Motorcycle safety gear you can't leave at home

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full face motorcycle helmet
Full face helmets with a clear eye shield offers maximum head protection and clear night vision
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Motorcycle safety gear should go with every rider, on every ride

Motorcycle safety gear should never be an afterthought. Though Hollywood portrays motorcyclists as rebels without a helmet, the first thing riders learn is that neglecting to wear motorcycle safety gear is irresponsible. When you’re on a bike you need maximum protection from a possible fall or crash and the weather.

“Thick, protective garb not only provides comfort against the elements, but also may be all there is between you and a pavement crash.” - The Motorcycle Safety Foundation (MSF)

Responsible motorcyclists don't leave home without their motorcycle safety gear, every single time they ride.

According to MSF, studies report that the head, legs and arms are most often injured during motorcycle crashes. In addition to protecting the body, motorcycle safety gear is designed with color and reflective material to increase the visibility of motorcyclists to other riders.

Essential Motorcycle Safety Gear

Helmet –

The helmet is the most important piece of motorcycle safety gear for riders. Though not required by law in every state, helmets save lives. Look for a helmet with the Department of Transportation label (DOT), certification that the helmet conforms to federal safety standards. Closed face helmets offer maximum protection. A helmet should fit snug and comfortably on your head and always be secured with a strap.

Boots –

Boots protect a rider’s feet, ankles and lower legs. They provide crash protection and give the motorcyclist an easier grip to stay securely mounted when shifting. Leather boots are recommended by MSF for durability and comfort, but athletic boots work as well. Avoid dangling laces!

Armored Outerwear –

Armored outerwear shields your body from impact and abrasions if you crash and slide, blocks wind and keeps you warm. The outer layer should be bright and reflective; orange and yellow jackets can be seen by motorists at night and during poor weather. A number of riders prefer to wear lightweight clothing when riding because of the comfort factor, especially during summer. In response, manufactures make protective outerwear in lighter textile materials. Most importantly, jackets should have long sleeves and pants should be long and fitted.

Gloves –

It’s human instinct to extend your arms during a fall. The same goes for motorcycle crashes. Hands suffer damage when a rider is thrown off a bike or crashes. Gauntlet-type, padded gloves extend beyond the wrist to protect palms, knuckles and fingers, and prevent wind from going up the sleeves. Look for non-slip leather gloves or fabric gloves with leather palms.

Eye Protection –

Excellent vision is crucial for motorcyclists. If your helmet does not have a face shield, goggles with plastic or safety lenses block insects, dirt, rocks and other elements from damaging your eyes. They also prevent your eyes from tearing up in the wind. If your helmet has a tinted face shield, note that the tint makes it difficult to see at night so you may want a clear shield or goggles for night riding.

Danger may look fun and sexy on the silver screen, but riding a motorcycle is not about risking your life. The thrill and freedom of riding is more powerful beneath a layer of protection. Safety gear is essential for every motorcyclist who intends to ride for many years to come.

National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration: Motorcycle Safety
Biker Highway

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