There’s no better time to get out and ride than during the summer; the sunshine, blue skies and dry roads are inviting to any motorcycle or...
The law says you must wear a motorcycle helmet whenever you ride, but that doesn’t mean it’s cool to ride in shorts and flip-flops, a bikini or stilettos. The right gear won’t just help you look the part, it could also make the difference between a knock to the ego and a week in hospital. Most motorcycle accidents happen at low speeds, so it makes sense to be able to walk away with slight bruising.
What’s most important? After the helmet, go for gloves, boots and eye protection. Hands and feet are the most likely areas to be injured if you have a minor spill, and among the hardest to fix. And if you’re riding at 20 mph, even hitting an insect can damage your eye, not to mention blinding you for just long enough to hit the bus stop and fall off. If your helmet doesn’t have a visor, get some goggles. Riding in shades looks cool, but if they’re not designed for the job they could break in an accident instead of protecting your eyes.
Many people buy a protective jacket but ride in denim jeans. Some of them will end up with nasty gravel rash, having slid down the road after a low-speed accident. If you want the casual look, you can now get jeans reinforced with Kevlar and similar materials.
Whether you go for leathers or textiles, look out for armour at vulnerable points like knees, hips, elbows and shoulders. It should be CE approved. Sometimes you’ll get pockets that the armour fits into, so you can take it out and clean the garment. Modern armour is usually light and flexible, so it shouldn’t limit your movement.
A back protector will protect you from knocks and bumps. If there is no pocket for one in your jacket, you can buy a separate one to wear underneath. You can now also buy jackets with a built in airbag to cushion your neck if you leave the motorcycle abruptly.
If you’re planning to ride off-road, you will fall off at some point, so invest in some specialist gear. It’s designed to be light and breathable, so you won’t overheat, but it will save you from some knocks.
Finally, remember that many motorcycle accidents are not caused by the rider, but by another driver who didn’t see the scooter or motorbike until it was too late. A high-visibility or reflective vest, bib or jacket may not do much in an accident, but it might help you avoid having one.