Motorcycle Safety Gear - An Overview
By Lydia Quinn
When riding a motorcycle, proper safety gear is essential for your own safety, security and enjoyment. Here is an overview of important motorcycle safety gear.
With many states and countries enacting helmet laws, it's pretty much a requirement that if you own a motorcycle, you need a helmet. A helmet provides your head protection in the event of an impact or accident. Many helmets also include face shields, ear protection and even communications devices. There are three basic types of helmets, the full face, open face and 1/2 helmet. A full face helmet covers the entire head, with a face shield covering even the face. This type of helmet offers the most protection of any helmet type, since statistics show that 35% of all motorcycle crashes showed major impact in the chin and bar area. The open face helmet is similar to the full face helmet but lacks the face shield and chin protection. Very little face protection is provided with these types of helmets. With the open face helmet, it is crucial to augment with wraparound motorcycle goggles for proper eye protection from wind, dirt and bugs. The third type of helmet is the 1/2 helmet, which only covers the back of the skull, offering the least amount of protection during an accident and the minimum coverage allowed by most laws. The color of helmets is also important. While black helmets are stylish, they are also among the most difficult to see by other motorists. Helmets are generally made from plastics, including kevlar reinforced plastic and carbon fiber. Inside, a helmet is generally lined with fabric and foam for padding and comfort.
There are several types of clothing generally worn by bikers, including the traditional "leathers" and the more protective textile suits that are now common and generally made from synthetic fibers. Leathers have been worn since World War I and were originally adapted from WWI tank corps gear. Leathers provide some impact protection, as well as protection from abrasion, scratches and punctures. In addition, there is some weather protection, however, leather tends to take a long time to dry from being wet and also tends to stay colder longer than regular clothing.
Nowadays, many bikers choose to opt for special motorcycle clothing made from synthetic fibers instead of traditional leathers. These man made textiles offer far better protection from the weather, heat, cold, rain and water. These materials also provide highly functional pockets and vents. In addition, the synthetic materials are generally more comfortable in different kinds of weather, even warmer weather. Synthetic fibers also take much less time to dry out than their leather counterparts.
These synthetic textile suits can also be worn over your regular clothing while still remaining comfortable, something not possible with leathers. The suits are usually made from high density ballistic nylon made from Kevlar, Cordura, Lycra or a combination thereof. They are also generally lined with waterproof material like Goretex.
Special boots are available specifically for bikers. Generally made from heavy leather, biker boots tend to have a shorter heel in order to allow maximum control while on the bike. Biker boots may also include metal, plastic or composite materials. Quality biker boots can protect the bikers feet, ankles and legs during an accident.
Lydia Quinn writes for Phat Sports Shades, a leading provider of high performance eyewear and eye protection for sports, motorcycle riding and outdoor activities. Visit us at: http://www.phatsportshades.com
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