How to Choose the Right Motorcycle Gear

by NPHM | June 8th, 2020

Motorcycles are inherently dangerous. Unlike cars, trucks, and SUVs, they have few safety features to protect riders. Because of that lack of safety features, motorcyclists face significantly increased risks of suffering serious and even fatal injuries during crashes.

The stats don’t lie. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says that nearly 5,000 motorcyclists lost their lives on American highways and interstates in 2018. In addition, motorcyclists are 28 times more likely to die in crashes than people in passenger vehicles. More than 80% of motorcycle accidents result in injury or death.

That’s why protective motorcycle gear is so important.

The Right Gear Makes All the Difference

All those stats add up to say two things: riding a motorcycle is filled with risks, and riders are responsible for doing everything in their power to protect themselves. In addition to being safety-conscious and practicing defensive driving when they’re on their bikes, riders should also wear proper gear to reduce their risks of injury. As the saying goes, “There are two types of riders: those who have crashed, and those who will.”

With this in mind, there’s nothing more important than starting every ride equipped under the assumption that you will crash. Another saying popular among motorcyclists, especially those who are safety conscious, is “All the gear, all the time.” It means never skipping an essential piece of equipment when you’re taking your bike out, because you never know when you might be involved in an accident.

Safety Equipment Is Important, but What Is the Right Gear?

When it comes to choosing motorcycle safety gear, the first thing to remember is that every part of your body is vulnerable during a crash. Road rash is one of the most common motorcycle accident injuries, and it’s especially likely to occur to riders with bare or exposed skin or those wearing thin, flimsy clothing. Covering every part of your body is part of the “All the gear, all the time” mantra.

Essential Motorcycle Safety Gear

If you’re a motorcyclist, remember to never leave home without the following safety gear:

  1. Helmet—A helmet is the most important piece of safety gear for motorcyclists. Make sure your helmet is brand new, full-faced, fits properly, and is DOT-approved.
  2. Riding jacket—Your jacket should fully cover your arms and be made from heavy-duty denim or leather.
  3. Gloves—Thick gloves improve your grip on your handlebars and protect your hands and fingers during a crash.
  4. Riding pants—As with your riding jacket, ensure that your pants are made of a thick, heavy material.
  5. Boots—Your riding boots should cover your ankles and fit snugly to stay on your feet during a crash.

When choosing gear, ensure at least some pieces are brightly colored or reflective. The more visible you are to drivers, the less chance you have of being hit when a driver of a passenger vehicle is changing lanes or turning!

Some riders complain of heat when riding with full gear. There’s no denying that Ohio’s summers can be hot, but many motorcycle equipment manufacturers make gear that’s both breathable and designed to keep riders cool. In addition, you can change the times of day you ride to avoid the sun’s most intense heat. Simply put—there’s no excuse for not wearing adequate safety gear when you ride your motorcycle!

How Effective Is Safety Gear at Reducing Injuries?

All safety gear is important when riding a motorcycle. But wearing a helmet stands above all the rest. Think of wearing a helmet as combining the seat belts and airbags in a passenger vehicle into one step. The NHTSA found that riders who wear helmets reduce their risks of dying in a crash by anywhere from 37 to 42 percent. In addition, riders who don’t wear helmets are three times more likely to suffer traumatic brain injuries during crashes.

Although the impact of helmets on motorcyclist safety is the most dramatic, other gear shouldn’t be discounted. Motorcycle crashes can result in severe skin abrasions on unprotected or weakly protected body parts, which can result in severe pain, bleeding, and infection. In addition, unprotected hands and feet can be subject to digit amputations during crashes, making protective gloves and boots a necessity on every ride.

Remember—no matter what type of motorcycle you ride, you can find safety equipment that fits its image and style. Whether you prefer a large highway cruiser, a chromed-out chopper, or an agile sport bike, you won’t have any trouble finding gear that matches or complements your personal style while protecting you in a crash.

Our Law Firm Fights for Injured Motorcyclists

While safety gear can dramatically reduce motorcycle accident injury risks, it doesn’t take them away completely. Even the safest, most well-equipped motorcyclists can still be seriously injured in crashes, especially when other drivers are negligent and fail to look for them, yield to them, or give them the room they need.

If you or someone you love was injured in a motorcycle crash, the Ohio motorcycle accident lawyers at Nurenberg, Paris, Heller & McCarthy want to help. We have nearly a century of experience assisting injured people throughout the Buckeye State, and we know what it takes to win fair settlements for our clients. Contact us today by calling 216-621-2300.