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Motorcycle Safety Gear Guide

RIDE FOR EVER

 

GOOD GEAR GUIDE

 

When you invest in riding gear, you want to make sure it is going to do its job. These 10 basic principles are a good place to start:

 

  1. Cover your whole body.
  2. Check the seams on your gear. There should be more than one line of stitching, and at least one line of concealed stitching on exposed seams.
  3. Check that all fastenings are secure and protected from contact with the road or other surfaces in a crash.
  4. Avoid external pockets or straps that could become tear points or snag on something in a crash.
  5. Use insulated, waterproof and windproof materials to protect you from the cold.
  6. Use reflective or light colours and ventilation to protect you from heat.
  7. Check that all your gear fits you properly so that it will remain in place in a crash.
  8. Don’t carry anything in your pockets that could cause injury in a crash.
  9. Use impact protectors over your joints.
  10. Protect your skin with abrasion-resistant material in vulnerable areas.

 

How Can The Right Gear Improve Your Ride?

 

Protection from the cold

Being cold is stressful and tiring; you become less alert and your reaction times slow. A drop in your body’s core temperature can even affect your brain’s function, impacting on decision-making and reactions. A cold rider can become anxious, irritable or detached from the task at hand.
Insulated and windproof gear will help maintain your core temperature and reduce cold stress. The insulation keeps a layer of warm air between your body and the outer shell of your gear. Avoid gear that is baggy or too big, as flapping and buffeting may force the warm air out. Close-fitting openings around your neck, wrists and waist, and covered zips will also reduce warm air leakage. Pay particular attention to keeping your neck, face, hands, feet and shins warm. A third of your body heat is lost from your neck and face, so a neck sock or balaclava is a good idea to stay warm.

 

Protection from moisture

 

Wet or damp clothes are uncomfortable and distracting. You will also get cold much more quickly if your clothes are wet, because water conducts heat away from your body. This is a particular safety issue for riders, as cooling is accelerated by the wind. Even in warm weather you can become chilled if your gear is damp from  perspiration.

Waterproof, breathable clothing is the key to keeping comfortably dry. There is a big difference between waterproof and water-resistant clothing. While water cannot penetrate waterproof fabric, it will eventually soak through a water-resistant lining. Good waterproof gear should be breathable. This means that it lets your sweat out, while preventing rain from getting through. PVC or plasticised nylon oversuits are waterproof, and offer useful rain protection in an emergency, but are not breathable. The result will be damp clothes and rapid heat transfer.

 

Protection from heat

 

Heat is probably the most difficult comfort issue for riders to resolve. Many riders do not wear adequate protection in very hot weather. This may be one way to avoid
overheating, but you risk dehydration, sunburn and windburn, in addition to substantial injuries if you crash.

motorcycle-rider-injury-risksVentilation and reflection are the keys to improving riding comfort in hot weather. Good ventilation allows the wind to flow through the clothing and over your skin to evaporate sweat. Well-ventilated gear allows air to enter through vents or mesh panels (in ‘zone 4’ – see Figure 2). Air exit points are at the back. The outer layer should also be designed to reflect rather than absorb heat from the sun and the road surface. Lighter colours reflect heat, while dark colours absorb it. There are a number of new materials on the market that are designed to improve comfort in hot weather. When riding in hot weather, remember to drink lots of water to replace what you lose through sweating.

 

 

How Can the right gear reduce your risk of Injury?

No matter what you are wearing, your chance of surviving a direct impact with a solid object reduces as the speed of the impact increases. however, many motorcycle  crashes do not involve direct impacts, nor do they occur at high speed. The right gear can prevent or reduce many of the most common rider injuries.

 

 

motorcyle-lessons-injury-risk-zones

 Design and construction

 

Unless protective gear has been tested in a crash simulation, it is impossible to tell how well it will perform in a crash. There are certain important design and construction features that will help you to recognise gear that is more likely to do the job of protecting you.

 

 

Impact protection

 

Impact protectors (also known as ‘body armour’) are shields worn inside your clothes to absorb and spread the impact of a direct blow. They reduce the risk of    fractures and joint damage and should be worn over the shoulders, elbows, hips and knees (see Figure 2).

 

For more information check this guide by the National Road Safety Council Good Gear Guide [PDF]