The second you announce to friends and family members that you're getting a motorcycle, you're going to hear two things -- it's dangerous, and you shouldn't get one.
Immediately after that's out of the way, however, you're going to start hearing various "pearls of wisdom" about riding a motorcycle. It seems like everybody has a piece of advice for new riders (even if they've never so much as sat on the seat of a motorcycle themselves).
Here are a few things you're going to hear, as well as the actual truth about riding a motorcycle:
1. Bikers just want to look "cool" in all that leather they wear.
No, they don't. Leather functions as a second skin -- which is what you need if you ever hit the pavement. The first time you have to lay down your bike, you'll understand the painful reality of why bikers invest in leather riding gear.
2. Loud pipes save lives.
Maybe they did, back in the day when air conditioning wasn't common in cars and drivers kept their windows down. Now, drivers keep their windows up and their radios or GPS devices going. They aren't going to hear your pipes. You need to find ways to attract their attention visually, instead.
3. A full-faced helmet makes it hard to see.
No, it doesn't. Those helmets are very carefully designed, and the Department of Transportation (DOT) has strict safety standards that ensure you'll still have a 210-degree or better field of view. Full-face helmets provide a lot more protection against the natural elements and help reduce distractions like bugs flying into your mouth at top speed.
4. Just make sure you stay where drivers can see you.
Here's the scary reality on this one: You can be right in front of a car and the driver still won't see you. There's a well-documented phenomenon that occurs when passenger car drivers and bikers share the road. The passenger car driver's brain just doesn't process the presence of the motorcyclist without a little extra visual nudge like psychedelic helmet colors and eye contact.
If you're injured in a motorcycle accident because of another driver's mistake, find out more about your right to compensation.