Personal Protective Gear

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Personal Protective Gear

Riding a Motorcycle is great fun, and you can experience a sense of freedom which doesn’t even come close when you are locked inside a steel box – I mean a car. However, when you are inside a car you are protected from the elements, you can get the heater on and keep snug and dry on even the coldest, wettest days, switch on the air-con when you’re melting on those unbearably hot summer afternoons (I could do with a few of those right now) – and you’re also protected with your seat-belt, air bag and countless other safety features in case of an accident. If you ride a motorcycle, it’s just you, the bike and the elements. For this very reason it’s important that you wear the right type of personal protective gear, to keep you warm, to keep you dry (if necessary) and most importantly of all, to keep you safe.

Personal protective gear for motorcyclists therefore, has two major jobs to do – one to keep you safe, and the other is to keep you comfortable – there’s nothing more distracting than ill-fitting gear, and if you can’t ride your motorcycle comfortably then you will be distracted and not keeping your eye 100% on the job.

Personal Protective Gear for the Head

Motorcycle Helmets are the single most important piece of personal protective gear you could buy. Your helmet must be well fitting, it must have a sticker to prove that it is approved by the Department of Transport, this shows that it’s passed the minimum safety requirements needed.  Helmets save lives – end of story. They actually protect your head in different fundamental ways:

  • the outer shell resists any abrasion or penetration
  • the inner lining of the shell is designed to absorb much of the impact in case of an accident
  • the soft foam padded lining makes the helmet comfortable to wear

If your helmet has been damaged at all in an accident it may not be up to the job any more, so will need to be replaced. You only get one head so you are strongly advised to look after it . . .

Personal Protective Gear for the Face

The best protection you can get for your face is a full face helmet. This will not only cut down on the noisy wind whistling around your eyes and ears, it will also keep those flying bugs and stones away from your eyes, not to mention the wind and rain. Full face helmets really do offer a high degree of protection for the face. Make sure that the face shield is always clean and clear, and although a tinted motorcycle face shield may be useful in strong sunlight, you should only use a clear one when riding your motorcycle at night.

Goggles are another option, and are popular for use with off-road type motorcycles and with open faced motorcycle helmets. Unfortunately, goggles do not protect any other part of the face except the eyes, so they’re really not as efficient as other forms of facial protective gear. If you do wear goggles make sure that they’re fastened securely about your helmet, you certainly don’t want them to blow off in high winds. Make sure that your goggles are always clean and free from scratches – you can clean them with warm, soapy water (and your face shield as well, for that matter).

Personal Protective Gear – Footwear

You might be tempted to wear some open toed sandals or even sneakers in the summer time, but these will offer you very little in the way of protection. Take them with you in a back-pack and change when you arrive at your destination – that’s the best idea. Boots can protect your feet and ankles, not only in an accident situation, but also from the hot parts of your motorcycle – exhaust pipes get very hot and can give you a nasty ankle burn for starters.

Personal Protective Gear – Gloves

Even in the middle of the summer, it’s important that you wear the correct type of gloves when you ride your motorcycle.  Full-fingered gloves will protect the hands from the elements, as well as from blisters, cuts, abrasions and bruises if you are involved in a crash. A good pair of gloves will help you to keep a strong grip on the handlebars too.  Make sure that they’re not too much of a tight fit, you’ll stop the circulation in your fingers.

Personal Protective Gear – The Body

You can protect your body by wearing either a suitable jacket with pants, or an all-in-one motorcycle suit.  These will really help to save your body from any serious injury if you are involved in a crash. They should be made of either leather, or some other fabric which is designed to resist abrasions. When you’re trying on this personal protective gear, make sure that you try sitting on a motorcycle for the best fit. You will need to have longer arms and legs than your usual clothes, for when you are driving your motorcycle, so make sure that your gear will be comfortable when you are in position, as it were. You don’t want anything that will flap about in the wind, a high close collar will protect the neck and body from strong winds, you could wear a scarf too but make sure that it isn’t going to flap in the wind. Dress in plenty of layers, the personal protective gear you need on your motorcycle will probably be far too hot for when you reach your destination, so be prepared to peel off. 

Even if you’re planning on being a “fair weather rider”, the chances are that at some point in your motorcycling career you will get caught out in a rain shower. For this reason it’s always a good idea to have a well fitting rain suit handy at all times – you never know when you might need it, and if you’re soaked to the skin and shivering with cold, you won’t be in any fit condition to drive your motorcycle safely.


And that’s why you need it . . . Just imagine if he’d been wearing a thin jacket or had bare arms – seriously ouch!

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