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I have never bought into the adage that “loud pipes save lives.”  However, the extreme quiet of one of the motorcycles involved in what is billed as the “World’s First Zero Emissions Race” may have contributed to an accident that seriously injured a 50-year-old bicyclist in Vancouver, Canada earlier this month.

The zero emissions race started on August 16th, 2010 in Geneva, Switzerland.  So far, the racers have covered almost 10,000 miles primarily through Russia, Kazakhstan and China.  Vancouver was to be the only stop for the race in Canada.  That stop, however, was more abrupt than anticipated.

One witness to the accident said, “We thought, ‘Holy crap they are going really fast down that residential street.’ There were cars parked along the side. Someone could have walked out on the street and not heard that vehicle — not like you would have heard a regular motorcycle.”  The victim of the accident was hospitalized with several rib fractures.

This will only fuel concerns that the silent operation of the new breed of “green” vehicles may be dangerous.  When you consider the speed attainable by many of these vehicles, especially the motorcycles, there may be a “quiet controversy” brewing.

The race is scheduled to make its way down the west coast of the US throughout November.


Photograph by: Nick Procaylo, PNG

Written by Tim Kessel, Courtesy of

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