Motorcyclists: Tips for choosing protective gear
Last updated: January 1
Before you take your motorcycle on the road, it's important to consider what gear may help you stay safe and comfortable during your ride.
Protective gear serves two purposes: protection and comfort, according to the Motorcycle Safety Foundation (MSF). Here are some tips to consider while choosing the appropriate gear for your ride.
Make safety a priority
Properly fitting protective gear is designed to help reduce injuries in the event of an accident and keep you safe in different driving conditions. Here's a look at motorcycle gear that may help protect you from head to toe.
- Head: Choose a helmet that meets the Department of Transportation's standards, the National Highway and Transportation Safety Administration says. The standards are based on criteria the helmet needs to meet to help protect your head in the event of an accident.
- Hands and feet: Look for boots that go over your ankle and feature oil-resistant, rubber-based composite soles, says the MSF. For your hands, consider full-fingered motorcycle gloves that fit properly. They may help improve your grip on the handlebars and help protect your hands from the elements or from injury in a crash.
- Torso and arms: The MSF suggests riders wear abrasion-resistant fabrics or leather to help protect against injury in the event of a crash. Riding jackets typically run longer in the sleeves and wider across the shoulders to account for the riding position, and should fit comfortably.
- Legs: A rider's legs should be covered and protected in a similar way to the upper body. Look for abrasion-resistant materials that are also wind-resistant, waterproof or have reflective areas to help make you more visible on the road, the MSF suggests.
Dress for the weather
The weather may play a role in what gear you choose for your ride. Consider these tips to stay both comfortable and safe in all sorts of weather:
- Hot temperatures: Wear at least one layer to help keep moisture in and your body cooler, and consider adding a jacket for additional protection. Look for apparel with mesh panels to help your skin breathe.
- Rain: If you must ride through the rain, choose gear that is breathable and store additional layers in your backpack or saddlebags, suggests Cycle World. The MSF says a yellow or orange rain suit is a good option for comfort and visibility on the road.
- Cold temperatures: On the coldest days, it’s important to dress in warm gear. MSF suggests wearing an insulated winter riding suit or choosing multiple layers, with thermal underwear closest to your skin and a windproof layer on the outside. Insulated gloves and boots may help keep your hands and feet warm, too.
Proper motorcycle safety gear can help provide a buffer between you and the environment in which you ride. By planning your attire in advance, you can ride knowing that you’ve taken important precautions for your safety and comfort.