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Top 10 List – Motorcycle Myths - Jones Law Group

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Top 10 List – Motorcycle Myths

By: Heath C. Murphy +Personal Injury

I hear a lot of things asserted as fact as a personal injury attorney that represents injured motorcyclists. It is amazing how often these truths seem to become universally accepted. Many of these universal truths about motorcycle riding are, in fact, myths. In this article I will expose some myths that may save your life.

Myth # 1 – Laying Down Your Bike Will Save Your Life

First, how did it become so well accepted that sliding down a busy street at 50 MPH on your backside was safer than braking? If I were guessing, I would say that this myth originated with bikers that were attempting to explain why they ended up sliding down the road while attempting to avoid a crash. They over-braked or otherwise lost control, then tried to explain the crash away as intentional and tried to make it sound like it wasn’t a crash at all. Maybe motorcycle brakes once were so bad that you could stop better off your bike while sliding or tumbling. If so, that hasn’t been true for decades. You can stay on your bike and reduce speed much more effectively than laying it down and sliding down the street without your motorcycle. If you stay on the bike you might get thrown over the car, but if you lay down you will collide with the car. If you slide into a car while you are on the ground, you will either have a hard stop against it or end up wedged under it.

Myth #2 – Slower Speeds are Safer

This is another myth that is complete and utter nonsense. Riding on the interstate is far safer than navigating surface streets. Stop lights, stop signs, intersections, congestion, etc. makes in town riding far more dangerous than cruising the interstates. It may feel more dangerous when you are side by side with an 18 wheeler with wheels rolling at 70MPH, but statistics show that it is actually much safer than navigating the streets around St. Petersburg.

Myth #3 – A Skilled Rider Can Stop Quicker with Conventional Brakes Than ABS Brakes

I have advocated that bikers should have the choice between anti-lock brakes and conventional brakes, but any notion that even the most skilled biker can out perform anti-lock brakes is nonsense. A skilled rider can effectively stop a motorcycle with conventional brakes. A skilled rider can outperform less skilled rider on a bike with conventional brakes, but if you put the same rider on the same motorcycle, one with ABS and one without, the ABS bike will outperform the conventional every time.

Myth # 4 – New Tires Should be Underinflated

I do not know whether this was ever true, but today’s tires do not need scrubbing. New motorcycle tires may look like there is a protective coating on them, but they is not. New tires today come straight out of the mold and are ready for use. Trying to scrub them clean by riding on underinflated tires can cause damage to the sidewalls and can cause accidents.

Myth # 5 – 18-24 Year Olds Are Most at Risk for a Fatal Motorcycle Crash

This myth makes perfect sense. It is the age group most likely to be involved in a fatal car accident. While rookies run a high degree of risk due to lack of experience, the facts are, according to the National Highway Transport Safety Administration’s latest findings on motorcycle deaths, that the biggest group of riders to be killed in the U.S. are the 40-55 year-olds. NHTSA has been tracking this information for the past 10 years and the single largest group – more than 40% – of all riders killed in U.S. traffic accidents had an average age of 42-years-old.

Myth # 6 – Helmets Reduce Vision

This myth may actually be true, but the data says that cyclists that wear helmets crash less frequently than those that do not wear helmets. I can understand why wearing a helmet would save your life, but it does not really make sense that the mere act of wearing a helmet would make you less likely to crash. However, according to the National Highway Transport Safety Administration’s latest findings riders with helmets are less likely to crash than those that do not wear helmets. Riders who wear helmets are also significantly less likely to die in a motorcycle accident.

Myth # 7 – Helmets Break Necks

This myth goes hand in hand with the myth that if you wear a helmet and are involved in a motorcycle accident you are far more likely to be in a vegetative state or a state of paralysis, as opposed to death. I cannot dispute the fact that a helmet may save your life, leaving you alive with significant injuries, when you may have died without one. However, many accidents which might otherwise be fatal end up with only minor injuries because the rider was wearing a helmet. The numbers clearly say that riders using DOT helmets simply survive crashes more successfully than those without them.

Myth # 8 – Drivers of Cars Do Not Care About Motorcycles

This is an easy myth. It is no more true than all motorcycle riders are dangerous risk takers. Most motorists take great caution to avoid motorcycle accidents. It is just a very few that are not pay attention or a simply unaware of motorcycles that make mistakes with tragic results. Sometimes drivers are distracted and sometimes they simply have not been trained to see motorcycles. Either way it is not that the drivers do not care, it is that they are not exercising proper caution around motorcycles.

Myth # 9 – Loud Pipes Save Lives

There is absolutely no data on this myth. Loud pipes might excite other bikers. They may irritate the neighbors. However, they are largely unheard by that car 75 feet in front of you about to make that left turn. Loud pipes may prevent a car pulling into the lane occupied by a motorcycle, but for most situations it is a largely ineffective way to avoid motorcycle wrecks.

Myth # 10 – Bikers Wearing the Leather are Irresistible

I am throwing this myth out there because it is completely true. Every biker looks better in leather. A nice leather outfit makes a biker irresistible to the opposite sex and there is really no point in denying it.

Be safe out there.

Contact an Experienced Motorcycle Lawyer at Jones Law Group

Have you or a loved one been injured in a motorcycle accident? Contact an experienced St. Petersburg motorcycle accident attorney at Jones Law Group today. When you contact our office we will immediately set an appointment where you will meet your attorney and be provided with his/her personal contact information. If you do not have transportation or you cannot drive, your attorney will travel to meet you and discuss your case with you.

If you or a loved one has been injured in a motorcycle accident caused by the negligence of another, you should immediately call an experienced personal injury attorney in St. Petersburg at Jones Law Group at (727) 571-1333 during regular business hours or (727) 753-8657 on weekends or after regular business hours. We will evaluate your case for free and you will never pay us a dime unless we recover compensation for your injuries.

Jones Law Group
5622 Central Avenue
St. Pete, FL 33707



Heath Murphy

About the Author

Heath Murphy is a partner at Jones Law Group and focuses on personal injury law. He has been working as a lawyer for 18 years and routinely writes about auto accidents, wrongful death, and personal injury laws.

Read more: Heath’s Bio