Motorcyclists are 30 times more likely to be injured in a crash than a car driver. They don’t have the protection of a vehicle. Protective clothing is the only thing between the motorcyclist and the road. Protective clothing will reduce the injuries a crash causes. If you’re not wearing the right gear, you might as well be riding naked. You’re 30 times more likely to be injured in a motorcycle crash as you are driving a car. Safety gear is critical, it’s the only thing between you and the road. If you’re in a crash, you want to wearing the safest gear possible.
Helmets are a must, but to give yourself the best protection you should also wear a jacket, gloves, pants and boots. A full kit isn’t cheap, but what price do you put on your safety? Some gear might look good, but it wont protect you. Your gear must fit and be comfortable, otherwise it can be a distraction. Look for a European standard CE label, this means the gear has been independently tested and meets the minimum safety standards. If you can’t find the CE label, look for design features that make your gear safer.
Legs are one of the most exposed parts in a crash. Protective pants shield the skin when sliding across the road, guard against cuts and gashes on impact, and reduce the risk of burns from the engine and exhaust. Jeans give you no protection, but CE approved pants will last a minimum of four seconds. Pants should have large panels of abrasion-resistant material like high grade leather or kevlar and ventilation should be at the back of the legs. Pants shouldn’t have any zips of fastening on the thighs and should be fastened on the inside of the ankles.
Motorcycle boots best protect the skin and dozens of bones and nerves in the feet, ankles and shins. They reduce the risk of burns, wounds, fractures and dislocations and are designed to help use the bikes controls. Work boots or street shoes wont protect your feet when riding. Motorcycle boots offer a higher abrasion-resistance, better grip and should fully enclose the foot, ankle and lower shin, which gives greater protection. Soles should be non-slip and stitched together well. Boots should be fastened on the inside on the ankle, so they can’t be pulled off.
A motorcycle jacket can prevent or minimise injuries to nearly half of your body. If you crash, high-risk areas such as your back, elbow, shoulders, arms and wrists can be protected by wearing a good quality jacket. When buying a jacket, think about material, armour, fit and visibility. Look for either a high-grade leather jacket, or one made from layers of different synthetic fabrics. Leather and textile jackets that have earned the CE approval last for a minimum of four seconds when sliding across the road, which can make a huge difference. Pick a jacket with strong stitching and as few seems as possible as they can burst on impact or when sliding on the road. There should be no zips or fastenings on the back. Some jackets come with armour, or you can buy impact protectors separately. CE approved body armour gives you the best protection. Your armour must fit like a glove, or it will slip off under pressure.Both your jacket and armour should be professionally fitted. You want to be visible on the road and especially in bad light and at night, so buy a jacket you will be seen in.
Hands and fingers can be easily injured, so wear gloves every time you ride. Gloves should be made form thick leather, or layered materials with strong stitching. They should have impact protection for the knuckles and wrists, webbing between the ring and little fingers and the wrist section should be reinforced. CE approved gloves have at least 2.5 seconds abrasion resistance. Gloves must be worn fastened on the inside of the wrists.
Your head is the most critical part to protect. A full-face helmet will protect your brain, face and jaw. There’s a good range of affordable helmets that meet the Australian or European standard. Helmets must be the correct size, be a snug fit and fastened correctly. Make sure it’s comfortable and that you can see around you. When buying a helmet, it’s best to have it professionally fitted.
It’s important to wear all your gear and it should be worn every ride, even for short trips and when it’s hot. Gear can protect you from the elements, so you’re comfortable and can focus on your riding. It’s important to be seen on the road, so go for a two-tone, or brightly coloured gear where possible. And remember, if you’re not wearing the right gear, you might as well be riding naked.