The Choice: Sweat or Bleed – The Unspoken Truth About Motorcycle Safety Gear
The choice between sweating a little in protective gear or bleeding on the asphalt is a no-brainer. Yet, many riders still debate the necessity of motorcycle safety gear. Let’s dive into the world of motorcycle safety and understand why protective gear is not just a choice but a lifesaver.
The Miraculous Recovery of Racers
We’ve all seen it – a motorcycle racer takes a nasty spill during a high-speed race, only to bounce back up, rush to their bike, and rejoin the race as if nothing happened. It’s nothing short of miraculous.
But what’s their secret? It’s not some superhuman ability; it’s their protective gear.
Helmets: The First Line of Defense
Every rider knows the importance of a helmet. Why? Because wearing the right helmet is all about protecting the most vital part of your body. Helmets are designed to absorb the impact and reduce the risk of traumatic brain injuries.
Whether you prefer full-face, open-face, or half helmets, ensuring it fits correctly and meets safety standards is crucial.
The Gruesome Reality of Road Rash
Imagine sliding across the rough asphalt at high speeds. Your mind is racing. A “few scratches” is the last thing you’re thinking about, right? Maybe it is, or maybe it’s the only thing you can think about as you slide and tumble and feel the flesh rip away against the rough asphalt.
The True Dangers of Road Rash
Without protective gear, the road acts like a relentless cheese grater against the skin. Road rash isn’t just a few scratches or a minor inconvenience; it can range from a superficial rug burn-like injury to a severe third-degree wound that demands immediate medical attention and has a high risk of infection.
Make no mistake. Road Rash is a kind of personal injury after a motorcycle wreck that should not be ignored, downplayed, or underestimated.
Dressing for the Season – and Safety
As the chilly winds of fall approach, riders often bundle up to keep warm. But this seasonal attire can serve a dual purpose: warmth and protection. Why not ensure that our gear, whether for warmth or style, also offers the best protection against potential accidents?
In a revealing material drag test here’s how various forms of leg protection stood up:
- Regular jeans gave way in less than 4 feet at 35 mph.
- Kevlar jeans lasted a commendable 22 feet at the same speed.
- Heavy leathers lasted a whopping 86 feet at 35 mph.
It’s often said that “ya get what ya pay for,” but these numbers alone should make the case for investing in quality protective gear.
“What makes Kevlar so effective?”
Though it may be known for bulletproof vests, most people don’t realize just how versatile Kevlar is. Kevlar, a synthetic fiber developed by DuPont in the 1960s, has become synonymous with high-strength and protective applications, from bulletproof vests to motorcycle gear.
Top 8 reasons Kevlar is effective:
- High Tensile Strength: Kevlar’s tensile strength, which is the measure of how much pulling (or tension) a material can withstand without breaking, is about five times stronger than steel on an equal weight basis. This means that Kevlar can absorb and dissipate energy from impacts or abrasions very effectively.
- Lightweight: Despite its strength, Kevlar is lightweight. This combination of strength and low weight makes it ideal for protective clothing, allowing wearers to remain agile.
- Thermal Stability: Kevlar doesn’t melt or start to get soft. It can withstand temperatures up to about 450°C (842°F) before it begins to degrade, making it resistant to heat and flame.
- Chemical Resistance: Kevlar is chemically stable and is resistant to many harsh chemicals, solvents, and oils. This property ensures that its strength and integrity are maintained even in challenging environments.
- Low Elongation at Break: This means that Kevlar doesn’t stretch much before breaking. In the context of protective gear, this ensures that the material doesn’t deform easily upon impact, providing consistent protection.
- Woven Structure: When used in protective gear, Kevlar is often woven into a fabric. This woven structure provides a network of fibers that can spread out the force of an impact, reducing the risk of penetration or abrasion.
- Layering: In many protective applications, multiple layers of Kevlar are used to enhance its protective capabilities. The layers can move against each other, further dissipating the energy of an impact.
- Durability: Kevlar fibers are resistant to wear, tear, and age, ensuring that products made from them have a long lifespan.
Kevlar’s properties make it particularly effective at preventing road rash. When a rider falls, the abrasion resistance of Kevlar can prevent the asphalt from reaching the skin, while its high tensile strength can reduce the risk of the gear tearing upon impact.
