Motorcycle Myths: 5 Common Misconceptions About Riders

Motorcycling is frequently surrounded by stereotypes and misconceptions, leading to an occasionally unfavorable perception of motorcyclists and their way of life. These myths oversimplify the diversity within the motorcycling community and lead to unjust assumptions by witnesses, authorities, and insurers after an accident.

At Cofman Towsley, our Missouri motorcycle accident lawyers want to clarify these misconceptions about riders to ensure fair treatment and compensation consideration after a crash.

Top Five Myths About Motorcycle Riders

Based on outdated perceptions and stereotypes, riders in Missouri and throughout the U.S. often get a bad rap. Here are the top five myths about motorcyclists and the truth behind the misconceptions:

Myth #1. Motorcyclists Are Reckless Drivers

The myth that motorcyclists are reckless drivers is a widespread stereotype, often fueled by media portrayals and sensational news reports focusing on high-speed chases or accidents. This perception overlooks most motorcyclists who prioritize safety and responsibility while riding.

In reality, motorcyclists must constantly stay focused and adhere strictly to traffic rules to ensure their safety on the road. In Missouri, riders learn safe riding through Motorcycle Safety Program courses, which teach everything from gear requirements to low-speed maneuvers. 

Statistics show that a higher number of accidents involving motorcycles are not due to the rider’s recklessness but instead often result from other drivers’ failure to notice the riders. The NHTSA says that 50% of motorcycle crashes involve another vehicle, with 40% due to the other car turning left in front of a motorcycle.

Myth #2. Only Certain Types of People Ride Motorcycles

The stereotype that only certain types of people ride motorcycles, often depicted in older movies as outlaws or rebels, is an outdated view. Contrary to this image, the motorcycling community is incredibly diverse, spanning various age groups, genders, and backgrounds.

A Federal Highway Safety Administration study found that compared to previous studies, there was an overrepresentation of younger riders (21-30 years old) and that older riders (40-75 years old) were more prevalent than expected. This challenges the notion that motorcycling is only for the young and rebellious.

The study also showed that:

  • Many riders had a high level of formal education
  • A large portion of motorcyclists were married or in cohabitating partnerships
  • Most riders received formal motorcycle training rather than being self-taught

This information highlights the diversity and responsible behavior within the motorcycling community.

Myth #3. All Motorcyclists Are Thrill-Seekers

The myth that all motorcyclists are thrill-seekers is another common stereotype. It’s often based on the assumption that the primary appeal of riding a motorcycle is the pursuit of high-speed excitement.

This myth overlooks the varied motivations behind why people ride. While speed and adrenaline might attract some, many riders are drawn to motorcycle riding for its sense of freedom and community, or its practicality and fuel efficiency. For instance, commuter riders appreciate motorcycles for navigating traffic easily, and touring bikers enjoy leisurely rides focused on scenery and exploration.

Some motorcycle maneuvers that may appear to be thrill-seeking are actually practical safety techniques. Motorcyclists often perform quick swerves to rapidly evade unforeseen road hazards like debris, potholes, or sudden actions from other vehicles.

From an outsider’s perspective, this sudden change in direction might seem like reckless riding. However, it’s a critical defensive skill that helps riders prevent collisions.

Myth #4. Motorcycle Riders Are Aggressive on the Road

The widespread belief that motorcycle riders are reckless often comes from misjudging their need for visibility and maneuverability. In reality, many motorcyclists prioritize defensive riding, maintaining safe distances, being vigilant of their surroundings, and ensuring visibility to other drivers. These practices are safety measures, not signs of aggression.

The motorcycling community frequently promotes road-sharing etiquette and safety awareness, reflecting a commitment to responsible riding. Understanding these aspects of motorcycle riding helps dispel the misconception that motorcyclists are inherently aggressive road users.

Myth #5. Motorcyclists Are Loners and Anti-Social

The notion that motorcyclists are loners and anti-social is a misconception primarily rooted in mid-20th-century movie portrayals. Motorcyclists often belong to close-knit communities and extensive social networks. These groups frequently organize and participate in community events, such as charity rides, demonstrating their sociable and communal nature.

For example, many motorcycling groups host annual charity rides to support children’s hospitals, veterans’ programs, and disaster relief efforts. These events foster a sense of camaraderie among riders and make contributions to societal causes.

In Missouri, these include:

Get Fair Representation After a Motorcycle Crash

It’s time to dispel these common myths about motorcycle riders and embrace a more accurate understanding of this diverse community. Motorcyclists are not defined by reckless behavior, stereotypes, or anti-social tendencies. They are responsible, safety-conscious individuals who contribute positively to society through charity work and community involvement.

If you or a loved one is injured by a negligent driver while out on their motorcycle, get legal assistance from professionals who understand the unique challenges faced by riders like you. At Cofman Townsley, we know motorcycle accident cases, and are committed to advocating for the rights of injured riders. Contact us today to learn more about your options and how we can help you after a crash.