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Wear the Right Gear

Choosing what to wear when riding isn’t just about protection from injury, but also comfort. Properly fitting gear means you stay comfortable, warm and dry on your bike, helping you to fully enjoy your ride without getting distracted from the road.

Many items of protective wear now have reflective panels or strips. It’s good to have high visibility on as many parts of your bike as possible. Wear bright and fluorescent colours during the day and reflective elements in the dark.

Choosing a helmet that fits correctly is vital. If it moves around on your head, it won’t offer the best protection in a crash.

To make sure you’re getting the best for your money, look out for the independent SHARP rating system. It is a government programme that is unique in providing a 1 – 5 star safety rating: an indication of how much protection a helmet offers in an impact. Our independent advice can help to ensure you choose a helmet that offers the best protection possible.

Helmets sold in the UK must satisfy either British Standard 6658: 1985 or ECE Regulation 22.05 standards. Look for a label inside the helmet or on the shell to confirm this.

For more information about getting the right fit, the SHARP rating system and examples of affordable and highly-rated helmets, visit https://sharp.dft.gov.uk/

Never buy a second-hand helmet or use a helmet used by anyone else. The external appearance can disguise damage to the protective material inside the helmet.

The first thing you do in a crash is put your hands out to protect yourself – it’s instinct. Unfortunately, fingers and wrists are fragile, so it doesn’t take much for them to sustain long-term damage.

It can take less than a second in contact with the road to remove the skin from your hands so never ride without specialist motorcycling gloves – a strong protective layer is essential.

Most bike stores sell bike gloves for both winter and summertime; a pair of each will help keep your hands safe all year round.

The latest stats show 19% of hospital admissions for biking injuries involved broken bones in the lower leg, making it the most likely part of the body to get injured. So shielding your ankles and feet is vital.

Feet tend to get crushed sideways, so strong soles are extremely important. A stitched sole is best, and if possible bonded as well. Anything less and it may fall apart under impact or abrasion. The sole should contain ridges to provide good grip, and be at least 4mm thick. The thicker the sole, the more the boot will absorb the vibration of the bike.

Do not wear work boots with metal plates or toe caps. These can protect your feet in certain circumstances but are also capable of cutting through your toes.

Whether you ride a 50cc moped or a 1200cc superbike, riding in your everyday clothes puts you at real risk of serious injury. Finding clothing to shield you from both impact and abrasion – the most common causes of injury – is extremely important.

A short slide on tarmac – even at 30mph – will shred through clothes and then take skin down to bone in no time.

Leathers

Leathers should feel comfortable and fit well, without being tight. Make sure the arms are long enough and the shoulders in particular allow you to move within the jacket.

Zips should never lie directly against the skin.There should be an overlapping piece of leather. A zip against the skin will transmit heat from friction if you have a slide and a serious burn could result.

Leather should be at least 1.2mm thick. However, if it’s too thick it will be uncomfortable and will restrict your movement.

Good quality biker leathers with internal integrated CE approved body armour will provide the best all round protection.

Synthetic Suit

Look for thermal linings – preferably removable and breathable to ensure you remain cool when necessary. Also make sure there is CE-approved body armour integrated into the design.

Check there are flaps on the pockets to stop rain getting in. Also, make sure the cuffs, ankles and collar are all adjustable. Velcro fixings and over-cuffs should marry up with gloves to create a seamless covering for your body. Look for a nice snug fit around the neck and ensure that it’s comfortable. If it is too tight it will be very uncomfortable, or if it’s too loose it will be cold or let water in.

Kevlar

It is possible to get really good quality 'casual' motorcycle clothing. There are denim materials made with a mix of heavy duty denim and Kevlar weave which provide good abrasion protection. The addition of body armour provides safe motorcycle clothing which can be worn when not riding without you looking out of place.