The motorcycle has been a symbol of a free-spirited lifestyle since the 1800s. Many riders embrace the activity for that very reason, but this freedom comes at a cost: a high risk of injuries in the event of an accident.
According to the most recent available data from Insurance Information Institute, 5,286 people died in motorcycle crashes in 2016. Statistics show that motorcyclists are 28 times more likely to be involved in a fatal crash than passenger car occupants, based on miles traveled. Fortunately, you may be able to avoid becoming a statistic by purchasing the appropriate motorcycle safety equipment. Here are four tips to help you choose the best motorcycle protective gear:
1. Start with the Helmet
One of the most important pieces of protective motorcycle gear is a high-quality helmet. Almost 50% of motorcycle impacts occur near the face. Wearing a helmet can help reduce the severity of head injuries and may even save your life.
Make sure the helmet grips your cheeks and jaw, and fits snugly against the sides of your head. Do not purchase a used helmet because it may already have sustained damage in an accident.
RESOURCE: Check your helmet’s certifications
Must-have Protection Features
- Hard Outer Shell: This is the outermost layer of the helmet. It will reduce the impact of a blow to the helmet before it reaches your head.
- Impact-Absorbing Liner: This is usually made of Styrofoam. The impact-absorbing liner reduces shock and deflects it away from your head.
- Padding: This will make the helmet fit comfortably and snugly.
- Chin Strap: This will ensure the helmet stays in place if you crash.
- Department of Transportation (DOT) or Snell certification: This ensures that your helmet will offer optimum protection in the event of a collision.
Extra Comfort Features
There are several types of motorcycle helmets that offer unique benefits. The right choice depends on your riding and comfort needs. Three common designs include:
- Full-Face: This helmet covers the full face and head of the rider, and usually includes a face shield to protect the eyes.
- Open-Face: An open-face or three-quarter helmet is similar to the full-face helmet, but it does not have a face shield. Riders with these helmets should wear goggles to protect their eyes.
- Half-Helmet: A shorty or half-helmet only covers the top of the head. It offers limited protection in the event of a crash.
2. Find Motorcycle Boots with Stiff, Rubber Soles
Many riders overlook the importance of boots when buying motorcycle gear, but they play an important role in safety. The appropriate footwear will help you maintain balance and will protect your feet from the elements.
Look for motorcycle boots that have stiff, rubber soles. This can prevent you from tipping over if you put your foot in sand, oil or gravel.
Your ankles are particularly vulnerable in a motorcycle accident. Kevlar boots are more effective than leather designs when it comes to preventing ankle injuries. When looking for motorcycle boots, you will want to look for stiff designs that will prevent twisting or bending in your ankles and feet.
3. Buy a High-Quality Leather Jacket
High-quality leather jackets are an important component of riding gear. A good motorcycle jacket can prevent road rash and cushion your fall if an accident ejects you from the motorcycle. Generally speaking, a person will lose one millimeter of skin for every mile per hour over 30 they are going when they crash. Also, leather may help you slide across the road surface rather than tumble, which can reduce the risk of bone fractures and other serious injuries.
Leather jackets can be worn under rain gear for motorcycles to keep you safe and dry on the road. When you’re driving too fast for your body’s natural cooling process to work, wearing a leather jacket can help keep you cool even in warm weather.
4. Consider Purchasing Body Armor
Body armor is another type of motorcycle riding gear that will add another layer of protection from collisions and road rash. Some motorcycle jacket manufacturers build body armor into their products.
If your jacket does not feature body armor, then consider buying it separately. Memory foam offers the highest level of impact absorption and can help prevent or reduce the severity of injuries. Most frequently riders will buy a separate backplate that can be strapped to the body independent of a jacket.
Have you or someone you love been injured in a motorcycle accident?
If you were injured in a motorcycle accident, contact us for a free case evaluation. We will work with you on a contingency-fee basis to gather this evidence and prove your case. You may be eligible to file a claim for medical costs, emotional distress and further damages. Fill out our free case evaluation form to see if you are eligible for a claim. An experienced motorcycle accident attorney at Morris Bart will assist you in the evaluation process. Initial consultations are free. We have office locations throughout Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and Arkansas. Call us at 1-800-537-8185 today.