What Motorcycle Safety Gear Should I Have?

October 21, 2022 | Attorney, Matthew Dolman
What Motorcycle Safety Gear Should I Have?

What Safety Equipment Or Gear Should I Have?

Here at Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA, we've created a list of protective gear that is essential for a safe riding experience. Unluckily, motorcyclists rarely come out on top when in a collision with an automobile, so it is vital that you protect yourself by using the proper gear. Recently, we've stumbled across a fantastic article that outlines in detail why each piece of safety equipment is essential to prevent motorcycle accidents, here are the findings:

The Importance of a Motorcycle Helmet:

Regardless of whether or not it is illegal to toss wearing a helmet out the window, should never cross a motorcyclist's mind. While driving without one may be cooler in the hot heat of Florida, it also increases your chances of being severely or even fatally hurt if struck by another motorist. Understandably, when buying a helmet, there's a lot of styles and prices that can seem overwhelming. It is very important that you purchase a helmet that has passed the strict safety tested administered by the DOT. Every motorcycle helmet sold in the U.S. is required to meet such a certification. However, there is also the Snell helmet standard to keep in mind. This extra guarantee is based on rigorous testing developed by the Snell Memorial foundation which includes 7 test types from impact to shell penetration and more. It's also important that the helmet fits and is snug on your head where it's not too tight but it is comfortable enough to wear for long periods of time. Although statistics prove beyond a doubt that wearing a motorcycle helmet saves lives, many riders still dispute the claim. Others choose to take the risk of riding without a helmet while knowing the risk. A helmet offers the only protection between the skull and the road or other hard surface just as the skull protects the brain. But how much protection do the different styles of motorcycle helmet really provide? Many states have laws in place requiring the use of a helmet. Florida allows helmet use as optional for riders over 21 that carry a minimum of $10,000 in medical insurance. It is shown that states that implemented helmet requirements have reduced motorcycle accident head injuries by 50%. For proper protection, most states require helmets to be approved by the Department of Transportation. That does not mean that the helmet will offer the maximum protection. It only means that the helmet design meets the requirements for the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard 218.

There are three basic styles of motorcycle helmet offering three varying degrees of protection:

  • The half helmet – Also referred to as the beanie, this style helmet is preferred by cruisers because of its look and the fact that the ears are uncovered for better hearing. Half helmets are usually worn with goggles or sunglasses. They only offer protection from traumatic brain injuries in 36.8% of crashes.
  • The three quarter helmet – These helmets cover the head and ears but not the face. They offer protection from brain trauma in 55.5% of motorcycle crashes.
  • The modular or full face helmet - These helmets are favored by sport bike riders and generally shunned by cruisers. Full face helmets not only offer good head protection they offer greater chin protection, reduced noise levels and no bug to face contact.
All of the above styles of motorcycle helmets are available with DOT approval but they do not offer equal protection. The Snell Institute, a private testing institution, not only tests and approves helmets, but they follow up with spot checks. The DOT allows helmet companies to do their own private testing and does not do follow ups. The DOT allows for less initial impact than the Snell Institute and limits impact duration. The Snell standard has no impact duration associated with its ratings.

