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The Most Common Motorcycle Myths Debunked

When it comes to something like motorcycle riding, there’s always going to be myths and legends. And as with any other myths, they are often in contradiction with facts and statistics; but they sound good. Add in a healthy dose of newbies wanting to learn all they can, and helpful advice becomes the propagator of falsehoods. Sometimes these untruths carry on for generations, giving them a weighted importance that isn’t backed up with true data or statistics. Nobody is trying to misinform anyone; instead, it has more to do with something being said over and over until it becomes “true.”

Different communities of motorcyclists have different ideas about what works best when riding. It’s understandable for new motorcycle enthusiasts to ask other riders for their input about motorcycle gear, safety, or the maintenance of their bikes. If the internet has taught us anything, it’s that people like to request and give advice. (Oh, and that people can be really mean to each other).

However, there’s a lot of incorrect information out there and it is easy to be persuaded into believing the myths about your motorcycle and how to ride it. We at the Sibley Dolman Gipe Accident Injury Lawyers, PA have compiled a list of a few motorcycle myths that are commonly believed in the riding community.

We hope this list helps you to be informed and to stay safe!

6 Common Motorcycle Myths Debunked

Helmets do more harm than good (Part 1). While most countries and states have laws that require both drivers and passengers to wear protective gear on their heads, in the state of Florida, riding a motorcycle is perfectly legal without a helmet (with some exceptions, of course). One of the initial reasons given by those that say helmets do more harm than good is that helmets will contribute to the breaking of one’s necks in an accident. These riders say that the increased weight of the head caused by the helmet will cause it to be jerked around with more force. Why is the myth widely believed? For one, physics seems to support the idea. Remember from high school that: mass X acceleration = force.

However, the reality is that most studies and statistics display a significantly lower rate of neck injuries sustained by helmeted motorcyclists when compared with the crashes of those who weren’t wearing a helmet. DOT-approved helmets come with fantastic abilities to absorb the impact force caused by a crash, including the additional weight of the now heavier head [1].

Helmets do more harm than good (Part 2). Another part of the myth that helmets do more harm than good is: they block your ability to see or hear danger. However, this too is not true or supported by statistics. Wearing a motorcycle helmet actually does the opposite. The visor provides eye protection from the wind and debris, allowing a rider to see better. It also cuts down on wind noise so that the rider can actually hear better. Similarly, by decreasing the noise and wind pressure on the head, helmets actually reduce fatigue. This is because the loud sounds and persistent wind in the face require your body’s constant attention to adjust and adapt; without it, you can more easily relax.

Wearing a helmet while riding does not increase the risks of having an accident. The truth is, that wearing one actually reduces the likelihood of being involved in a collision. And it certainly reduces the likelihood of a brain injury should a devastating accident occur.

Loud pipes make riding safer. Like many of these myths, on the surface, they seem to make sense. This myth’s explanation goes: the louder the exhaust pipes are, the more attention and awareness a biker will draw to themselves. This just seems safe. “[Riders with] loud pipes actually crash more frequently than those with stock pipes,” stated Motorcycle Cruiser Magazine. So, the statistics back it up. But what about the physics? Well, it’s quite simple. The exhaust pipes on motorcycles are in the back, for obvious reasons. Since they are in the back that is where the noise is directed. Because of this, cars in front of a motorcycle may not hear it at all. Likewise, as a motorcycle crosses through an intersection, the bike is riding ahead of the noise. Most often, the brunt of the roar is suffered by nearby pedestrians and people in their homes. If it gets anyone’s attention, it’s usually in a negative way, either scaring old people, waking babies, or upsetting those stuck in traffic.

Studies actually show that wearing bright and bold colors on your helmet, motorcycle gear, and/or clothing would be more effective [2].

