Whether you already own a motorcycle or are just thinking about getting one, you've probably heard quite a few myths about them, ranging from one extreme (they're just like fast bicycles!) to the other (they're exceptionally dangerous!). The truth, as is usually the case, is somewhere in between, and with proper safety and caution, riding a motorcycle can be an enjoyable activity and method of transportation.
It used to be that people associated motorcycle riders with tough biker gangs, but this is far from the case. Nowadays, a motorcycle rider is just as likely to be a dentist as a mechanic, and the traditional idealization of a rough-and-tumble biker is a kind of misconception. Other common myths include:
- Wearing a helmet is more dangerous than not wearing one
- Most motorcycle accidents happen on the freeway
- Motorcycles are extremely dangerous
Some people still believe that you have to be extremely strong to ride a motorcycle. While it is true that a motorcycle rider needs at least some physical strength to operate the machine, it takes no greater strength than a normal person possesses. Motorcycle riders can be anyone from a large man to a small woman, with bike models available to fit people of any size.
Wearing a helmet is more dangerous than not wearing one
This myth is by far one of the most dangerous. Some riders claim that helmets hinder hearing and obscure peripheral vision, making operating the motorcycle more dangerous. However, manufacturers specifically make helmets to be lightweight, and experts have designed them to ensure they do not obscure visibility. Additionally, at high speeds, wearing a helmet can actually improve your hearing because it blocks out the roar of the wind in your ears. Statistics and testing definitively prove that wearing a helmet can save your life.
Most motorcycle accidents happen on the freeway
While you may have heard that the freeway is the most dangerous place to ride your motorcycle, the opposite is actually true. On highways, all vehicles - from cars to commercial trucks to motorcycles - are driving in the same direction and moving at approximately the same speed. Motorcycle accidents are more likely to occur at urban intersections when different types of vehicle are traveling at varying speeds, starting, stopping and turning.
Motorcycles are extremely dangerous
It's true that riding a motorcycle carries a certain amount of risk, but you can say the same of activities like skiing and horseback riding. Just as with any hobby, the more prepared and experienced you are, the safer you'll be. In fact, the leading cause of motorcycle accidents is riding while intoxicated. While other drivers are sometimes to blame, nearly half of all motorcycle crashes occur because the rider was intoxicated, so it's wise to avoid alcohol before riding just as you would before driving a car.
Unfortunately, no matter how careful you are, you cannot control the actions of others. Far too often, careless drivers injure motorcycle riders because the driver fails to properly watch out. Motorcyclists can all too easily be thrown long distances or crushed in a collision with a much larger vehicle. If you are in pain and suffering after another driver injured you, or if find yourself facing mounting medical expenses, you may want to consider seeking the advice of an Alabama attorney with experience in pursuing compensation for motorcycle accident victims.