Man about to ride a motorcycle on a highway.

Separating Motorcycle Myths from Facts

Few vehicles have given rise to as many myths as motorcycles. Perhaps this is because there is an aura of fantasy surrounding the practice of riding motorcycles. Motorcycles are not just modes of transportation, they are vehicles of legend. Bikers are viewed by many as adventurers, carrying with them the lure of freedom, exhilaration, and independence. Nonetheless, if you ride a motorcycle, it is important to differentiate the facts from the myths, whether the source of the motorcycle myth is a society that tends to fear and often denigrate motorcycle riding or bikers who glorify the practice. If you are injured in a motorcycle accident caused by a negligent driver, it is essential that you engage the services of an experienced motorcycle accident attorney. By the same token, if you are committed to riding a motorcycle, you need to understand the dangers as well as the delights of the activity. 

Debunking Common Motorcycle Myths

Do all motorcyclists get into serious accidents or are motorcycles just as safe as cars?

Neither. While there are plenty of people who ride motorcycles for years without accidents, motorcyclists who do have accidents are 9 times more likely to be seriously injured than motorists. This means that a high percentage of motorcyclists will need a proficient motorcycle accident attorney at some point. 

Do motorcycle helmets do more harm than good?

While some states, like Ohio, only require motorcyclists to wear helmets if they are under the age of 18, in point of fact wearing a helmet makes riding a motorcycle a good deal safer for bikers of any age. It stands to reason that an unprotected head is terribly vulnerable to injury on the open road. 

Though myths persist that motorcycle helmets make neck fractures more likely, the reality is that all bikers are safer from neck, skull, and traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) if wearing a helmet. There is also a myth circulating that helmets diminish the motorcyclist’s hearing and vision though the opposite is true.

Do loud exhaust pipes make motorcycle riding safer?

For years, some motorcyclists have responded to criticism of their loud exhaust pipes with declarations that this noise keeps them safer by drawing attention to their presence of the road. Since motorcycles are so much smaller and narrower than cars this noise has been touted as a tool to level the playing field. The Doppler effect, however, cancels out this effect, not to mention the fact that the loud pipes negatively impact the motorcyclist’s hearing, making the biker less sensitive to outside stimuli.

Are young motorcyclists at greatest risk of death in road accidents?

While the public tends to prejudge young bikers as more reckless than older cyclists, and riders aged 18 to 25 years old are more likely to sustain injuries than older riders, middle-aged motorcyclists are in far more danger of dying in motorcycle accidents. According to the latest findings of The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the most motorcycle fatalities (40 percent) occur among riders aged 40 to 55.

Is it safer for motorcyclists to ride on local roads than highways?

It may seem counterintuitive to think that the high-speed travel on a parkway or expressway may be safer than a side street on which you are generally moving much more slowly. Nevertheless, the number of motorcycle accidents on side streets is greater. 

This is because [1] divided highways don’t allow head-on collisions [2] there are no side streets or intersections on highways from which cars can unexpectedly appear or make turns [3] there are typically no pedestrians on highways [4] there is usually less litter on highways [5] highways are almost always more thoroughly cleared of snow and ice. 

If you are a dedicated motorcycle aficionado, nothing is likely to dissuade you from your favorite type of transportation. Just make sure you’re armed with accurate information as well as protective gear when you go out riding.