Does Motorcycle Safety Gear Really Help?
When you ride a motorcycle, you are going the same speed as other vehicles on the road and you are exposed to the same risks. Nevertheless, you are doing all this without the protection that passenger vehicles offer, so it only makes sense that you’d want as much protection as possible.
Motorcyclists wear the following safety gear to keep themselves safe:
- Eye Protection
- Special pants or suits
- Body armor
- Elbow/shin/knee guards
- Hearing protection
Here’s how each piece helps:
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), motorcyclists who wear helmets are 30% more likely to survive any crashes they get into. Helmets also offer protection from the wind, sun, debris, and bugs.
You can purchase any type of helmet (full-face, open face, and skull caps) – just make sure that it’s Department of Transportation (DOT) approved and fits snugly.
If you’re not wearing a full-face helmet, you will need to keep your vision clear. Shatter-resistant glasses that provide UV protection can keep wind, dirt, and other debris from obstructing your vision. Standard sunglasses usually don’t cut it as eye protection, so you may want to consider a pair of motorcycling goggles.
Motorcycle jackets allow you to slide along the asphalt in the event of a collision and protect you from road rash. Some jackets even come with built-in armor that can preserve your back and prevent broken bones. Look for jackets with thick leather and Kevlar to protect your skin, and try them on to make sure they fit comfortably in your riding position. The best jackets have tight closures at the neck and wrists while offering ventilation and removable insulation for all weather conditions.
In many falls, your hands, and especially your palms, will take the brunt of the impact. Experienced motorcyclists recommend gloves with palm sliders and less padding on the knuckles. In the winter, gloves can keep you warm, too, and in the summer, more lightweight gloves can protect your hands and wrists from rocks, bugs, and crashes.
Pants or Suits
Jeans are not adequate for riding a motorcycle. One seasoned motorcyclist even says:
“If you wear normal street jeans to go riding, then you may as well be wearing nothing.”
Instead, you should wear special pants with protective patches under or over your regular pants. You may also opt for motorcycle riding jeans, textile or leather motorcycle pants, or a one-piece riding suit – the brands Aerostitch and Alpinestars come highly recommended.
Lower-extremity injuries are very common among motorcycle riders, and your ankles are particularly vulnerable. Having boots that cover your ankles can offer you extra traction and protection whether you are walking, riding, or falling. Look for boots with laces on the inside, so you don’t get caught up in your shifter or footpegs. You can also find boots with Velcro or solid buckles. Whatever you choose, make sure your motorcycle boots are comfortable for all-day use.
Body Armor and Elbow/Shin/Knee Guards
If you have an excellent motorcycle jacket and a pair of top-of-the-line motorcycle pants, you may not need extra padding. Some people, however, prefer to reinforce their gear with body armor and guards. Armored vests, back protectors, and airbag systems are all available on the market and are designed to fit snugly within your gear. You can also cover trouble spots like your elbows, knees, and shins to minimize road rash and injury in the event of an accident.
Most motorcyclists don’t think about the toll riding takes on their ears. If you plan on riding all day or going on a long trip, you might consider adding earplugs to your travel bag. These simple, cheap devices can help reduce the sounds of traffic and static (the wind rustling over your helmet) without isolating you from alerts and the sounds you need to hear to stay safe.
The Difference Between a Minor Injury and a Life-Changing Disability
Motorcycle gear offers riders the protection they so desperately need. Safety gear absolutely makes a difference, but the only thing that can prevent you from getting seriously hurt is staying off a motorcycle altogether.
If you are injured in a motorcycle accident, we are glad your gear kept you alive, but we also understand that any injury can come with serious consequences.
For representation after motorcycle accidents, contact Richardson Richardson Boudreaux, PLLC today.