Motorcycle safety statistics are pretty grim. The U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that fatal crashes occur at a rate of about 72 per 100,000, compared to 13 out of 100,000 for cars. And when helmet laws were repealed in some states, motorcycle deaths skyrocketed from 2,897 in 2000 to 5,154 in 2007, a 78% increase.
How can you protect yourself? Here are the options to make your life on two wheels safer.
There is an amazing array of motorcycle gear on the market designed to protect your body from head to toe. Invest in a chest and back plate to protect your vital organs, knee and elbow protectors to cover the pointy parts most likely to hit the pavement first, boots and gloves to protect your extremities. There are other options, like neck collars and leg protectors, but those are the basics, especially necessary for motocross riders.
In addition to being a ruthlessly cool iconic fashion statement, a motorcycle jacket protects you against the wind, stinging sand particles and road grit, the elements, bugs, and other things that commonly fly at your body while you're riding. At high speeds, a tiny chunk of gravel thrown off a truck wheel can ruin your whole day if your chest isn't covered. Invest in some serious protection with a high-tech heavy leather jacket reinforced with carbon-fiber supports and molecular armor. They are flexible and stylish, and at the same time offer outstanding protection without the armadillo impression.
Whether or not you are required to by law, you should. The statistics are clear. When you wear a helmet, you reduce the risk of killing yourself in a crash by 37%. Aside from death, head injuries are more serious and costly than other injuries. Wearing a helmet as part of your motorcycle gear is a no-brainer.
Obvious? Yes. But how many times do you see motorcycles zipping around stalled traffic, or worse, moving traffic? When automobile drivers don't see you coming from behind, it can be fatal. Reckless motorcycle driving is both common and dangerous. It's your responsibility to ride safely.