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10 Most Common Myths About Motorcycles
Riders like to talk. Lots of (motorcycle history) is shared this way. Sometimes this talk involves repeating unsafe myths about riding but it is often best to do your own investigation to determine if the advice is valid. Continue reading to get to the truth of 10 common myths about motorcycles.
1. Loud pipes save lives.
The louder the bike, the safer you will be on the road. You probably heard this early on. And it makes logical sense. If the sound of your bike draws attention to your location then motorists are more aware of your position therefore making your ride safer. Unfortunately, the research does not support this claim. Researchers in Europe found that in most cases the motorcycle could not be heard inside of a car until it was already within an unsafe distance to avoid a collision. Instead, riders should focus on wearing the proper gear and conducting a T-LOCS inspection on their motorcycle to increase their changes of having a safe ride.
2. Helmets restrict your view.
Most states require helmets that are U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) certified. To qualify as a DOT certified helmet, the manufacturer must comply with the standards established by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). These standards require that helmets have at least 105 degrees of peripheral vision on each side of the helmet. As a result, this fear of a limited view or hearing that would restrict the rider's ability to spot danger is not true and is not support by the facts or science. In fact, helmets help make your ride more comfortable by cutting down on wind noise, and they provide protection of your face and eyes and shock absorption if you are in an accident.
3. Helmets are dangerous.
Another false myth related to motorcycle helmets is that they are dangerous. You know…the story of a friend of friend who broke his neck because he had on a helmet. This logic the same used by people against mandatory seat belt laws. And just like that argument, the data does not support it. In fact, data shows that riders who wear helmets have fewer serious injuries compared to riders who decide not to wear a helmet.
4. Lay the bike down to avoid a crash.
Some riders believe, or have at least heard it said, that the best thing you can do to avoid a crash is to…crash. More specifically the advice is to "lay the bike down" to avoid hitting something else. It is believed that this advice stems from a fear of being thrown into the air and losing all control. However, the reality is that you will lose control with the sliding motorcycle as well. The best thing to do to avoid a crash is to ride safely, check your blind spots frequently and to reduce your speed as quickly as possible if you believe a collision is about to occur. Most rider education courses teach all of these skills.
5. Racing tires are safer.
This myth is actually true…if you are on a race track and in a competitive race. Otherwise, it is absolutely false. Racing tires are produced with different materials, using different technology and for a different purpose. They are designed for the high stress conditions of a race and have unique properties for racing. As a result, motorcycle street tires are the best and safest option for riders who are not on the racetrack.
6. Don't use the front brakes.
There is a common misconception that it is better to not use the front breaks and primarily use the rear brakes only as much as possible. The belief is that using the front breaks could potentially cause the rider to become airborne and flip over the handlebars in quick stopping situations. Is it possible? Sure. Likely to happen? Probably not. In fact, the opposite is true. Current motorcycle designs put a lot of the stopping power on the front brakes. Therefore, the best way to control your bike efficiently and if necessary, stop quickly, use your front brakes.
7. Riding gear is unnecessary.
Some riders believe that helmets are more problems than they are worth and that other protective gear is just too hot or restrictive to wear. Especially in the summer months. We discussed the helmet issue above, so we won't repeat it here. While gear may be hot, while stopped, in the summer, it is still very necessary. Most rider education courses and rider preparation checklists cover the appropriate gear riders should consider. Additionally, technological advancements in material and design make most summer gear ventilated to increase the comfort level so riders can be protected and not as hot while riding.
8. Drivers don't care about motorcyclists.
Again, this just isn't true. NHTSA data shows that 40% of motorcycle accidents only involve the rider. Another 35% of accidents are front end collisions where the rider rear-ended the vehicle in front of them. As a result, approximately 75% of accidents are caused by the rider. Repeating the (motorcycle vs car) myth that drivers don't care about motorcyclists is clearly wrong.
9. I can avoid radar.
You guessed it…also false. The smaller profile of a motorcycle does not necessarily help you evade police radar technology. The best thing to do is to always follow the posted speed limits.
10. I won't crash.
Motorcycle riding is inherently dangerous. Regardless of your skill level or experience chances are you will crash/lay your bike down at some point. The best thing you can do is ride safe and be prepared for when it happens. If believe these myths and were involved in an accident as a result, you should probably seek the advice and counsel of an experienced motorcycle attorney. A professional familiar with the nuances of these complex issues is a great resource to consult in these situations and can help you determine damages, liability, and other factors relevant to the resolution of your matter.