Protecting yourself while riding is the first and most important thing, whether you think it’s too hot out, or gear costs too much, or you just don’t feel like it. No excuses are enough not to wear the required things said by ‘Jeff Cobb’ when you ride, see details as described below:
A helmet (and optional ear plugs) protects you from hearing loss, or being pelted by debris, insects, rain, hail, and it could one day save your life.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates helmets improve your odds by 37 percent. That is, for every 100 riders killed not wearing one, 37 riders could have lived had they all been wearing helmets.
There are several standards – U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT), Snell, and some European standards. While the Snell Foundation says its standard is superior, this is open to debate.
Based on several studies, we recommend at least the federally mandated DOT standard. Identified by a label on the back of the helmet, the DOT standard means the manufacturer says it will pass specific tests for impact protection, penetration, staying on your head, and more.
There are “half helmets,” partial coverage, and full face. A full face provides the most protection.
Jacket and pants
Well-designed rider clothing keeps you protected from windburn, sunburn, exhaust burns, and is a comfortable first line of defense.
Some riders wear a motorcycle jacket, but complete the outfit with street pants. Fact is, your legs are very vulnerable so why not protect them just as well?
In a crash, cotton dungarees tear through in less than one second. Shorts, khakis or sweat pants offer negligible safety value. Fashion leather may shred as instantly as cloth. If you choose leather, make sure it’s suitable for motorcycle use.
According to Dana Grindle, owner of Bates Custom Leathers in Signal Hill, Calif., while certain textiles can do a good job, especially when combined with built-in armor, high-tensile cowhide still offers the most abrasion resistance and tear-through strength.
For the heat of summer, manufacturers offer perforated leather or abrasion-resistant mesh. There are also several brands of textile jeans, if you absolutely don’t want the fully kitted look.
Whatever you wear, make sure it’s protective, said Rae Tyson, an experienced rider and NHTSA spokesman.
“Some of the worst crashes I’ve seen have been with people who fell off the motorcycle who were wearing short sleeves, or shorts, or a tank top, etc., and it’s not a pretty sight,” Tyson said, “Last time I checked your body was never designed for that.”
And Grindle concurred, adding motorcycle clothing can cost significant money, but if you crash once, you will not question whether it was worth it.
“Do you know what 20 mph does to your skin,” Grindle asked, “Oh my God, it can take it to the bone.”
This may sound dramatic, but she’s not kidding.
The skin covering your joints – knuckles, elbows, hips, knees, ankles, and shoulders – is especially easy to damage, and a crash can remove it, and even flesh, and healing can take a year or longer.
Built-in armor, or strapped-on armor under your clothing at these points is highly recommended!
Some gear comes with European-standard armor, rated “CE” level I (good), or level 2 (best).
Motorcycle clothing sold in the U.S. is not required to meet any certification, however. So be wary, but understand some premium American manufacturers have crash tested their armor and found it as good as or better than otherwise certified armor.
Boots and gloves
The hands and feet are intricate mechanisms made of many delicate bones. They can be crushed or broken far too easily. Boots should be heavy-duty leather with hard armor around the ankle, and ideally padding too. Leather gloves with long gauntlets should likewise have impact protection on the knuckles and palms, and even wrists.