We report several experiments showing that a Gabor patch moving in apparent motion sequences appears much faster when its orientation is aligned with the motion path than when it is at an angle to it. This effect is very large and peaks at high speeds (64 degrees /s), decreases for higher and lower speeds and disappears at low speeds (4 degrees /s). This speed bias decreases as the angle between the motion axis and the orientation of the Gabor patch increases, but remains high for curvilinear paths, provided that element orientation is kept tangential to the motion trajectory. It is not accounted for by decision strategies relying on the overall length and duration of the motion sequence or the gap size (or spatial jump) between successive frames. We propose a simple explanation, thoroughly developed as a computational model in a companion paper (Seriès, Georges, Lorenceau & Frégnac: "Orientation dependent modulation of apparent speed: a model based on the dynamics of feedforward and horizontal connectivity in V1 cortex", this issue), according to which long-range horizontal connections in V1 elicit differential latency modulations in response to apparent motion sequences, whose read-out at an MT stage results in a perceptual speed bias. The consequences of these findings are discussed.