Proper gear is essential to safe riding. Wearing the right clothing always makes the sport more enjoyable. And more comfortable, too.
- Around the block or around the world, it makes sense to leave home with a helmet on your head. IT’S ONE OF THE BEST ITEMS OF PROTECTION YOU CAN USE.
- Helmets come in all sizes, from extra small (XS) to extra large (XL). There are also helmets for children. When you buy a helmet, make sure it fits properly. Try it on; it should be comfortable to wear, neither too tight nor too loose. Remember, it is going to spend a lot of time on your head.
- A full-face helmet gives the most protection since it covers all of the head and face.
- Always fasten the helmet strap. If the helmet is not secured, it is doing about as much good as if it were on the shelf at home.
- Did you know that all adult-sized motorcycle helmets now sold in the United States must have a sticker indicating DOT (Department of Transportation) compliance, which means that the helmet meets certain basic impact standards? Don’t buy a helmet without one; it may not meet standards. Helmets vary greatly in price and style. Buy one that suits you. Wear it. Fasten it every time you throw a leg over the motorcycle.
- A good helmet makes motorcycling a lot more pleasurable because it cuts down on the wind noise and greatly reduces rider fatigue. The days of heavy or cumbersome helmets are gone; they’re now made of light new materials with terrific designs and colors to choose from.
- If you do drop your helmet onto a hard surface, or it receives a heavy blow, it is probably time to buy a new one. A motorcycle helmet is designed to absorb the impact of a blow, and a helmet should only do that once. If in doubt, get a new one.
- Riding with bare eyeballs is a gamble. Your eyes are precious, and it does not take much to injure one.
- A windshield on a motorcycle is not eye protection; a bit of sand or tiny piece of glass can whip in behind it and get in your eye.
- Proper eye protection means an approved shield on your helmet, a pair of goggles, or shatterproof glasses. Settling for less just isn’t worth the risk.
- Make sure your eye protection is clean and unscratched. If you use a tinted lens or shield for riding in the bright sunlight, take a clear one along as well, in case you are riding after dark.
- Motorcycle jackets are made in many sturdy materials: denim, nylon in its various guises, corduroy, and leather. The hide of a cow, or any other commonly used leather, offers you the most protection when it comes to abrasion. You can buy leather jackets with zippered vents, which are comfortable to wear even in hot weather as they allow a breeze to flow through.
- These should be made of a thick material, such as leather. They resist abrasion and provide protection from the elements. A pair of loose, light cotton pants that flap in the wind is not very good riding gear. A number of companies sell leather riding pants, and you can get pants and jacket combinations that zip together.
- Always wear gloves. Even on a hot day. The car in front of you may throw up a stone that hits your fingers. Ouch! Also, bare hands cannot withstand abrasion in the event of a fall.
- Over-the-ankle boots, please. Preferably made of strong leather. Your ankles are very complicated; protect them.
- A boot with a slippery sole could cause embarrassment when you put your foot down at a greasy gas station. Rubber soles, with a good tread design, offer better gripping possibilities.
- It rains everywhere in this country, some places more than others. Inevitably you will be caught out in the rain. Why not have a good motorcycle rainsuit along, with rain-covers for boots and gloves as well? It’s a lot more fun riding in the rain when you’re dry.
- Long-term exposure to engine and wind noise can cause permanent hearing damage, even if you wear a full-face helmet. Whether you choose disposable foam plugs or reusable custom-molded devices, proper protection reduces noise, while allowing you to hear important sounds like car horns. Make sure you follow your state’s laws when using hearing protection.
- The better people see you, the less likely they are to run into you. Brightly colored clothing is preferable to drab, dark clothing.
- You can buy special vests which are designed to make it easier for others to see you. Some military bases feel strongly about this feature and require all motorcyclists to wear them.
- For nighttime, you can buy clothing that reflects light, and put reflective strips on your helmet and the backs of your boots. Every little bit helps.
Source: The Motorcycle Safety Foundation
To be a safe rider, get to know your motorcycle extremely well. It’s very different from a car and makes more demands on the operator. The motorcycle goes and turns and stops smoothly according to your degree of skill and knowledge.
Get to know your owner’s manual; not all motorcycles are exactly alike. Types range from large touring bikes and cruisers to nimble sport bikes and standard street machines. The manual gives you many specifics you will find helpful in understanding and maintaining the bike you’ve chosen.
Source: The Motorcycle Safety Foundation