Does your heart skip a beat when you hear a motorcycle revving up and driving past? Do you experience excitement when seeing motorcycles out on the street as they cruise to work or social activities? You may even imagine riding your own bike the moment you get out from work. However, not everyone feels the same when they see a motorcycle out on the road. In fact, some drivers have a lot of misconceptions when they’re sharing the road with motorcycles.
These misconceptions can hold dire consequences for both motorcyclists and drivers, as it can increase the likelihood of accidents. In 2016, there were 4,796 motorcycle deaths. By understanding these myths and misconceptions, all drivers can learn to respect motorcyclists and not overreact when they see one approaching their vehicle.
5 Common Misconceptions Drivers Have About Motorcyclists
Motorcycles are dangerous
Motorcycles are no different than other vehicles on the road. They only pose a danger when not driven properly or if the driver has been impaired in some way. Also, motorcyclists obey traffic rules just like other drivers and do not go out of their way in breaking regulations. A motorcycle driver doesn’t just decide to hop on their bike and go above the speed limit or make illegal traffic turns as if the laws don’t apply to them.
Motorcyclists are breaking the law when lane splitting or lane sharing
It always depends on the state and country. In places such as Europe, lane splitting is legal. In the United States, many states don’t have explicit laws in regards to lane splitting or lane sharing. California made it legal for lane splitting. Other states such as Texas, Ohio, and West Virginia do not have any laws forbidding lane splitting and don’t prohibit it. Recently, organizations have been attempting to pass laws to make the driving maneuver legal, so these laws may change in the future.
Motorcyclists are just biker gangs and thieves
It’s true that there are biker gangs and motorcycle clubs across the country, but not every motorcyclist should be generalized in such a negative light. Bikers come in all genders, age groups, and professions. Older couples may ride their motorcycles out on warm Sunday afternoons to enjoy the scenery.
People in a range of professions, including doctors and paramedics, may drive to work on their motorcycles. Teens as young as 14 can drive a motorcycle with a learner’s permit so long as they are supervised by a licensed motorcycle operator who is 19 years of age or older.
Women aren’t strong enough or big enough to drive a motorcycle
Many drivers believe that women are too weak to drive a motorcycle, yet out of the 8.4 million motorcycle registrations in 2014, female motorcycle ownership climbed to 14%. With the range of different motorcycle brands and styles, women are finding their sweet ride and taking to the streets. There has also been an increase in riding events geared toward women. Just like men, many women have the physical and mental ability to handle motorcycle driving.
Motorcyclists can’t see traffic or hear around them due to wearing a helmet
This misconception still persists to this day. A motorcycle helmet does not impair the motorcyclist’s vision of other vehicles around them, and they can hear other traffic including emergency sirens. A helmet is designed to provide protection for the rider and to minimize injuries during accidents. Motorcyclists who are paying attention to their surroundings will definitely see and hear other drivers when wearing a helmet.
When it comes to motorcycle driving and car motorists, a commonsense approach is to pay attention to other drivers and not to draw misconceptions regarding their driving abilities simply because a rider is on a vehicle that has two or three wheels instead of four wheels. Make sure to give motorcyclists space to ride just like you would other car drivers.
By being responsible out on the road, you can lessen the number of fatal accidents that happen to motorcyclists. Make sure to share the road and be courteous to all drivers no matter the type of motor vehicle.