Whether you enjoy taking your bike on short trips, long trips or it’s your primary mode of transportation, learning how to be a safe motorcycle rider is essential. You’ve likely heard a wide range of safety tips for motorcyclists. But not all tips are created equal. We’re taking a closer look at four common motorcycle safety myths.

MYTH: Helmets impair sight.

FACT: Federal safety standards mandate helmets provide a 210 degree field of vision, preventing your peripheral vision from being obstructed.

MYTH: A helmet won’t make a difference in a crash.

FACT: According to a 2016 study, helmets were found effective in reducing head, facial and brain injuries to motorcyclists. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention noted helmets reduced the risk of death by 37 percent and saved approximately 1,772 lives in 2015.

MYTH: Drivers can always see you.

FACT: One of the most important motorcycle safety tips for new riders? Drive defensively. Motorcycles are less visible than cars, which makes it essential that you always ride defensively and make every effort to be as visible as possible to other automobiles and their drivers on the road. To make yourself more visible, avoid riding in other drivers blind spots or riding too closely to other vehicles. It is also advisable to wear bright colors and think about how you are positioned on the road to reduce the likelihood you are hidden behind anything.

MYTH: City streets are safer than highways or interstates.

FACT: According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), of motorcyclist deaths in 2015, 13 percent were on interstates and freeways. Forty-seven percent were located on non-interstate major roads and 28 percent were classified as minor roads.

Err on the Side of Safety

Taking extra precautions can help keep you safe. Consider these safety tips before you take your motorcycle out on the road.

Antilock brakes (ABS): IIHS reports motorcycles with ABS brakes were 37 percent less likely to be involved in a fatal crash than motorcycles without ABS brakes.

Protective gear: There’s nothing quite like enjoying your surroundings and fresh air on a motorcycle, but because a motorcycle doesn’t offer the same protection a car does, it’s important to protect yourself with the proper gear. Hopefully you’re never involved in a crash, but wearing motorcycle-specific gear such as a leather or Kevlar jacket, long pants, gloves, closed toe footwear, helmet and goggles can help protect you from less-than-ideal weather conditions and effects of a crash. When you head out for a ride, leave your shorts, T-shirt and sandals at home and replace them with more protective riding apparel. 

Bad weather and road hazards: Look at the weather forecast before heading out for a cruise on your motorcycle. Bad weather conditions like rain and snow can cause slippery road conditions and limited visibility.

A motorcycle can be a lot of fun, and practicing safe riding and protecting your bike are keys to enjoying the open road. Talk to your Farm Bureau agent to be sure your motorcycle insurance offers the right amount of protection. And if you bundle your motorcycle coverage with your auto and/or home insurance with us, you could save time and money. Be sure to ask your Farm Bureau agent about our Farm Bureau Member’s Choice policy.