Racing tires are safer than road tires. Racing tires are completely different from road tires. They are made of different compounds and possess different properties than road tires. They are designed to work best when it’s really hot in order to create grip. As such, race tires are specifically meant to do one thing: stick like glue for one heat cycle. They may work well on a dry road, but when it comes to riding in the rain, it can be pretty dangerous. This is because racing tires have fewer groves than do street tires; for this reason, they cannot channel and remove water out of the way as quickly. A street tire will generally wear better, have more stability, and produce greater wet-weather performances when compared to a race tire. Road tires also offer a similar grip—and likely, more—at normal temperatures, as well as give consistent performance over many heat cycles for far less money. From this, the final consensus from most riding magazines is that it’s safest to use road tires every time you ride. [3].

You should lay down your bike if you’re about to crash. One thing worth mentioning is that most accidents happen so fast that, as a motorcyclist, you’re simply not going to have the time to think about laying your bike down. Unlike the other myths, that are not exactly counterintuitive, this one is. It just doesn’t make sense to crash, every time you think you may crash. However, the thinking comes from the idea that your will be safer at ground level, than you will be if you are thrown through the air. In fact, if you try and slide into a vehicle on the ground, there’s a good chance that you’ll slam into the car at a much faster speed than expected or you’ll be wedged up underneath it. Additionally, it’s pretty well-known that rubber stops better than metal or plastic, that’s why tires are made out of it. Instead of laying your bike down, it’s better to try to reduce your speed as much as possible. Pump the breaks and stay upright while trying to maneuver out of the way or off to the side. If you can focus your attention on speed reduction and avoidance, rather than how you’re going to lay your bike down, you will have a greater chance of escaping the incident without major injury or death.

An experienced rider can stop better with conventional brakes than with anti-lock brakes. After a lot of testing, it has been shown that even on clean, dry, flat pavement, experienced and skilled riders stopped in a shorter distance with anti-lock brakes (ABS) than with conventional or linked braking systems. Statistics on anti-lock braking systems show that they make riding safer, produce fewer crashes and deaths, and allow for a shorter stopping distances.

No matter how skilled of a rider you are, you can’t predict when a driver ahead of you will force you to break hard by cutting you off or stopping short. With ABS, riders can brake fully without fear of locking up their tires. As the name implies, ABS automatically reduce brake pressure when a lockup is about to occur and increase it again after traction is restored [5].

These motorcycle myths and legends have received their credibility within the motorcycle community by being repeated time after time, for years and years. It’s always better to go with research and statistics when it comes to you and your family’s safety. Think twice before using any riding information you may have heard through the grapevine. Getting your information this way is fine, but as with anything, make sure to do your own research before trusting it with your life.

Sibley Dolman Gipe Accident Injury Lawyers, PA

If you are ever involved in a collision, speak with a qualified and experienced motorcycle injury attorney as soon as possible. If you or a loved one have already been injured in a motorcycle accident, consult our firm right away so that you don’t have to pay for someone else’s negligence.

At the Sibley Dolman Gipe Accident Injury Lawyers, PA, we dedicate our time and resources to understanding all the responsibilities involved with driving a motorcycle in Florida. Every day, we help people like you recover from unfortunate events caused by someone else’s negligence. If you’ve experienced losses of any kind—whether it is physical, mental, emotional, or financial—you could be eligible for monetary compensation. Let us deal with the insurance companies; you deal with getting better. 

Call Dolman Law Group at (727) 451-6900 today for a free consultation and evaluation of your case.

Sibley Dolman Gipe Accident Injury Lawyers, PA
800 North Belcher Road
Clearwater, FL 33765

(727) 451-6900



[1] http://www.autoevolution.com/news/most-common-motorcycle-myths-debunked-part-4-47496.html
[2] http://www.autoevolution.com/news/most-common-motorcycle-myths-debunked-part-1-45969.html
[3] http://www.sportrider.com/street-vs-race
[4] http://www.autoevolution.com/news/most-common-motorcycle-myths-debunked-part-2-46474.html
[5] http://www.iihs.org/iihs/brochures/motorcycle-abs-why-you-want-to-ride-with-it