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Dress for the fall, not for the trip

Posted April 11th, 2015 at 01:48 PM by Urban Ninja

One of the most important, yet easily overlooked, aspects of motorcycling is safety gear. The cost associated with acquiring safety riding gear should be incorporated into your motorcycle purchase budget. The freedom of riding in the open air and feeling as though you are a part of everything around you makes motorcycling particularly enjoyable but it leaves riders vulnerable to harsh weather condition, pesky insects, road debris and of course, painful accidents.

Per National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) statistics: “Compared with a passenger car occupant, a motorcycle rider is 37 times more likely to die in a crash, based on vehicle miles traveled.” In 2008, 5,290 motorcyclists were killed in United States and 96,000 motorcyclists were injured. The Motorcycle Safety Foundation (MSF) and NHTSA both highly recommend the use of proper safety riding gear to reduce risk of injury or death if a crash does occur.

Proper safety riding gear will not help you avoid an accident but it will help minimize your injuries and potentially save your life in an event of an accident. It is extremely important for your riding gear to be appropriately fitted and comfortable. Uncomfortable or ill-fitting gear will distract you from riding and potentially fail to protect you when a crash does occur. When getting outfitted with your riding gear:

Research: There are an overwhelming amount of companies manufacturing motorcycle gear but only a handful of these companies can be accredited with producing quality safety riding gear. Do your research to find out who these companies are and where their products can be acquired.

Consult an expert: Obtaining the right gear will require advice from an expert who will know exactly what type of gear you’ll need based on your type of motorcycle, style of riding and principal riding weather conditions. Don’t assume any type of safety riding gear will suit your specific needs.

Try it on: It is extremely important for your gear to fit properly and comfortably. The only way to know which style, brand and size fits you best is to try it on. When buying gear online, make sure you thoroughly review the sizing information provided by the manufacturer and if available, read customer feedback on how the sizing runs (i.e. true to size, smaller than standard or bigger than standard).
The clothing you choose to wear while riding a motorcycle is the only thing between your skin and the road so make a smart choice. Motorcyclists wearing protective gear could expect a reduction in injuries of 30% or more. Dress for the fall, not for the trip.

Use Your Head: Protection Starts at the Top

Your helmet is the most important piece of your protective riding gear. Helmet effectiveness has been confirmed by scientific studies, while helmet myths – “helmets break necks, block vision and impair hearing” – have been consistently disproved. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA): ” Motorcycle helmets are 67-percent effective in preventing brain injuries.” A quality helmet that is properly fitted will not only protect your head but your face and neck as well. The outer shell of the helmets prevents abrasion and penetration while the inside liner and pads absorb the impact.

Purchasing a helmet is an investment so make a smart choice. A helmet that doesn’t properly fit your head is worthless. The only way to find a helmet that has the perfect fit is to try it on. Not only do you need to get measured to determine the proper helmet size, you also need to figure out which brand of helmet employs patterns that match the proportions of your head anatomy. Comfort and proper fit heavily depends on what brand of helmet best fits the shape of your head.

Avoid acquiring a used helmet! Unfortunately there is no way to ensure a helmet hasn’t been compromised in a crash. Also wear and tear significantly reduces protection over time and forms to the head of the previous user making it unfit for anyone else.

You Don’t Have Any Bones to Spare

In order to be fully protected while on a motorcycle, it is essential to wear proper, protective clothing. Protective gear will not only prevent or reduce injury in case of a crash but it will also help you stay comfortable while riding in adverse conditions. With the wide variety of motorcycle pants and jackets available on today’s market, you don’t have to choose style over function – you can look great while still playing it safe.

To protect yourself from impact in case of a crash, you must wear gear with armor. It is almost inevitable for your knees and elbows to come in contact with the pavement if you do come off your motorcycle, therefore it is essential to wear clothing with reinforced elbow and knee zones. It is also critical to protect your spine from potential injuries by wearing an impact-absorbing back protector. Most motorcycle jackets and pants made by accredited manufacturers will come equipped with appropriate armor or at least offer appropriate removable armor as an option.

Although wearing leather is widely believed to be the only source of protection against abrasion, many modern textile fabrics, such as Cordura®, Kevlar® and ballistic nylon, are also highly effective against abrasion. Having a wide verity of options in the type of material you choose your gear to be, allows you to make a choice specific to your riding habits, budget and local weather conditions.

As with all other motorcycle gear, it is extremely important for your motorcycle pants and jacket to fit properly. In order for the armor located at the knees, hips, elbows, shoulders and back to fit exactly where intended on your body, it is essential to pick the right size and fit. Displaced armor will not be useful in case of a crash. It is also imperative to feel comfortable wearing your gear. Finding a motorcycle jacket and pants that will fit you properly will not only depend on your body type but on your riding style, riding conditions and the type of motorcycle you ride as well. Gear is specifically cut based on the position you’ll be sitting in while riding. Uncomfortable gear will distract you from focusing on riding and your surroundings. The only way to find proper fitting gear is to try it on and get a recommendation from an expert.

Start Off On the Right Foot and Get a Grip

Of the 206 bones in a human body, more than half (106) are in the hands and feet. These are small, fragile bones that are nearly impossible to re-construct in case of a fracture so it is imperative to protect them at all costs. Wearing proper gloves and footwear while riding will not only protect the hands and feet from potential injuries in case of a crash, but also protect you from harsh weather conditions and flying road debris.

Your feet take a hard beating from the elements while riding. Proper riding footwear will protect you from a variety of riding hazards including burns from hot exhaust pipes and impacts from flying road debris. Riding footwear will also give you added support in keeping your motorcycle up in case you plant your foot in loose gravel, oil or sand during a stop. In case of a crash, riding footwear will help provide valuable protection against foot and ankle injuries. Choosing properly fitted and comfortable footwear is vital. Riding footwear has to be snug enough to stay on during a crash but be loose enough to allow proper circulation and comfort. With an extensive variety of footwear options, it’s important to try on several pairs to find the best fitting size and style.

Like riding footwear, riding gloves also offer comfort and protection. It is second nature to extend your hands during a fall, therefore your hands may be your first line of defense in a crash. It is highly recommended that your riding gloves offer reinforcements in areas that tend to be the slide points, such as the palm, fingers and knuckles. Gloves that fit properly will improve your grip on the handlebars, while ill-fitting gloves may cause issues with operating the controls of your motorcycle. Riding gloves are available in variety of styles that have different functions based on your riding needs. Make sure your gloves “fit like a glove”.

Go Ride!!!
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