Last week we spoke about the dangers that motorcyclists face when sharing the road with Long Island drivers, and the need for motorcyclists to wear a helmet at all times to prevent serious injury. According to NHTSA data, motorcycling is 33 times more dangerous than driving a car. There is a saying among motorcyclists that there are two types of riders: Those who have crashed, and those who haven’t crashed yet.
Now this isn’t meant to scare you from riding a motorcycle, but rather to emphasize the need for taking the necessary safety precautions. Because motorcyclists not only face a greater risk of getting into an accident, but also potentially can face more serious injuries. In addition to wearing a helmet, there is other necessary equipment that motorcyclists should wear to prevent injuries if they face an accident.
Aside from a helmet, motorcyclists will tell you that the next most important piece of equipment for riding is leather gloves. The reason why gloves might be even more vital than a jacket is the fact that any kind of incident where you fall off your motorcycle, you’re naturally going to put your hands out to protect you. Without any protection on your hands, you can break bones, face serious lacerations, or possibly even lose fingers.
It’s important to get real leather gloves as an effective, comfortable and stylish way to protect your hands. You can also find gloves that protect your hands against the wind if you get weather-proof gloves, or you can find gloves that are more aimed towards keeping you cool in the hot weather.
A motorcycle jacket is one of the most popular pieces of safety gear you’d expect to see on a motorcyclist. Even more than a fashion statement, these jackets are designed to be a helpful defense if a rider is skidding across pavement.
There are a bunch of different materials your motorcycle jacket can be made of. There are jackets of different materials that may be more comfortable depending on the weather. In the hot summer months, you can get a jacket made of ballistic mesh. These jackets are more breathable than a leather jacket, but still provide good protection. You might also get a perforated leather jacket for the spring and fall to keep you warm but not too warm. And finally, in the winter you’d want to be sure to have a full leather jacket to provide maximum warmth while you ride.
More often than not, riders find themselves being more cool than warm, so it’s important to have a jacket that will make you comfortable while you ride. In those instances where it is just crazy hot outside, you may be tempted to ride without a jacket. Once again, look for something breathable, and the breeze you feel while you ride your motorcycle will help keep you cool. Regardless, it is better to be a little hot and be protected than to risk getting seriously injured by not wearing a jacket. Don’t underestimate how easy the pavement can rip up skin, and these jackets will go a long way in preventing that from happening.
Motorcycle boots look great, but they also provide you with traction and protect the small bones in your feet in the case of a crash.
There are plenty of stories of people who decided to wear tennis shoes while riding a motorcycle and when they crash, their shoes literally fly off their feet. Having your feet and toes exposed to pavement at a high speed is a scary thought.
The main rules when it comes to motorcycle footwear is to make sure they are sturdy, and they have over the ankle protection. That means things like work boots that you might already have are a great choice if you are on a budget. High top sneakers however, are not strong enough to offer great protection. There are also plenty of manufacturers that specifically make boots that are designed for motorcyclists.
Motorcycle pants are usually the piece of gear that the vast majority of riders choose not to wear, due to not liking the idea of wearing leather pants. Most people think jeans are enough protection, but that simply is not true. Jeans will get shredded in just a couple feet of sliding on the pavement and offer no protection at all. At the end of the day, denim is just cotton, and cotton is very weak. It is not very hard to rip a hole in your jeans, so the pavement will have no problem doing that for you. Even worse is wearing shorts and having your legs and knees completely exposed. There should never be a situation where you are riding a motorcycle with shorts on.
Nowadays, many manufacturers are starting to design jeans with Kevlar panels added to key places. Some are even weaving the Kevlar directly into the cotton material, and adding armor to likely impact zones. The Kevlar jeans won’t protect you as much as leather pants, but they are way better than regular denim jeans. Although many avoid leather pants, there are some leather and textile motorcycle pants that don’t look so clunky. It may be worth trying them and choosing the safest option to protect your legs should you face a motorcycle accident.
Steven Palermo is the managing partner for Palermo Law, Long Island’s Personal Injury Law Firm. He has been helping people receive compensation for their injuries for over 21 years. He focuses on cases involving car accidents, truck accidents, construction accidents and slip and fall injuries.
His book The Ultimate Guide to Handling New York Car Accident Claims details the ins and outs of a car accident claim in a simple, easy-to-read manner.