With just a bit of warm weather left before motorcyclists put their bikes away for the season, it’s a good time to revisit some common myths about motorcycle riding and debunk them. Our goal for this post is to ensure you stay safe on the road and aren’t misled by common rumors about motorcycle safety—on that note, here are seven myths about just that.
Myth: Bikers only wear leather because it looks cool.
Not that leather doesn’t look cool, but there are reasons bikers favor leather that have nothing to do with aesthetic. Leather has long been associated with biker culture for a variety of reasons—it’s extremely resistant to abrasion (which protects riders from scrapes and cuts) and it’s a great insulator, so it keeps riders warm when there’s wind chill.
Myth: Full-faced helmets limit your range of sight.
The Department of Transportation’s safety standards demand that all helmets provide at least a 210-degree field of view, so your peripheral vision won’t be affected by a full-faced helmet. Full-faced helmets will also better protect your entire head and keep bugs, wind, rain, and debris off your face.
Myth: Big bikes are great for beginners.
Even without an argument in place, that statement sounds bogus, right? Big bikes can easily way upwards of 700 pounds, making them significantly more difficult to handle and maneuver in general, but particularly in tight turns and parking lots. The higher torque of a bigger engine also requires a level of skill new riders will have no way of possessing—a minor slip may result in an accident.
Myth: Loud pipes can save your life.
This one makes a little more sense at a glance, even if it is a myth—loud exhaust pipes are rumored to save lives because of increased noise level and that noise’s ability to alert nearby drivers that a motorcycle is nearby. The problem with this myth lies in the physics. The noise from the exhaust pipes comes from the back of the bike and direct the sound backwards. Therefore, it’s unlikely the drivers in front of you will hear you coming. Add those cars having closed windows and the radio going and this myth is debunked.
Myth: Drivers will see you.
One of the most important practices of driving in general—particularly if you’re a motorcyclist—is to drive defensively. Driving defensively means operating under the assumption that other drivers don’t see you. If you see motorcyclists riding close to the dividing line on a roadway or in the leftmost lane on highways, they’re doing so because these areas keep them out of blindspots and give them two directions they can swerve in if they need to get away from another driver.
Myth: Roads and streets are safer routes than the interstate.
This myth comes from the assumption that riding at lower speeds will help your case if something goes wrong and you need to dodge another driver or obstacle in the road. However, most crashes between a motorcycle and a passenger vehicle happen on non-interstate roadways. It’s true that you’re going a lot faster on highways than you would on non-interstate roadways, but there’s a smoother flow of traffic on the highway, wider lanes, and lack of opposing traffic in the immediate vicinity, which are a few of the more common dangers motorcyclists face on the road.
Myth: If you’re about to crash, “lay it down.”
This myth is a popular one and it suggests that cyclists should literally lay down their motorcycle if they’re anticipating a collision. However, most of the time there isn’t time to make a decision and whatever your instincts tell you to do in that instant of panic is what you’re most likely going to do. Even if you had time to “lay it down” like this myth says to, the last place you want to put yourself in the event of an accident is on the roadway. If you’re faced with a potential collision, drive defensively and try to avoid the collision altogether.
Source and photo credit: HuffPost