back to articles | February 02, 2024 | Moses Mwangi

Categories: Motorcycle

10 Common Myths About Motorcycles

Riding a motorcycle is quite an existing experience in the modern world.


Riding a motorcycle is quite an existing experience in the modern world. Besides providing transportation, riding is a fulfilling activity with no destination, especially when cruising through scenic spots like a national park or a winding mountain road. Riding a bike also leads to an immediate friendship with fellow riders.

However, most people are unaware of the particulars of riding a motorcycle, which leads to the creation of myths and misinformation. Most of these myths persist based on false assumptions, and even experienced riders are prone to believe in some of these falsehoods. Here are the ten most common motorcycle myths.

Motorcycles are less reliable than cars

Since a car is far more expensive than a bike, unless you take an auto loan to make it affordable, it’s easy to assume that vehicles are more reliable than two-wheelers. The fact is that there is no right answer to this since every car varies in construction, design, and engineering. Usage and maintenance also play a huge part in how your bike or car performs over time.

However, motorcycles have a lot going on for them when it comes to reliability. They are much smaller than cars, meaning they are easier to work on, though they have fewer parts that can easily break. Bikes are also easier to get into for less skilled mechanics. However, when well-maintained, a motorcycle engine can last up to 160,000 km or 15 years.

Other road users don’t care about riders

This is one of the most common false myths that have long lingered on among motorcyclists. While statistics show that riders meet with more road accidents than other vehicle drivers, it’s not that other road users are out there to hurt them.

Most hits or near-misses on the road occur because larger vehicle drivers don’t see the riders. Maybe they are in their blindspots, or the motorcyclist hasn’t kept a distance from the vehicle. Of course, other aspects like overspeeding, violating traffic rules, and weather-related issues could also lead to a crash.

Nothing beats skills and safe road-sharing habits when it comes to road safety. Therefore, to ensure other road users see you, wear brightly-colored riding gear and turn on your headlights. Moreover, always use your motorcycle signals when turning and avoid maneuvering through speeding vehicles or squeezing through tiny pockets of space.

Helmets increase the likelihood of spinal injuries

Another popular myth from the anti-helmet people is that helmets increase the chances of the rider suffering from spinal injuries. While this myth was debunked over 10 years ago, you will still hear it occasionally from people advocating for anti-helmet laws.

According to a study, wearing a helmet reduces the likelihood of suffering from a spinal injury by 22% in the event of a crash. Even long before that, this myth has been proven wrong a dozen times by peer-reviewed medical studies, though it’s still somewhat common within the riding community.

You are free to state your cases if you think helmets aren’t mandatory. However, don’t make it about motorcycle safety.

Loud pipes save lives

You have probably heard that the louder the motorcycle, the safer you will be on the road. This makes logical sense, as when the sound of your bike draws attention to your location, motorists will be aware of your position, making you (the rider) safer.

However, research shows that motorcycles are less likely to be heard inside of a car in most cases until you are already within an unsafe distance to avoid a collision. To save lives, consider wearing proper safety gear and conducting a T-LOCS inspection on your motorcycles.

A full-face helmet blocks your view and hearing

Most states advocate for helmets certified by the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT). For a helmet to qualify as DOT-certified, the manufacturer must adhere to the standards established by the National Highway Traffic Administration (NHTSA). According to these standards, helmets should have at least 105 degrees of peripheral vision on each side.

The fear of limited view or hearing that would hinder a rider’s ability to see danger is a lie; no facts or science supports this. In fact, helmets make the ride more comfortable by reducing noise from the wind. They also offer protection to your face and eyes and absorb shock in the event of an accident.

You should never use the front brake

Jamming on the front brake will send you off the ground over the handlebars when bicycling, but this isn’t the case on a motorcycle. A two-wheeler is heavy enough to resist tipping forward unless you force it while hitting the brake. According to the Motorcycle Safety Foundation, the front brake generates over 70% of the stopping power of a motorcycle, giving the front tire more grip.

Using the front brake to stop a bike is generally more effective and safer than depending on the rear brake. The front brake also offers increased stability and control, particularly in an emergency where the rear wheel can lock up and skid, resulting in loss of control. Applying both brakes together gives the shortest stopping distance.

Younger riders are reckless and prone to accidents

There is no evidence to support this claim, and it’s completely false. In fact, both experienced and younger motorcyclists are at risk in the event of a road accident.

Skilled riders might respond better to certain situations but must always be cautious as less experienced riders on the road. Learning is a continuous process for every road user, and every situation should be judged individually.

In case of a crash, it’s safer to lay down your motorcycle

As far as motorcycle myths are concerned, this isn’t quite as ambiguous. There have been cases where riders slid both themselves and their bike under closed checkpoints or gates since they clearly didn’t have enough time to slow down. As a result, they avoid the obstacle by leading themselves to crash.

However, laying your bike down isn’t always the best choice. This is because you are directly putting yourself in a dangerous situation and one that you completely have no control over.

Once your motorcycle is down and the wheels have left the artery, you have no idea where and what you will slide into or whether you will even slide at all. A perfectly executed emergency brake or zigzag maneuver is a much better option.

Riding in the streets is safer than on highways

Due to the reduced speed, most riders believe that residential roads and city streets are safer routes compared to highways. However, city streets run the risk of intersection accidents, a leading cause of motorcyclist injury and death. The most common accident is when a vehicle fails to yield the right way and turn left into a bike at an intersection.

Since everyone travels in the same direction on highways, there are no instances where a driver can pop out unexpectedly. There are also fewer roadside obstacles and no pedestrians to hit. Even with high speeds on the highways, these aspects typically make them safer to ride on than streets.

Riding gear is too hot and uncomfortable

Unperforated leather gear can be unbearably hot in the summer, especially in traffic. Fortunately, for motorcyclists all over the world, there are a lot of classic gear alternatives designed specifically for riding in hot weather and summer months. These could include cool suits, cooling underarmors, vented options, cooling scarves, and even ceramic-infused super fabrics. Proper riding gear should ideally offer sufficient protection and ventilation when riding.

Of course, sitting in traffic on top of a hot bike in full riding gear is likely to be pretty uncomfortable. However, lying on a hospital bed covered with layers of dry blankets is almost one thousand times worse. Choose wisely.

Bottom line

Motorcycle myths make for good stories, but they should remain as they are: myths. Having wrong information or sharing common misconceptions regarding motorcycles as facts can be a serious safety danger. While you may be biased regarding motorcycle safety, motorcycle riding requires skills, proper gear, and a quality collision-avoidance system.