Whether you are a new rider or you have been riding for many years, you may have heard – or may even believe – some of the much-circulated motorcycle safety myths. If you take actions based on those myths, some of them could get you injured or even killed.
If you know a biker who believes any of these myths, be sure to direct them to this article!
Myth 1: Bikers Wear Leather Because it Makes Them Look Cool
While leather does look cool, that’s just a bonus. Leather, because of its unique properties, is very protective against abrasions, cuts, and scrapes. It’s also very warm, even with the wind chill caused by riding on a cool day. Biker leathers are usually made from cowhide because it provides more protection than buffalo hide or pigskin. We know a rider whose front wheel slid on some new, wet street tar, and he slid right underneath the pickup truck that had stopped in front of him. While he had trouble waving “no problem,” to the cop who showed up, and his shoulder was sore for weeks afterwards, ultimately all he had to show for his spill was a black abraded area on the right shoulder of his brown leather jacket. Obviously wearing leather is no excuse for recklessness, but it can certainly help minimize bodily surface damage.
Myth 2: Drivers in Cages Don’t Give a Hoot About Bikers
It’s not that they don’t care – it’s that they don’t see you. They’re not looking for someone on a motorcycle. You can help these drivers see you by wearing motorcycle safety equipment, such as a bright helmet and brightly colored clothing. Motorcycle helmets do save lives, that is a fact. You can hear and see quite well with even a full-faced helmet. Also, have the proper safety equipment on your bike, including brighter-than-stock lights or extra lights.
Myth 3: The Louder the Pipes, the Safer You Are
If you’ve ever ridden in a group, you know you can barely hear the bike behind you. And the bikes on the side of you aren’t that loud either, unless they are right next to you. So no, loud pipes aren’t going to make people driving cars aware of you, especially if they have their noses buried in their cell phones, are eating, putting on makeup, reading, or are otherwise distracted.
Myth 4: Lay the Bike Down if You Are Going to Crash
This is the worst thing you can do. When you slide, you have a good chance of getting burned beyond belief by the exhaust or you could slide under a vehicle. Instead, learn how to brake effectively. The one time that it might be better to lay the bike down is if you are on an elevated roadway, such as a bridge, and the only alternative is to fall over the guardrail to your death.