Regular commuters or non-bikers, have a lot of misconceptions about motorcycles and motorcycle riding and in a country like India, you will come across many. Sometimes, the biggest misconceptions about riding come from riders themselves! We list down 5 things which only a DUMB biker will say !!
1) Wearing gear is pointless, you’re gonna die if you crash anyway
Most of us know that’s a bit far-fetched, but that’s the perception a lot of people have of motorcycles. Motorcycles are dangerous, but they are much more likely to injure you than kill you; wearing gear, especially helmets, will dramatically reduce both the extent and severity of that injury. Statistics show that riders are actually more unlikely to die in a motorcycle accident. The Department of Transportation and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration statistics show that even unhelmeted riders only have a 39% chance of dying in a motorcycle accident, meaning there’s a 61% chance they’ll live in whatever way they survive.
Extensive research shows that helmets improve the chance of survival in a motorcycle crashing by a whopping 37%; it also dramatically reduces the probability and severity of head injuries, the cost of medical treatment, the length of hospital stays, the need for special medical treatments (like ventilation and intubation) and long-term disability. Unhelmeted riders are 3 times more likely to sustain traumatic brain injury in an accident than helmeted riders; even bicycle riders have higher rates of brain trauma when a helmet is not used, and they operate a much lower speeds than we do!
2) Helmets cause more accidents than they prevent because they block your vision and hearing
We promote “ATGATT” (all the gear, all the time) and it works. But we know a lot of riders don’t wear it all the time, perhaps opting to wear armored jeans instead of armored pants for commuting, or ditching the jacket on a short ride on a sunny day. It’s a measured risk, and a personal choice that every rider needs to make before every ride. But when it comes to helmets, it is flat out stupid to ride without one – at any time.
Study reveals that the effects on vision and hearing between helmeted and non-helmeted riders and found, on the whole, no measurable reduction in hearing ability. Then, in cases where peripheral vision was hampered by the helmet, riders compensated by simply turning their heads more. Yup, turning your head a couple more degrees and having a look at the rear view mirrors is apparently all it takes to debunk this argument.
3) Using hearing protection is dangerous and causes crashes
Convincing some riders to wear ear plugs while riding is a tough sell, because the assumption is that they cut off your ability to hear threats, and react to them. Many riders opt to ride with no hearing protection, thinking they can “hear everything” and that makes them safer.
But that logic is wrong for multiple reasons. First off, hearing protection doesn’t cut off your hearing completely – it simply reduces noise levels below the threshold where they are damaging to your hearing. Motorcycle riders are exposed to constant loud noise while riding (the worst, surprisingly, being the effect of wind noise) and exposure to those high sound levels for extended time periods causes permanent, irreversible hearing loss. Hearing protection merely takes the edge off those intense, high-decibel sounds – it doesn’t make you “deaf.”
4) Sometimes the best thing to do is “lay ‘er down.”
Some riders explain how they got into an accident. The rationale is that, in the split second it took to lose control of their bike, they consciously opted to let their bike fall into a more “controlled” lowside instead of trying to regain control, and ending up in a more violent highside. In otherwords, it’s a way for people who crashed to make themselves sound like they knew what they were doing when they did it, and it’s ridiculous.
The problem with this logic is that, when “laying ‘er down,” the rider would at some point had to have assumed the crash was going to happen – and then either initiated it, or simply allowed it to happen. That would only be done if a rider had absolutely no idea what else to do, and is just the result of a lack of skill – not the intelligent split-second decision they like to make it sound like it was!
The fact is that there is no such thing as a “controlled crash,” and you are much better off attempting to retain control of your bike through evasive maneuvering and emergency braking, betting on even a small chance that you can recover. If you’re really going to crash, it will be a result of the laws of physics – and you won’t be able to stop it. Letting your bike crash, or worse, initiating one, should never be an option. If it does happen, it should be despite your best efforts to prevent it!
5) Using loud exhausts makes you safer when riding on the street.
How running louder exhausts helps them get noticed by other cars that otherwise cannot see them? Few riders claim to get into fewer “close calls” with loud exhausts on their bikes. Loud pipes annoy many. Fact is that loud pipes may get you noticed more, but statistically, they do not make you safer – practising good riding habits, increasing your skills, and gearing up, does.