Kevlar Jeans vs. Heavy Leathers: An Unbiased Comparative Look at Motorcycle Protection
When it comes to motorcycle safety gear, riders often find themselves choosing between Kevlar jeans and heavy leathers. Both offer protection, but they come with distinct advantages and considerations. Let’s break down the benefits and differences of each:
- Lightweight and Comfortable: Kevlar jeans provide a more casual and comfortable fit compared to heavy leathers. They’re designed to look and feel like regular jeans, making them suitable for everyday wear.
- Abrasion Resistance: Kevlar, a synthetic fiber, is known for its high tensile strength. When woven into jeans, it offers impressive abrasion resistance, protecting the skin during slides.
- Versatility: Kevlar jeans are versatile and can be worn in various settings, not just while riding. They’re ideal for riders who want protection without changing outfits after reaching their destination.
- Breathability: These jeans tend to be more breathable than heavy leathers, making them a preferred choice in warmer climates.
- Superior Protection: Heavy leathers offer unmatched protection against abrasions, cuts, and impacts. They’ve been the go-to choice for professional racers for decades.
- Durability: Leather is naturally tough and can withstand repeated wear and tear. With proper care, leather gear can last for years.
- Weather Resistance: Leather provides a natural barrier against wind and light rain, making it suitable for rides in varying weather conditions.
- Fit and Form: Heavy leathers, especially those designed for racing, often come with a snug fit, reducing the risk of the material bunching up and causing discomfort or reduced protection during a slide.
While both Kevlar jeans and heavy leathers offer protection for riders, the choice often boils down to the rider’s specific needs and preferences. For everyday commuting and a more casual look, Kevlar jeans are an excellent choice. However, for those seeking maximum protection, especially during high-speed rides or on tracks, heavy leathers remain the gold standard.
Regardless of the choice, ensuring the gear fits correctly and is worn consistently is key to maximizing safety, and either choice is better than shorts!
Beating the Heat with the Right Gear
One common gripe among riders is the heat associated with safety gear, especially during the scorching summer months. But here’s the catch: not all protective gear is sweltering.
Mesh textile jackets with body armor (as seen above), for instance, can be cooler than a basic sleeveless t-shirt. The key is airflow. Once you stop, shedding the jacket can prevent overheating.
For those who find chaps or riding pants too stifling, products like the CoolAir Mesh Bohn armored pants offer a breezy alternative. Designed to be worn under jeans, they provide crucial protection without the heat.
Visibility Matters: Shine Bright on the Road
Safety isn’t just about protection from impact; it’s also about being seen. Especially during night rides, rain, or foggy conditions, reflective patches or stripes on your gear can make a world of difference. They ensure that other motorists spot you from a distance, reducing the chances of accidents.
Chosing the right reflective gear for night rides can be nearly as important as making sure you have a great working headlight on your bike.
Protecting the Extremities
Your hands and feet are especially vulnerable in a crash. Investing in gloves and boots with adequate padding can make a world of difference. From heavy leather options to lighter variants for warmer weather, there’s a glove for every rider and every condition.
“How often should I replace my safety gear?”
Just like your motorcycle, your gear also needs regular checks and maintenance. Cleaning your helmet visor ensures clear visibility. Checking for wear and tear, especially in protective padding, ensures they provide maximum protection. And remember, if a piece of gear has been through an accident, it might be time to replace it, even if it looks okay. Safety gear is designed to absorb impact, and its protective qualities might be compromised after a crash.
Remember, if a piece of gear has been through an accident, it might be time to replace it, even if it looks okay.
The Price of Safety vs. The Cost of Neglect
Yes, quality protective gear can be pricey. But when you weigh the costs – pain, medical bills, potential loss of income, and the sheer trauma of an accident – that price suddenly seems trivial. As the old saying goes, “It’s better to sweat than to bleed.” So, the next time you gear up for a ride, remember: your safety is in your hands. Choose wisely.
Your Safety Net After the Ride
Accidents happen, even to the most cautious and geared-up riders. If you or someone you know has been injured while riding, don’t navigate the aftermath alone. The Biker Lawyers are here to support and guide you. We understand the unique challenges bikers face and are committed to ensuring you get the justice and compensation you deserve.
Contact us today for a free consultation and let us be your road to recovery.