There is more to leather jackets than looking fabulous on the road. Wearing proper safety gear while riding a motorcycle can protect your body and even save your life in an accident. Oftentimes your helmet and protective clothing are the only things between you and the road when you fly off your bike.
But that’s not the only reason to invest in high-quality safety equipment. In addition to minimizing potential injuries, wearing proper safety gear makes it less likely that the other motorist and their insurance company will try to blame you for the crash.
With this in mind, let’s take a look at the essential safety gear every motorcyclist should own and use while riding.
If you’re going to wear one piece of safety equipment, make it your helmet. Helmets are an absolute must when riding a motorcycle. They can shield your head from hits that could cause brain injury, paralysis, and even death. In normal circumstances, helmets help minimize fatigue, noise, and eye strain.
The numbers speak for themselves. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA):
- Helmet use reduces the risk of dying in an accident by 37%.
- If you wear a helmet, you are also three times more likely to suffer traumatic brain injuries (TBI) in the event of a crash.
Wearing a helmet when riding a motorcycle isn’t optional in Orange County. California and 17 other states have a universal helmet law. Under California State law, your helmet must be manufacturer certified for compliance with the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) standards.
California’s helmet law has been a massive success: After the legislation came into effect on January 1, 1992, motorcyclist fatalities decreased by 37%.
When buying a helmet, check that it is DOT certified and fits you properly. It should feel snug but not tight. It must also provide full coverage of your forehead, temples, and the back of your head. A full-face helmet will provide maximum protection but is not mandatory.
To ensure that your helmet provides maximum protection, be sure to replace it after five years of use and whenever it has been involved in an accident.
Eye and Ear Protection
California State law doesn’t require motorcyclists to have any kind of protective eyewear, as the vast majority of DOT-certified helmets have face shields anyway.
But, if your helmet doesn’t provide at least some coverage for your eyes and face, you should seriously consider buying a new helmet with a visor or investing in separate eye protection like goggles or glasses. Ideally, you want a tinted visor for sunny days and a clear one for days with lower visibility and night-time riding.
Eye protection, in particular, is essential. Even when wind and flying bugs and debris don’t cause accidents, they can impair your vision over time.
California’s DMV also encourages motorcyclists to wear ear protection to reduce hearing loss due to wind and other environmental factors. However, keep in mind that state law forbids you to wear a headset, earplugs, or earphones in both ears.
Wearing proper safety gear while riding a motorcycle can make a real difference if you’re ever involved in an accident: A riding jacket, long motorcycle pants, and a pair of gloves can shield your skin from road rash and burns.
Material-wise, look for garments that are flexible enough to allow you to move comfortably but also sufficiently thick to provide abrasion resistance. Leather is a standard choice for motorcycle clothing, but thick denim also works for riding pants.
Make sure to factor the weather in as well. If you will be riding in hot weather, opt for breathable fabrics so you don’t accidentally overheat. Conversely, thick and insulated garments will keep you warm in cold weather.
Regardless of the season and weather, motorcycle clothing should fit snugly — you don’t want your jacket or pants to catch on anything while riding. At the same time, though, you want to make sure that you have enough room for air circulation.
You should also invest in at least one pair of high-quality motorcycle boots. They must have non-slip soles and cover your toes and ankles.
Don’t forget to inspect your motorcycle jacket and other riding clothes regularly for signs of wear and tear, especially around the seams and stitching, and replace garments as needed.
For even more protection than the one provided by basic protective garments, look into body armor. Body armor shields critical parts of your body, such as your chest, back, and shoulders. This extra level of protection is vital if you take part in off-road or motocross activities.
There are different types of body armor. Armored vests fit over your torso to protect your front, chest, and back. Motorcycle armored jackets also cover your arms and provide additional reinforcement in critical impact points like the shoulders and elbows. Armored pants offer additional protection in the legs, knees, and hips.
High-visibility elements that make you easier to spot by other motorists are a must when riding, especially at night or in low-light conditions. Examples include bright-colored clothing and reflective vests, jackets, and strips.
If you can’t or don’t want to buy separate pieces of high-visibility clothing, you can always add reflective tape to your motorcycle, helmet, and luggage to boost visibility.
Motorcycle safety gear isn’t just for riders. Your passengers also need to be protected on the road. As a rider, it is your responsibility to ensure that your passengers wear DOT-certified helmets and protective clothing.
Injured in a Motorcycle Accident? Call Our Orange County Personal Injury Lawyers.
Wearing proper safety gear while riding a motorcycle is essential. Still, accidents can happen. If you were recently injured in a motorcycle accident in Orange County, CA, our motorcycle accident lawyers at Khalil Law Group can help. Call (714) 617-7870 or contact us online to book your free consultation and find out whether you can seek compensation for your injuries.