Many keen motorcyclists agree that even the worlds fastest and most frightening rollercoasters cannot compare to the speed and sheer thrill of riding their first performance bike. It’s a feeling of unparalleled freedom, the excitement that goes far beyond the purpose of a simple mode of transport.
That being said this lifestyle is not without its risks, in fact, motorcyclists face more potential danger than any other road user. Naturally, motorbikes do not offer many of the safety features cars do (like seat belts and airbags), are harder to see and move and astonishingly fast speeds.
As there are more motorists on the roads now than ever before, it’s essential that motorcyclists take precautions to ensure their safety. Accidents do happen more frequently than they should, and more often than not it’s the motorcyclist who comes off worse, especially if they are not wearing the right safety equipment.
In the past some people have opted to ignore these risks and not invest inadequate safety equipment, fearing they may be too weighed down while riding or that they may not project the image they want when covered in leather or other safety gear. Fortunately, modern motorcycle safety gear is no longer as cumbersome as it used to be. In fact, lots of safety gear looks pretty impressive on and off the bike. It is sleek, comfortable and more importantly can be the difference between life and death during an accident.
Safety may be the most important thing but as any motorcyclist will tell you comfort is also key and it’s also nice to look stylish when riding. If motorcycling gear fits well and is comfortable, then the rider will be more focused on their surroundings rather than being uncomfortable or sore. Well-made gear also needs to be seen, and that’s where style can be more important than people know. Let’s be honest some motorcyclists can look pretty cool, but their bright leather and reflective panels are designed to be eye-catching on the road as well as when they dismount.
The most important part of the human body is the head of course, and because of this, the motorcycle helmet is considered the most important piece of protective gear a rider can wear. Simply put it greatly increases the chances of saving your life during an accident. Many helmets are rated 1-5 by how much protection they offer; this is very important to consider when choosing the right one to purchase.
This rating system is known as SHARP and is a government initiative to reduce brain injuries and deaths following motorcycle accidents. The UK government’s website contains more information about this initiative. For more information about getting the right fit, the SHARP rating system and examples of affordable and highly rated helmets, visit www.direct.gov.uk/sharp. It’s also worth noting that it’s important never to buy a second-hand helmet. Where outwardly the helmet may appear to be in good condition, this is no reflection on the damage and fractures it may contain on the inside. Simply put, it’s not worth the risk. Always buy a brand new helmet from a reputable retailer that you know is the correct fit for you.
Visibility when riding a motorcycle is also a key part of being safe, the visor on each helmet should always suit the needs of the rider. It’s also very important to buy a visor that has the correct (and legally required) level of tint and keeps out glare from the sun before agreeing to purchase.
Any motorcyclist who has ever been in a crash will tell you it’s a natural instinct to push your arms and hands out in front of you to protect your body from an impact. That is bad news for the bones in our hands and wrists that are at most risk of taking the brunt of this force. That is why every motorcyclist should invest in quality specialist motorcycling gloves. Unlike helmets, gloves do not have any rating system, it is up to the rider to determine the right set of gloves, but there are several factors to consider.
The gloves need to be lightweight enough not to be cumbersome; motorcyclists need to be able to grip their handlebars and access other areas of their bike with ease. Comfort and control are important, and if the gloves are too heavy, then they will become a distraction while riding. It’s also important to make sure that the gloves do not get too hot or too cold.
Luckily most quality gloves are made of a material that is designed to regulate hand temperature so they can be used all year round. Decent gloves should be stitched well, waterproof and always must come with a strap that keeps them secure so they provide the protection they must if the worst should happen.
The above also applies to motorcycle boots. However, one important thing to point out is the grip on the bottom of the boots needs to allow the rider the best possible security while riding. Feet need to be firmly secured to bike while riding without slipping. High-quality boots will ensure this.
Finally and just as important is the jackets and trousers motorcyclists wear. If you were to ‘drop’ the bike which is a term motorcyclist use to describe a ‘method of crashing’ where the bike hits the ground first, ideally protecting the rider, then your body and limbs need to be covered with the safest possible material. Skin or normal clothing hitting concrete or asphalt at high speed can be shredded upon impact. The highest quality padded leather can protect against this and really could save a life. Like all motorcycling gear it needs to be waterproof, temperature regulated, fit securely and comfortably.
Finally, it’s important to point out that some cycling gear like back protectors, shock absorbers and ‘base layer clothing’ can also be purchased. These items help keep motorcyclists warm in winter and protect internal organs should a crash occur. If you are unlucky enough to find yourself a victim of a road traffic accident, it would be wise to get in touch with a specialist personal injury solicitor such as Smith Jones Solicitors that have decades of experience in winning motorcycle accident compensation for road traffic accident victims.