Leather motorcycle apparel, along with a DOT approved helmet will go a long way in saving you a lot of pain and suffering. Indeed, they can save your life.
But what to do about the extremities? Many of us have become attached to our hands and feet and would like to keep them! Broken bones and amputations can and do occur as the result of a serious motorcycle accident, but there are things you can do to minimize the injuries.
Rule # 3: Protect the Extremities
It is human nature, a basic instinct, to use your hands to stop the momentum of an involuntary slide. More often than not, the heel of the palm will bear the brunt of the load when putting on the brakes in a prone position, and the quality of your motorcycle gloves will likely determine whether you end that slide with skin on your hands or not.
Once again, leather is the obvious choice. When choosing a pair of leather motorcycle gloves, remember why we use the term riding grade. While a good glove does not necessarily need to be made of 1.5mm thick naked cowhide, a fashionable ladies lambskin riding glove probably won’t offer much protection either.
Look for some kind of reinforcement material at the palm and thumb area of the glove. Gloves are often made from a hybrid of materials, incorporating leather, ballistic nylons, mesh, and Kevlar in a maze of colors and stitching patterns. Look for some kind of logic in the pattern, with the Kevlar reinforcing whatever material at vulnerable areas of the glove and the hand.
People use their hands and their feet to actually drive a motorcycle, so the tactile qualities of a glove should also be considered. A good non slip grip is essential in controlling the vehicle, and some gloves even have pre-curved fingers to help you with that. Many gloves are lined with insulating or waterproof material, convenient for inclement weather, but don’t loose your touch.
The longer the glove the better. A glove that barely covers your wrist is obviously going to expose some skin as the jacket rides up your arm. Gauntlet style gloves will cover the most area and have the added advantage of preventing drafts up the sleeve for cold weather riders.
Needless to say, fingerless gloves, leather or not, may be a fashionable statement in some circles, but are pretty much useless from a motorcycle safety perspective.
Being on the underside of a falling 300 lb motorcycle is likely to cause injury to at least one foot, ankle, or leg, the severity of which can be greatly minimized by a good, stiff pair of boots. While you will often see bikers cruising down the road in a pair of hiking boots, there are boots that are specifically manufactured to protect the foot, ankle, and shin in the event of a motorcycle accident.
Just like the rest of your motorcycle safety gear, motorcycle boots should be made from materials that are abrasion resistant, and will maintain their integrity in a crash. The higher the boot, the more it protects, and similar to the concept of body armor, rubber or metal reinforcement can be located at the heel and toe, with added shock absorbers at the ankle and shin.
The boot should be moderately flexible with an oil resistant sure gripping sole to maintain your position on the bike. A wide, stiff sole will help prevent the crushing of the foot in a fall.
As the feet are also used to balance the bike in a stationary position, heels should be wide and flat for optimal sure footedness.
Many styles of motorcycle boots are available, and if you choose one that laces up, just remember to keep them tied. Nothing like having your leg pulled through a spinning wheel at 70 mph!
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