Motorcycles continue to grow in popularity, but despite the number of riders on the road increasing there are safety myths that continue to be told. If you are going to be riding a bike, you need to know the truth about safety so you can take the proper precautions to protect yourself when you are out on the road.
The key to being safe when out on the road is being alert and driving in a space where you are more visible. You also want to follow all traffic laws and make yourself as visible as possible by wearing brighter colors or having a bike that is a brighter color. There are many things you can do to encourage safety on the roadway, but you shouldn’t fall prey to the myths that abound.
Popular Motorcycle Safety Myths
Leather’s Just a Fashion Statement: Nope! In this case, looking cool is a side effect. Leather is strong and resistant to abrasion, so if you end up hitting the pavement the leather will protect your skin better than other, less-heavy duty materials.
Wearing full-faced motorcycle helmets restrict visibility. Only if we’re talking about a bald spot you’d like to hide! The Department of Transportation requires that motorcycle helmets have a field of view that won’t negatively impact your peripheral vision. With a 210-degree field of view, full-faced helmets protect your entire head and keep the wind, rain, debris, and bugs away from your face.
Start on a big bike: For some reason, the rumor has been passed around that a big bike is great for beginners, but they weigh more and are much harder to handle in parking lots and on tight turns. Bigger engines have more torque, which is great when you want to open it up a little bit (when you know what you’re doing), but not when you’re a newbie trying to stay upright while riding around in the rain.
Loud Pipes Save Lives: I think I first sprouted chest hair after I heard my dad start up his Triumph Bonneville with modified pipes. It sounded like God playing the intro for “Hot For Teacher”! However, there’s an issue with loud pipes: the sound goes backward, where you’ve already been, and where people can already see you. It’s not going to do so much for the cars in front of you, who can stop short, change lanes, and do all sorts of dangerous things without even being aware that you’re there.
Roads and streets are safer than the interstate: This myth comes from the belief that driving at slower speeds is safer. Studies show, however, that 91% of all accidents involving a motorcycle and a passenger vehicle occur on roads that were not interstates. While you travel faster on interstates, the flow of traffic and wider lanes as well as not facing opposing traffic is beneficial. Streets and roads have more intersections, and intersections are the leading place for accidents.
Lay It Down in a Crash: Nope! While you might treat your bike like a lady, it ain’t one, so there’s no need to get horizontal with it. If you have time to lay the bike down, you’ve got the time to swerve, brake, or accelerate out of the situation.
Anytime you ride a bike, you need to be prepared for the worst. Try to make yourself more visible so you are seen and so the risks of a crash are significantly reduced. Use common sense and take defensive riding classes. Don’t believe all the myths that circulate about motorcycle safety. Instead, educate yourself and be prepared for anything. Defensive riding techniques and knowing how to handle the unexpected are important aspects of staying safe when on the road.