Can you really slip on an old banana peel?

posted: 04/11/12
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As seen in "MythBusters: Banana Slip, Double Dip."
Chris Bell/Getty Images

Finding: BUSTED

Explanation: The banana peel fall: It"s a myth that got its start in the early 1900s when bananas became the most popular fruit in the United States. People would toss their scrap skins on the sidewalks, where they rotted and became slippery. Enough people slipped on the aging peels and were injured that many places enacted anti-littering laws. The myth has been perpetuated in slapstick comedy over the years.

Contrary to comedic genius, MythBusters found that — although the slick underside of a fresh banana skin does have some friction-reducing properties — a single peel isn't a guaranteed fall magnet. If you're determined to see some major slippage, try running on layers of peels. Putting peel upon peel reduces static friction, the force that keeps an object from moving when it goes from "stop" to "start." And the older the peels, the more slippery they will be, because the solid material decomposes into a soft, slimy texture.

Don't have a boatload of aging banana peels? No worries. With a fair amount of comedic effort, you can recreate the ol' banana peel pratfall by purposefully stepping on an old banana skin. It just isn't likely to happen by accident.

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