM »
Some days I ride as if I'm invisible.  Other days I ride as if everyone wants to kill me.  It's not paranoia if they really are out to get you.

And I drive a grey compact car as well. I think it's been invisible at times, too.  I wonder whether I should find a car in highlighter yellow?  But if they won't yield to firetrucks … ?

« Last Edit: October 23, 2019, 11:17:59 AM by Baxter »
I may not have gone where I intended to go, but I think I have ended up where I needed to be.  --Douglas Adams

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Re: Are air horns worthwhile?
« Reply #20 on: October 23, 2019, 11:16:07 AM »
Motorcycling is all about risk management. We all know this.  Which is why I never ride my bike through town anymore, nor do I commute by bike anymore.  Basically, I ride weekend day rides or LD travel. The rest of the time, the bike sits waiting.  Even LD travel by bike... the romance is gone for me. Which is why I trailered my bike to Yosemite. I've ridden across the country. Do it once for the experience.

Frankly, my riding days are numbered. My tolerance and ability to manage that much stupid are reaching the tipping point.  Theirs a high top camper van with a small trail bike on the back carrier sporty turbo convertible in my future.

 :thumbsup: :beerchug:
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Re: Are air horns worthwhile?
« Reply #21 on: October 23, 2019, 01:38:51 PM »
Well you might try three different types of horns... and there's a diy!

https://youtu.be/lv8wqnk_TsA
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Offline Baxter

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Re: Are air horns worthwhile?
« Reply #22 on: October 23, 2019, 02:40:24 PM »
Well you might try three different types of horns... and there's a diy!

https://youtu.be/lv8wqnk_TsA

Interesting approach, maybe too much for a small bike.

But that leads back to my original question, whether an air horn may be misleading in that people would look around for a truck and miss seeing my motorcycle?
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Re: Are air horns worthwhile?
« Reply #23 on: October 23, 2019, 04:29:09 PM »
An air horn is probably overkill, but a nice loud low-tone horn seems just the thing.
Mostly because 'beep beep' isn't a sound the automobilists respect, but 'honk honk' is.

This one makes you sound like you might scratch up their car:
https://www.aerostich.com/fiamm-freeway-blaster-horn.html
Probably cheaper on Amazon.
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Re: Are air horns worthwhile?
« Reply #24 on: October 23, 2019, 04:39:51 PM »
The horn and headlight on my BMW R1150RT imbued me with far more authority than I'll ever warrant. The horn sounded like a Cadillac. Which I think is about the right size for the unaware driver.
Don't argue with an idiot; people might not know the difference. -Anonymous

Offline Baxter

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Re: Are air horns worthwhile?
« Reply #25 on: October 24, 2019, 02:59:13 PM »
Thanks, everyone, for the input.  I've decided to quit dithering and ordered an air horn.  Denali Soundbomb with wiring kit:  https://www.revzilla.com/motorcycle/denali-soundbomb-compact-air-horn-and-wiring-kit

Basically, I have had occasions where sounding a horn was beneficial.  And while the air horn is extreme, I might be disappointed by something less extreme where I ultimately wind up wanting to replace the replacement. 

It's similar to ABS--just one more thing that may provide a greater margin in a particular situation.  It's not a panacea, but it does add a stronger arrow to my quiver (can anyone tell that I like fantasy novels?).  More tools in the ol' toolbag, perhaps? 
« Last Edit: October 24, 2019, 03:09:56 PM by Baxter »
I may not have gone where I intended to go, but I think I have ended up where I needed to be.  --Douglas Adams

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Re: Are air horns worthwhile?
« Reply #26 on: November 03, 2019, 07:08:00 PM »
Stebel Nautilus FOR THE WIN.  You may never need it.  Until you do.  I've had the "keep merging left without the mirrors" as I've reached their driver's door.  A quick flick of a button stopped that and had the driver trying to figure out where the semi-truck was.  I was in hi viz, but if they ain't looking, it does no good.

What Tom said.  In my years of riding I've only used it a handful of times for distracted drivers, each time it was someone drifting into my lane on the highway, usually switching lanes.  I swing left and hot the horn, and they nearly shit themselves swinging back into their lane.

All the advice is good, but when the next bike comes I will simply mount another one.
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Re: Are air horns worthwhile?
« Reply #27 on: November 04, 2019, 09:44:13 AM »
Had air horns one 3 wings. Put a Stebels (dual tone) on my FJR and have never regretted it. Cleaner install. Just as effective.

Turning right from a stop, someone on that cross street and going the same way I was headed, completely ignored that I was now ahead of them on the neighborhood street and started to drive past me and squeeze me into the curb. I laid into my horns. Their windows were down. The driver hit his brakes and the passenger (nearest me) recoiled so dramatically, I knew they'd both not soon forget it. I suspect they thought an 60s Buick had appeared off their starboard bow.

Online bungie4

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Re: Are air horns worthwhile?
« Reply #28 on: November 04, 2019, 02:28:10 PM »
Stebel on my 06 Meanstreak mounted behind the chin fairing (muffled).

So loud, I laughed out loud when Fast 'n Furious fart can Civic jerked the wheel back so hard he bounced off the curb.

...(sigh) its the little things.
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Re: Are air horns worthwhile?
« Reply #29 on: November 04, 2019, 04:31:30 PM »
I've used my Stebel (twice) this past week to wake up some idiot checking up his textos while the light had changed and all cars ahead had already gone.
For some reason he seemed pissed by that. LOL
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Re: Are air horns worthwhile?
« Reply #30 on: November 05, 2019, 05:57:52 AM »
Stebel’s new motto - waking the dead and popping texter’s heads out of dark places.
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Offline jimmy

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Re: Are air horns worthwhile?
« Reply #31 on: November 05, 2019, 09:22:21 PM »
Personally, I never use the horn.

I've always thought these were pretty slick for those who do.

Screaming Banshee horn and light modulator...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dPuzTQFVoVI

Offline OHScot

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Re: Are air horns worthwhile?
« Reply #32 on: Yesterday at 08:47:37 AM »
Guy I ride with had a horn sounded like a Lincoln or Cad.

Sitting at a light he was trying to get my attention I kept looking around for the large car I knew I had offended.



Point, sound and look like what you are don't confuse the texting, otherwise occupied.  Won't end well.  Not a fan of the funny lights and horns.   Sometimes it seems better when I turn off the headlamp, less of a target?

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Re: Are air horns worthwhile?
« Reply #33 on: Yesterday at 06:30:19 PM »
Stebel Nautilus FOR THE WIN.  You may never need it.  Until you do.  I've had the "keep merging left without the mirrors" as I've reached their driver's door.  A quick flick of a button stopped that and had the driver trying to figure out where the semi-truck was.  I was in hi viz, but if they ain't looking, it does no good.

Exactly the same thing happened to me. I was on a 3 lane section of a 16 lane highway and noticed the car on my right in about the 2 o’clock position starting to move into my lane. There was a tractor trailer on my left. I had nowhere to go. I hit my Stebel and she swerved back into her lane. I guess I could have slammed on my brakes but that would likely have me crushed by the truck behind me.
The horn paid for itself with 1 use.
My GPS just told me to turn left, then turn left, then turn left, then turn left.
So if I go too far left do I end up right?