Motorcycle Superstitions that may or may not be true and their explanations

It’s the beginning of the riding season. Along with the necessary post-winter prep, some people feel it’s just as necessary to attend a local blessing of the bikes and make sure their guardian bells are attached. These and other superstitions provide absolutely no tangible benefit to the motorcycle, but it makes the riders feel better, and who knows? Maybe there is some spiritual benefit that we can’t measure in tangible terms to these Motorcycle Superstitions. They may be true or they may not AMERiders gives some explanations.

Motorcycle riders can be a notoriously superstitious bunch. Perhaps it’s an extension of always being on guard against that dog, Prius, or school bus that cuts you off without seeing you. Whatever the reason, bikers hold many common beliefs that may or may not be rooted in fact. Here are a few of them to mull over that may or may not be true.

Blessing of the Bikes

Motorcycle superstitions

One of the first events of the year that many riders attend is a Blessing of the Bikes ceremony, often held in a local church parking lot. Since riders come from all spiritual paths, such ceremonies are usually non-denominational.

That includes religion, sportbike vs. cruiser, Harley vs. the world, etc. While there is no tangible proof that a blessing from Jesus, Mohammed, or the Flying Spaghetti Monster will provide any additional protection while you ride, every little bit helps, and I’m not going to sit here and tell you that it doesn’t.

Guardian Bells

Motorcycle superstitions

One of my personal favorite Motorcycle Superstitions and I have one for my husbands bike is the Guardian Bell. Along with bestowing good juju upon your bike, many also attempt to ward off bad juju with guardian bells. The legend goes that evil spirits try to latch onto your bike and cause mischief, mechanical failures, and crashes. A bell on your bike will attract these spirits, then trap them inside. The constant jangling of the bell drives them insane, at which point they let go and fall harmlessly to the ground.

Another important aspect of this ritual is that you may not buy your own guardian bell. You must receive it as a gift for it to be effective. This helps build friendship and camaraderie among riders. The only disadvantage I can see is if you ride a relatively quiet bike, and the incessant jangling of the bell drives you insane instead of the spirits.  If you need one you can get one here.

Riding With Rear Pegs Down

Another way bad spirits can hitch a ride is if your passenger footpegs are down, but you do not have a passenger. Spirits apparently view this as an invitation to hop on board and cause trouble. It’s not clear how well a guardian bell works in this case.

Also not clear is how it interferes with this being a common practice in a funeral motorcade. Since having your pegs down invites spirits, this is actually an open invitation for the spirit of the deceased to hop on and join you for one last ride.

Green Bikes

We’ve seen this covered on many sites and we’ll cover it soon, but to summarize, some believe that green motorcycles are bad luck. (Clearly, nobody’s mentioned this to Kawasaki.) The belief likely goes back to World War II. Messengers and scouts often rode army motorcycles, painted green, and were often targets for snipers and sharpshooters. 

Causation does not equal correlation, however. Another theory is that after the war, many army surplus bikes were sold to the general public. These were not always in the best state of repair when their new owners began to ride them, leading to unfortunate consequences. Needless to say, Kawasaki has proven that green bikes are not all bad, and are actually quite good…

Riding a Dead Man’s Bike

Now this is a Motorcycle Superstitions I can get behind! I believe in ghosts, there I said it I have seen them… so this is a good one for me. Some believe that it is bad luck to ride a motorcycle owned by someone who has died. They don’t have to have died while riding the motorcycle for this to be true. The idea is that if the deceased catch you riding their old bike, they’ll swoop down out of the blue and knock your butt right off it.

I once knew someone that owned this old Suzuki GS1100L. It was a full dresser in its past life. Then it suffered an unfortunate meeting with a moose, which of course it lost. The couple it was bought it from had bought the wreck and fixed it up as a naked bike, the fairings and baggage having suffered most of the damage. I have no idea how damaged the rider was in that crash, or whether they made it out alive. I do know that regardless, my friend never crashed that bike themselves.

Dropping a Helmet

It’s often considered bad luck to wear a helmet that’s been dropped. I don’t know where this superstition came from, but it’s one of the few that is absolutely true. Motorcycle helmets are designed to protect you against one big hit.

When you drop a helmet, it can’t tell whether the cat knocked it off the table or this hit is was a bad crash. Either way, plastic can crack, the foam can compress, and the helmet won’t provide as much protection as it did before the hit. So do yourself a favor and be very careful not to drop your helmet.

Not Stopping To Help a Fellow Rider

Motorcycle superstitions

Finally, it’s considered bad luck if you see another rider on the side of the road, and you do not stop to check and make sure they’re okay. They may be broken down, out of gas, or simply taking a quick drink, but superstition says you should stop and check on them anyway.

I have no idea what luck has to do with it, but it’s an excellent practice that I follow regardless of superstition. I’ve also been thankful when other riders stopped to check on me, whether I needed any help or not. We have to watch out for each other out there.

However, you know what I’m really superstitious about? A soccer mom, in a massive SUV. She’s usually either texting or talking on a cell phone, while her kids bounce around in the back fighting or playing video games. She’s so oblivious to everything on the road that she never, ever sees me on my motorcycle. That’s what I call my bad luck omen.

~And as always…

~Live Free Ride Hard~



Motorcycle superstitions

Let AMERiders keep you up to date with information on Motorcycle Superstitions and our explanations of them.

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