There are myths and legends that surround almost any group of the misunderstood. The same goes for activities of choice that not all people participate in. Motorcycling may have the lion’s share of these myths, many of them negative. The following are some of these myths, and their truths, for your reading pleasure. It is our hope that some of these will change the way you perceive the good people across the country who have made motorcycling their pastime of choice.
This is by far one of the most perpetuated myths about this class of people. In truth, people who ride motorcycles come from all walks of life. There has recently been a shift in the way that people tend to think of motorcyclists, thanks to high-profile riders like Jay Leno and other celebrities.
Head to a bike rally, and you will see an equal mix of laborers, military veterans, dentists, physicians, service workers and the like. The pastime transcends the boundaries of gender, race and class. It is a great way to meet people who are both like and unlike yourself. Are there really rough riders out there who break the law at every turn? Of course. But there are people walking down the street who are just the same.
Motorcycles are no more dangerous than any other pastime in which some risk is involved. Is it more dangerous to ride a motorcycle than drive a car? Not necessarily, unless you factor in the injuries that could be sustained in an accident. Without a vehicle’s shell to protect you, a motorcycle accident can be quite dangerous. When ridden correctly and with diligence, motorcycles are not as dangerous as people like to think.
Um…no. The only thing that is “like riding a bike” is riding a bike. Bikes are not ridden on the highway, they are not driven at 70 mph or more, and they involve a whole different skill set. Do you need to be able to balance? Sure. But riding a bicycle and driving a motorcycle really do not compare.
This one has some basis in reality. You do have to have strength to ride a motorcycle, but only a normal amount. There are motorcycles available to fit everyone. The largest segment of new motorcyclists is women. How many do you know that could bench press as much as a man? While there are some, they aren’t commonplace. You do not have to be of a certain height or weight to ride a motorcycle, nor do you have to have muscles like Popeye.
Many people think that hitting even a small rock in the road will send a motorcycle flying into a ditch. If this were true, we wouldn’t see any motorcycles on the road. If you are riding a motorcycle and you run over a small rock in the road, you feel much of what you feel in a car. You bump over the rock and keep moving forward. If you run into a patch of loose gravel, on the other hand, you may experience problems, but if you know how to ride properly you should be able to make it through just fine.
It seems as if this would be correct. You squeeze the front brakes and momentum carries the back wheel up and over. Today’s motorcycles have larger, more powerful brakes on the front wheel than on the rear. Riders don’t fly over the handlebars when the brakes are depressed. In fact, they have more control braking from the front than from the rear.
You may hear a tall tale of a motorcyclist having had to “lay it down” to avoid a collision. While this has certainly happened at some point in time, it is not the norm. Motorcycle accidents happen just as quickly as car accidents. If a motorcyclist has enough time to think about laying it down and actually perform the maneuver, they had enough time to avoid the accident altogether.
This one simply makes no sense. There has been exhaustive research that shows wearing a helmet is one of the most important things you can do on a motorcycle when it comes to safety. This myth may have come about because some riders like to claim that a helmet blocks sound and peripheral vision. Like with many other things in life, there are choices. There are a variety of modern helmets that are useful, safe and completely wearable.
Okay. It could be true…right? Wrong. This one may have been started by parents who didn’t want their teenage children considering riding one of “those things.” Motorcycles hardly ever spontaneously combust. If they do, it’s because there is an unknown leak in the fuel system. In fact, car fires are much more common than motorcycle fires. If motorcycles caught on fire for no reason at all, we would see very few, if any, on the road.
Like with anything else in life, the more you understand about something, the less you fear it. The next time you see a motorcycle gathering, stop and chat. Chances are all of those bikes you see are riding for a charity that could use your help, too. Bikers have earned a reputation that is highly undeserved.
If you have been involved in a motorcycle accident in Miami, call our office. We will provide you with a free case evaluation and advise you of the options you have under Florida law. Do not assume that an insurance company has your best interests in mind when they offer you a settlement. An experienced attorney can tell you exactly what is fair. Call now.