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This article was published on August 19th, 2020
Riding down the road on a hot sunny day, the wind in your hair, wearing a plain white t-shirt and blue jeans. This is what Hollywood would have you believe is the motorcycle clothing you need, after all, if it’s good enough for James Dean, it’s good enough for you right? Wrong!
In 2020, there are many more things other than the way you look that you need to consider when deciding which motorcycle clothing you should purchase to stay as safe as possible on your ride.
In this blog post, we outline the essential items of motorcycle clothing every motorcyclist should own.
As everyone who owns or rides a motorcycle is aware of, protective motorcycle clothing can potentially be the difference between a minor or life-changing injury, but what many motorcyclists and their fellow road users are unaware of is the impact that failing to wear protective clothing can have on a compensation claim if a motorcyclist is involved in a road traffic collision.
A precedent was set in Froom v Butcher in 1976, which established that if a driver of a vehicle or a motorcycle is injured in an accident and the injured party could have sustained lesser or no injuries if they had taken all possible safety measures, e.g. wearing the correct protective clothing whilst riding their motorcycle, then the damages they received as compensation would be reduced by up to 25%.
Therefore it’s essential you invest in the best possible protective equipment that you can afford, not only to remain safe on the road but to protect yourself should you need to make a motorcycle accident claim.
Whether you’re riding in spring summer autumn or winter, a helmet is a non-negotiable bit of kit for every motorcyclist.
Whilst there is no law that says you must wear other items of protective clothing, the Government explicitly says that ‘you must wear a safety helmet that meets British safety standards when riding a motorcycle or moped on the road”.
However, whilst wearing a helmet is essential, having your helmet expertly fitted by a professional is not.
This may not seem like the end of the world, however, a helmet that does not fit correctly could lead to complications and further injury if you are involved in a motorcycle accident.
As we have highlighted in a previous blog post, a poorly fitting helmet that cost £1,000 is much less effective than one that costs a lot less but that fits perfectly.
You can learn more about the safety standards that motorcycle helmets must adhere to by clicking here.
Arguably there is nothing more important when riding a motorcycle than seeing where you are going.
Under section 84 of the Highway code, it is advised that eye protectors are also worn in addition to motorcycle helmets.
Whilst this won’t be an issue for those with full face visors built into their motorcycle helmet, it may be something that those who prefer a classicly styled motorcycle helmet may need to consider.
However, a pair of sunglasses won’t be enough to satisfy the safety of your eyes.
The law states that those who use goggles or visors must ensure that their eye protection
If you are unsure of what would best suit you when it comes to eye protection, speak to a specialist motorcycle clothing retailer such as Pidcocks who will be able to advise on the best course of action for your needs.
So you’ve got yourself a high-quality helmet that fits perfectly, now it’s time to make sure your torso and legs are protected.
This is where many motorcyclists, particularly those starting out can struggle to know exactly what they need to stay safe, whilst remaining comfortable on their ride.
Essentially whether you choose a jacket and trouser set or an all in one motorcycle suit, it is down to preference, however, there are a few things to consider.
Firstly opting for a trouser and jacket set will offer more ventilation compared to an all-in-one.
Perhaps the biggest choice you will need to make when choosing motorcycle clothing will be the material it is made out of.
When it comes to motorcycle clothing, there are usually two options.
The first is the leathers.
Leather is the classic choice for motorcyclists and has been helping to protect riders for many years, and whilst leathers are more durable than their man-made counterparts, they are not as adjustable to help you remain comfortable in all types of weather.
An alternative to leathers is to use man-made materials.
Kevlar, Teflon and nylon are all becoming commonplace in protective motorcycle clothing
Many motorcyclists, particularly beginners, will look at the bulkiness of some of the items of protective clothing and wonder “how can I be expected to wear that in summer?”
But don’t worry, many items of protective motorcycle clothing have removable inner layers which can help you stay cooler during the warmer months whilst also ensuring you are protected on your ride.
Jackets, trousers and all-in-one suits all tend to include air vents to help keep the temperature down too.
Mand-made materials also have a few other notable advantages over traditional leathers.
They are often waterproof and come with body armour built-in, enhancing your levels of protection.
When purchasing any protective clothing, make sure it has double or triple stitching on the seams. This will ensure that the seams don’t come apart in high winds or should the worst happen and you are thrown from your motorcycle.
Your hands are integral to the way you ride, so why not ensure they have the best possible protection.
Much like the trousers, jackets and suits we’ve just mentioned, gloves come in many shapes and materials.
As they are upfront grasping the handlebars when you ride, they potentially more hazards than most parts of your body.
Cold temperatures can be an issue even in the hottest months of the year as wind-chill can arise at higher speeds.
Likewise, debris can kick up from the road and has the potential to break bones and cause a seemingly harmless incident to develop into a serious motorcycle accident.
Always ensure you select gloves that are not only insulated but also gloves that feature external or internal armour.
Many gloves that are available today have built-in pieces of protective materials, protecting your joints and the back of your hands whilst you ride.
Boots are the final piece in the motorcycle clothing puzzle.
Wearing protective boots is particularly important as your feet are the part of your body that is nearest to the ground when you ride a motorcycle.
Much like your hands, your feet will be exposed to debris, the weather and many other potentially harmful situations and so protecting them should be a priority.
Boots also play a key role in supporting your feet and ankles as you ride, but also when you come to a stop. A pair of sturdy boots can help ensure the weight of your bike is less detrimental to your ankle and knees as it supports the weight of your bike.
Due to the positioning of your feet when you ride a motorcycle, you should also aim to choose a pair that have non-slip and oil-resistant soles, to help you avoid any nasty surprises when you dismount your motorcycle.
So there we have it, these are the minimum items that every motorcyclist should have as they prepare to ride.
We hope that these tips help you stay as safe as possible and help you enjoy your next ride in a safe way.
However, if you are unfortunate enough to be involved in a motorcycle collision or a motorcycle accident, rest assured, our team are here for you.
We work alongside some of the most prominent motorcycle organisations including BMF, Midlands Riders, Upright Derbyshire, Biker Down and RoSPA, to ensure that every motorcyclist has access to expert motorcycle solicitors should they need to pursue a claim.
If you would like to speak to a member of our specialist motorcycle team, please don’t hesitate, you can contact us for free today on 0800 1979 345 or by completing our online enquiry form by clicking here.