Motorcycle riders have many odd beliefs. Some warranted. Some superstitious. One such is green bikes.
Many motorcycle riders believe that green motorcycles bring bad luck. And they are prone to accidents and crashes.
The belief comes from the world war era.
But, in today’s time, it is just a superstition.
For those still wondering, nope, green motorcycles do NOT really bring bad luck.
But let’s discuss first why people believe that green bikes are bad luck. And what are the reasons for it.
Is green bad luck for motorcycles?
Many motorcycle riders have a superstitious belief that green motorcycles are bad luck.
They believe that green motorcycles bring bad luck and are prone to accidents and crashes.
This bad luck belief stems from the world war era. The reason is detailed in the next section.
In short, lots of military personnel died in the war. And by happenstance, the motorcycles used by the military were of green color.
And this led to the widespread belief that green motorcycles bring bad luck. They are bad omens.
While the belief makes sense in the post-war era, in today’s time it is just a superstition.
There is no evidence – scientific or empirical, that suggests green motorcycles bring bad luck.
So, nope. Green motorcycles do NOT really bring bad luck.
The belief is as same as the cat crossing your path. No backing. Only superstition.
Reasons why green motorcycles are considered bad luck
There are many theories on how this belief originated.
The most popular is the world war II one.
Let’s dive into it. Along with the other reasons.
#1: World War II – Green Harleys
The most probable origin of this belief came from World War II. And most people believe this is the cause of green motorcycles’ bad rep started here.
During World War II, motorcycles were used extensively used. Especially for reconnaissance and communication.
Allied forces, especially the US, used motorcycles extensively.
And guess which motorcycles were used the most? (This can be a good WWII quiz question).
And the answer is…
Harley Davidson WLA.
And the big part, guess which color these motorcycles were?
Yup. You guessed it right.
These green Harelys were at the forefront and used for delivering messages and surveillance.
But, once the German forces discovered this, their snipers made green motorcycles their target.
Soon the military riders on motorcycles were facing casualties. The German snipers hounded any riders on these green Harley motorcycles.
In no time, people started associating green motorcycles (especially green Harleys) with bad omens.
And the belief persisted (still persists to an extent) even decades after the war.
#2: Subpar Green Motorcycles
Post World War II, the use of motorcycles in the military decreased.
The motorcycles used in military frontlines entered the aftermarket. And soon they were resold at a good price as they had a military tag.
Heck, it is rumored even the manufacturers themselves refurbished these green motorcycles and resold them.
But these motorcycles didn’t perform well for the domestic rider.
Most of these motorcycles were worn out, had lots of mechanical issues, and broke down far too much.
The motorcycles, still painted in green, caught on more bad rep. The subpar performance made them associated with lots of breakdowns.
And soon enough, bikers started seeing green motorcycles as subpar and bad ones.
Coupled with the bad omen view from World War II, green bikes soon went out of fashion.
#3: Racing accidents
This is applicable especially to green cars.
In the racing arena, again back in the 50s and 60s, green cars started to see lots of accidents and crashes.
I couldn’t substantiate though. Whether green racing cars had more accidents than others – I couldn’t find any solid evidence.
But the theory still remains.
With so many accidents (supposedly) associated with green cars, the racing community soon started avoiding them.
Notable of these crashes were of Gaston Chevrolet. The Indianapolis 500 Champion, was reported to be driving a green car when he met with the fatal track crash.
Green cars became a no go for these racers.
The same belief spread out to moto racing as well.
And before we know it, a large portion of the motorcycle community started avoiding green motorcycles.
Out of all the reasons, this theory seems the weakest. At least for me. Nonetheless, the theory still persists.
#4: Color-associated reasons
This is beyond just motorcycles.
As for superstitions go, many see green as a bad color.
For these people, green represents jealousy, envy, and sickness.
Green was also the serpent’s color in the Garden of Eden which caused the downfall of Adam and Eve.
And phrases like ‘green-eyed monsters‘, and ‘green with envy‘ – fuels this negative connotation of green color.
I am cherry-picking here of course. People who associate green as not a desirable color are going to look for this.
On the other end, there are some great associations with the green color. It is viewed as a symbol of freshness, nature, and even hope.
Whatever the symbolism may be.
The superstitions persist. As a result, many people don’t buy green motorcycles.
Green Harley Davidson
The belief that green motorcycles are bad is far more pronounced in Harley Davidson motorcycles.
It’s obvious, isn’t it?
The green motorcycles from World War II were Harleys.
The post world war, surplus sale of crappy bikes – were again Harleys.
So, it’s no surprise. The bad rep for green bikes is so much more directed toward Harley Davidson bikes.
The superstition is far more prevalent toward green Harleys. Far more than green motorcycles.
The surprising part?
Even Harley Davidson, for quite some years, slowed down on green motorcycles.
The motorcycle giant bowed down to the superstition definitely for a few years. Or even close to a decade.
But in the recent years, the manufacturer had released more green models. Most notable of them are:
- Harley Davidson Road King
- Harley Davidson Street Glide
Is the superstition valid?
The green motorcycles are bad luck belief made more sense in the post world war era in the 1950s.
But in today’s time, the belief is definitely a superstition.
But is the superstition valid?
Who am I to comment on someone’s belief. Especially when the belief does NOT harm anybody.
Except for some sales numbers for the motorcycle manufacturer. 😉
All in all, it’s okay.
It’s okay if you believe green motorcycles are bad luck.
And it’s okay if you think green motorcycles are not bad luck.
Kawasaki with its Green Motorcycles
When you talk green motorcycles, you can’t just not mention Kawasaki Ninja motorcycles.
When the motorcycle community was apprehensive about green motorcycles, Kawasaki came out with their lime green colored Ninja bikes.
In the 1970s, Kawasaki was struggling to make their models stand out in the market.
And with a spark of marketing innovation, they painted their new motorcycle models lime green. The models were racing bikes nonetheless.
Thus formed the legacy of Ninja motorcycles.
Even today Ninja models are one of the most popular racing motorcycles worldwide.
Kawasaki for sure didn’t believe in the ‘green bikes – bad bikes‘ theory.
No color is unlucky for motorcycles. But few bike riders believe green color motorcycles are bad luck. The superstitious belief is that green bikes bring accidents and crashes.
Again, there is no lucky color for motorcycles. Just like there is no unlucky color. However, in general, white is considered a good color for vehicles. And hence, motorcycles.
By all means, you can go ahead and buy a green motorcycle. There are lots of stunning green bikes out there in the market. Especially within Kawasaki and Harley Davidson.
So, feel free and go buy that favorite green bike of yours!
Before you go…
Along with green motorcycles, there are a few more biker beliefs. We have covered a few: