Many motorcyclists choose to ride because of the freedom it offers as well as the feeling of being more in touch with the environment: the lack of a passenger compartment (cage) means that riders can enjoy first-hand the sunshine and fresh air of the outdoors, the wind and sound and feeling of the road, along with that three dimensional movement that cannot fail to put a smile on your face. Unfortunately, the lack of a steel safety cage also means that motorcyclists are more likely to be seriously injured if they are involved in any crash or fall. Indeed, according to statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), motorcycle riders suffer 5 percent of all highway fatalities, even though they represent only 2 percent of all vehicles on the road. Those inverse statistics are a bit frightening. So, motorcycle riders need to protect themselves as much as possible by riding defensively and also by wearing the right kind of gear.
Because motorcycles offer little in the way of protection, it is essential for riders to wear personal protective gear to stay safe. Below is a list of the most important safety gear that every rider should wear.
- Helmet: helmets save lives. They offer protection from penetration and abrasion and are designed to absorb the shock of impacts. Full-face helmets also cut down on wind noise, deflect bugs and other debris, and offer protection from rain. I know that many bikers fought the imposition of the helmet law, however as a motorcycle accident attorney, I have met hundreds of bikers who would not be alive today if they had not been wearing their helmet. Head injuries are a leading cause of death for motorcyclists, and a DOT approved helmet is the only helpful device between the rider's head and what is striking that head. A good helmet is so important I find it difficult to understand why so many motorcyclists skimp on their helmets. If a motorcycle crash happens, a helmet is a piece of equipment for which every biker is grateful.
- Leathers: leathers are one-piece or two-piece suits, or separates that offer protection from impacts and road rash in the event of a crash or a fall. "Leathers" may be made of either leather or highly durable fabrics, such as Kevlar or Cordura. Many modern leathers have armor at likely impact regions, such as the shoulders, elbows, knees, hips and back. In my view, protective leather or textile is absolutely essential for every rider. Speaking from experience, you have a much better chance of walking away from a motorcycle wreck if you are armored and your skin is protected. Road rash is technically a burn injury and can disable a person for an extended period of time.
- Boots: sturdy, over-the-ankle boots can protect a rider from a variety of hazards, including burns from exhaust pipes and slides, as well as impacts with vehicles or curbs or light poles. Foot and ankle and leg injuries are among the most common injuries to motorcycle riders and many of these injuries can be prevented or reduced by a good pair of boots. In the event of a crash, strong boots help protect against injuries to the feet and ankles. High performance boots have hard protection within the boot which can greatly reduce the risk of foot and lower leg injuries. It makes me cringe to see motorcyclists riding in top-siders or running shoes when a pair of boots can help so much if something goes bad on a ride
- Gloves: gloves help improve a rider's grip on the handlebars and offer protection against abrasions and cuts in the event of a crash. Gloves also keep your hands warmer and more flexible so you can more easily and safely operate the bike. In the event of a fall and a slide, hands are going to be abraded or cut and a good pair of gloves is very welcome.
A San Francisco Personal Injury Attorney Can Help
If you or someone you love has been injured in a motorcycle accident, contact an experienced San Francisco personal injury attorney who specializes in motorcycle crash cases. A personal injury lawyer can help evaluate your potential case and explain to you your options. Many lawyers call themselves motorcycle lawyers, however only a few actually have adequate experience and knowledge to understand the dynamics of a motorcycle accident. To learn if you have a case, contact a motorcycle attorney.