Last year 92 motorcyclists lost their lives in crashes on Colorado roadways even though motorcyclists account for only 3 percent of vehicles on our streets. While most people know that wearing a helmet is a no-brainer when it comes to protecting motorcyclists and their passengers from fatal head injuries, it’s just as important to wear other personal protective equipment to keep motorcycling as safe as possible. In fact, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that the protective apparel worn by a motorcyclist provides the only defense against injury in a crash because motorcyclists usually separate from the motorcycle at some point during an accident.
As the folks at the Motorcycle Industry Council like to remind us: with a car, you step into your safety equipment but with a motorcycle, you put on your safety equipment. The right gear helps minimize impact and abrasion injuries if you do happen to have a crash. So before you even swing a leg over a bike, make sure you’re dressed properly by wearing this protective gear:
- Eye protection– Colorado law requires that both motorcycle operators and their passengers wear eye protection. Eyewear is essential for protecting you from road debris and bugs or insects, but more importantly, it prevents vision degradation caused by windblast and foreign objects in the eyes. And proper eye protection can also reduce serious eye injury during a crash.
While the best eye protection comes from a helmet visor, goggles or eyeglasses made from safety glass or plastic are also a safe way to go.
- Gloves – Motorcycle riding gloves are critical for keeping your hands safe, dry, and
comfortable while maneuvering your ride. Make sure your gloves fit well and you can use all your fingers without binding, and that you can use the handlebar controls effectively. Look for armor and/or padding in any areas that will absorb impact, like the palms and knuckles.
- Jacket – The most frequent crash injury to a motorcyclist is abrasion. The right material and construction is very important when it comes to resisting abrasion, known as “road rash.” The good stuff is more expensive, but the right choice will pay for itself if you’re ever in a crash. While quality leather or textiles provide safe protection, the safest jackets have armor with stiff plates and soft pads of material designed to absorb the energy of a crash. Jacket armor should protect elbows, shoulders and even the spine. Also, wearing a brightly colored jacket with reflective strips goes a long way towards increasing visibility both day and night.
- Pants – Don’toverlook the importance of a proper pair of motorcycle pants. As with a jacket, riding in pants of the right material can greatly minimize injuries in the event of a crash. Armor in the knees, hips and waist add extra protection.
- Boots – It’s important your feet and ankles are protected from the heat of the engine as well as in the event of a fall. Riding boots should completely cover the ball of your ankle. Sturdy material (usually leather) is recommended. Boots should have good traction as well as oil and gas-resistant soles. Do not ride a motorcycle with bare feet, flip-flops, sandals, or running shoes of any type because they will not protect your whole foot in an accident.
Just adding this extra gear will greatly reduce your chance of serious injury in a crash. However, if you or a loved one were injured in a motorcycle accident, contact a knowledgeable Denver motorcycle accident lawyer who can evaluate your case and
help you understand your rights.