Other Types of Motorcycle Safety Gear

  • Motorcycle Gloves: The general rule of thumb, given the average coefficient of friction for road surface, is that you'll lose 1mm of flesh for every 1mph you're going over 30mph when you hit it. Induce that to 55mph and think about how much flesh can rip off. Any faster and the friction against the road will cause you're body to wear down to its bones, which will likely cause a fatal bone infection. Leaving your skin exposed is exactly how it sounds. We humans instinctively try to catch our falls by throwing out our hands. Hands are extremely fragile and fleshy. A proper pair of gloves will protect your hands from both impact and abrasion. With a retention strap secured around your wrists, “armor” for the top of your hand and knuckles as well as protective material to cover your palms (palm sliders), your hands will be extra protected [2].
  • Motorcycle Jackets & Pants: Road rash, deep lacerations, broken or fractured bones, loss of limbs, and permanent scarring and disfigurement can occur if not properly outfitted. Heavier materials and thicker and/or stronger leather will be more capable of providing protection throughout very high-speed crashes or across multiple incidents. Textile motorcycle jackets and leather motorcycle jackets can help protect you from such abrasions and road rash. Jackets that are waterproof and have extra padding called “body armor” around joints, chests and backs are added protection from your skin being torn apart. When it comes to pants and jeans, wearing ones that are made from thicker materials with liners or weaves can add a little more protection than what is offered by regular bottoms. While wearing regular jeans for leisure activity is understandable, longer drives should be paired with long and durable pants to protect yourself from head to toe.
  • Motorcycle Boots: Just like your hands, your feet are very fragile and can be easily injured during everyday activities. The good news is that heavy duty, over the ankle boots are available to protect you from the harsh reality of a crash. Wearing sneakers or sandals will not protect you from anything at all. Wearing shoes that protect not only your feet but also your ankles is crucial to ensuring that the tight support protects your foot from being crushed in an impact with a strong sole [2].
  • Motorcycle Goggles/Glasses: Large Florida bugs, dirt, dust and road debris are only some of the things that can make its way into a motorcyclist's eyes and cause severe eye damage when riding. Another added component would be to invest in tinted visors or glasses that are more effective than sunglasses at blocking the sun. We do live in the sunshine state, so it's extra important for local riders. Do not risk your eyesight. If a helmet doesn't already come fully covered, buy and wear full coverage, impact resistant eye protection whenever you ride [1].
  • Motorcyclists' Colors: It is imperative that you wear clothing that will make you visible. Whether its bright colors or reflective strips embedded in your gear, other motorists need to be able to see you on the road. This is the time that you do want to draw attention to yourself so that you are visible to everyone on the road.
How Does Your Helmet Affect Your Injury Claim? To what degree does the helmet you are wearing, or not wearing, affect a claim you have for injuries received in a motorcycle crash involving another driver or an agency responsible for road maintenance? In states where helmets are mandatory, not wearing one could make the claim difficult. Wearing a helmet that is not DOT approved could also make a difference in the outcome. In helmet optional states such as Florida, there are no statistics available regarding the type of helmet, or the absence of one, in relation to awards in motorcycle brain trauma accident cases. If You Are Involved in a Motorcycle Crash If you are involved in a motorcycle crash, seek medical attention regardless of how you may feel and what style of motorcycle helmet you were wearing. Serious brain injuries may show no symptoms for hours, days or even weeks. Only a trained medical professional can determine through observation and testing the extent and severity of a traumatic brain injury. Motorcycle Accident Attorney After receiving proper examination and care, contact an experienced motorcycle accident law firm like Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA. Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA has successfully represented countless victims of Florida motorcycle accidents. In Florida, no-fault insurance laws do not apply to motorcycles. Your medical expenses could far exceed you medical insurance.  You could also lose a lifetime of expected income. You need a lawyer that is willing to fight for the compensation you deserve. Call Dolman Law today for a free consultation at 727-222-6922. Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA 1663 1st Ave S. St. Petersburg, FL 33712 727-222-6922


Matthew Dolman

Personal Injury Lawyer

This article was written and reviewed by Matthew Dolman. Matt has been a practicing civil trial, personal injury, products liability, and mass tort lawyer since 2004. He has successfully fought for more than 11,000 injured clients and acted as lead counsel in more than 1,000 lawsuits. Always on the cutting edge of personal injury law, Matt is actively engaged in complex legal matters, including Suboxone, AFFF, and Ozempic lawsuits.  Matt is a lifetime member of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum and Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forum for resolving individual cases in excess of $1 million and $2 million, respectively. He has also been selected by his colleagues as a Florida Superlawyer and as a member of Florida’s Legal Elite on multiple occasions. Further, Matt has been quoted in the media numerous times and is a sought-after speaker on a variety of legal issues and topics.

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