Must Have Motorcycle Safety Gear

Motorcycle Safety Hand Signals
••• Photo © David McNew / Staff / Getty Images

If you are ready to take your motorcycle out on the road, you need to make sure it’s in good shape, that you know how to drive it, and that you are all set up with the proper safety gear.

Safety Helmet

One of the essential items of motorcycle safety gear is your helmet. It’s crucial to select a helmet that can not only withstand the severe impact a potential crash would cause, but also fit you correctly so that it can protect you in the process.

Your safest bet is a full-face helmet, which will offer maximum crash protection and also keep things out of your eyes, which could distract you enough to lead to a crash in some cases.

Make sure only to wear DOT-approved helmets (they will have a sticker on the back) that are fewer than five years old. Like bike helmets, the material starts to degrade after that amount of time, making the helmets less safe. Try not to rough your helmet up, either: The main point of a helmet is to take the brunt of the force that your head would otherwise sustain in a crash, and if you frequently drop or manhandle your helmet, it will over time lose its ability to do so.

Finally, make sure that you purchase a properly fitting helmet that is snug enough to protect you without pinching your pressure points. You shouldn’t be able to wiggle or rotate the helmet while it is on your head. Your best bet is to head into an actual store to try on helmets in person with the help of an expert and ensure a perfect fit.

Safety Jacket

A proper motorcycle jacket will protect the top half of your body that your helmet doesn’t cover in the event of an accident. But you can’t just buy any leather jacket and call it a day: You’ll need a jacket designed specifically for riding that can withstand the intense abrasion that would occur in the event of a crash. There are high-quality options that are leather and synthetic, but the best ones have super doubled seams, have body armor sewn inside the front and back of them, and fit snugly enough to withstand the wind and keep you the ideal temperature in every type of weather.

The jacket should be snug, but you should be able to bend your arms and drive your bike comfortably. Also consider the weather conditions you will be driving in before picking a jacket, as different ones are better for different seasons and conditions.

Safety Boots

Motorcycles are super heavy
, and if you crash one, it will likely land on top of you. Without proper footwear, that is terrible news for your feet and ankles.

You will need to select riding-specific boots that don’t allow your foot to bend or your ankle to rotate. They should cover your ankles and have added features like metal plates in the sole that protect your foot in the event of a crash. Make sure they’re oil-resistant so that you don’t slip on the road, and fit snugly so you don’t slip in spite of that fact.

Safety Pants

You can’t just throw on any old pair of blue jeans and call it a day.

The rule of thumb to remember is that for every MPH over 30 you’re going in a crash, you can expect to lose 1 millimeter of your skin due to abrasion if you’re not adequately protected.

Think long and hard about that before you chance it.

There are blue jeans that will work, but they are reinforced with Kevlar. There are also leather and other synthetic options, as well as full suits and custom tops and pants that zip together. It all depends on your personal preference, though a full suit will help block the wind better than separate pants and a jacket will.

Safety Gloves

You will need a good pair of gloves that allows you to move your hands but also protects them with thick stitching and some form of armor on your palms and knuckles.

Earplugs and Eye Protection

While not strictly necessary, it’s a good idea to protect your ears and eyes when you are on the road.

Bike Tools

If you crash your bike, you will probably need to call a tow truck. But if a part is loose and you’re in a remote area, then having bike tools will save you a lot of hassle and hopefully help you avoid chancing it and risking an accident.