Dressing Properly to Ride and Why You Should

Wearing protective gear just makes sense!

When riding a motorcycle in the United States there is usually no more of a requirement than to wear a helmet, unless you live in a state that does not have a helmet law. This means there is no requirement to wear clothing that can protect the rider. Not wearing a helmet or clothing that provides protection is just not suggested.

This is motorcycle gear that provides protection for every kind of riding, which is designed to be comfortable and comes in all price ranges. Helmets are not just a fashion statement for riders, they provide the best protection the rider is going to get in a crash, but it has other qualities like helping to reduce fatigue and improving focus.

Riders should not use the excuse it is to hot out to wear protective gear or that it is too expensive. And this is since it is the first line of defense in protection. Wearing an approved helmet, gloves, and other gear can reduce injury if there is a collision and wearing brightly colored gear can make motorists more aware of the motorcyclist. The biker owes it to themselves and their families to be as safe as possible on the road.

There are often debates about the use of the motorcycle. But no matter what the opinion, in the end, the real truth is statistics and research data prove they do save lives. Many motorcyclists that have gone down on their bike can attest to the fact that helmets and other protective gear reduced the amount of harm they sustained.

Helmet Protection and Additional Equipment

Helmets protect the individual riding a motorcycle, whether it is the person operating it or a passenger in the event there is an incident. There are other functions that helmets have that provide protection against hearing loss with use of optional hearing plugs, insects, debris, rain, and hail.

Also, the most common function that helmets provide is protecting the head and brain from harm. And the proof is riders that are wearing a helmet at 37% safer over the motorcyclists not wearing a helmet. This percentage has been determined through research by the National Highway traffic safety administration. It was also found that for every 100 riders fatally injured while not wearing a helmet may have had a different outcome if these riders had been wearing helmets by 37 people.

There are several standards for helmets and there have been various studies conducted. The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) has one standard, while Snell and some European standards differ. Which is the best is debatable when looking at all of their information, even though Snell claims their standard is better than the others.

All of the data from the studies and other information shows motorcyclists should at least wear a DOT mandated standard helmet, which will have a label on the back of the helmet specifying that the manufacturer claims the helmet will pass the specific tests for impact and penetration protection federally mandated. While there are different types of helmets, the full face helmet will provide the most protection and half helmets will provide the least amount of protection.

Protective Pants and Jackets

Motorcyclists have the option to wear protective clothing, including pants and jackets. These are designed to protect the rider if the bike goes down from road burn, but they will also protect the rider and passenger from sunburn, windburn and exhaust burns. Protective clothing is the only defense the rider has for protection, but rather than wear a jacket and pants, which are usually made of leather, many motorcyclist opt to only wear the jacket. In the event the motorcyclist goes down on the bike the jacket can protect their arms, bur their legs are still vulnerable to road burn, cuts and gashes.

The other types of clothes that are worn by motorcyclists and their passengers who are not wearing leather protective clothing cannot hold up to the pavement to protect the motorcyclist. Blue jeans are made of cotton, which lasts approximately one minute with contact with pavement, other types of pants, such as khakis, sweat pants or shorts provide absolutely no protection and shred immediately.

Motorcyclists should not be tempted or fooled by fashion leather, since this is not the same as leather motorcycle clothing. The fashion leather material will provide no protection and cannot stand up to pavement, so when purchasing leather jacket and pants ensure they are made for motorcyclists. Even though there are some protective clothing made of other materials the real leather or cowhide provides the most protection for motorcyclists.

The human body is not designed to withstand falling from a motorcycle and the pavement, which means the rider who is wearing a short-sleeved shirt that goes down on the bike is going to have serious skin abrasions. These skin abrasions in the motorcycle community are known as road rash and can cause serious damage to the skin that in some cases can only be corrected with skin grafts and other surgeries. Even at a slow speed of 20 mile per hour, falling from the bike can result in severe skin damage injuries.

The skin covers joints like elbows, knees, ankles, hips and shoulders, which are going to have more contact with the road than other parts of the skin, which is damaged. Healing the flesh after this kind of harm can take months, but it is not unusual to take even a year or longer depending on whether surgery is necessary or not. The use of built-in armor or strapped on armor when riding is highly suggested on these parts of the body, especially if protective riding jackets and pants are not worn.

In the United States, motorcycle clothing is not required to meet any specific standards, though some manufacturers do crash test their armor. If purchasing European standard armor, they will have a CE rating, in which CE level 1 is good, however, CE level 2 is the better choice. The manufacturers who test their armor can compare with the European standards. It is best to do some research and be informed when purchasing armor for motorcycle riding.

Riding Boots and Gloves

When riding a motorcycle everything that is worn is important, with boots and gloves being some of the most important gear. The hands and feet both have small and fragile bones that are easily broken and if the situation arises that a rider is going to hit the pavement they are going to attempt to use their hands and feet to brace for the fall. The feet when riding are extremely vulnerable, debris can fly up from the road and hit them and in a fall the tiny bones in the feet can easily be broken, as well as the ankle.

The palm of the hands and wrists are going to take the most punishment in a fall from the bike. The solution is to have good heavy duty leather boots with hard armor around the ankles, which is padded. The hands should have leather gloves that are made for motorcyclists with protection for the palms and wrists.

General Body Protection Advice

Before purchasing protective gear, do some research and talk to a motorcycle dealer to learn about all the options. There are a lot of choices and price ranges. But the one thing that is certain, is this is necessary equipment to prevent some types of injuries. Crashes on motorcycles are almost inevitable. And it remains essential to have gear on that can help prevent skin abrasions, cuts, gashes and wearing an approved DOT helmet is the most critical gear.