From Road Rash to Safe Slides: The Importance of Motorcycle Safety Gear

From Road Rash to Safe Slides: The Importance of Motorcycle Safety Gear

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

Image of a  High speed motorcycle racing on an enclosed track

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

Stylized cinematic image of a motorcycle rider wearing a full-face helmet, showcasing its protective features.

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

An infographic showing the different degrees of road rash, from mild to severe with text that reads "Road Rash Mild to Severe"

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.

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Dressing for the Season – and Safety

A side-by-side comparison of regular jeans and Kevlar jeans after a drag test.

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:

  1. Regular jeans gave way in less than 4 feet at 35 mph. 
  2. Kevlar jeans lasted a commendable 22 feet at the same speed.
  3. 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:
  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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

Image of a man wearing leathers on a motorcycle with Kevlar in the background

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:

Kevlar Jeans:

  • 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.

Heavy Leathers:

  • 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

A biker wearing a mesh textile jacket, with a focus on the breathable fabric and body armor.

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

A biker wearing a jacket with reflective stripes, visible in low light.

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

A close-up of a biker's hands gripping the handlebars, showcasing heavy leather gloves with reinforced knuckles.

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?”

Two motorcycle helmets side-by-side. The one on the left is old and worn, the second on the right is new with updated safety features.

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

Image of The Biker Lawyers standing by their motorcycles

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.

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Motorcycles Vs Cars: Which is Deadlier?

Motorcycles Vs Cars: Which is Deadlier?

How much more likely are you to die on a motorcycle than in a car?

Nowadays, motorcycles have become a popular mode of transportation. Most riders use motorcycles for daily commutes, but riding a motorcycle is also a great passion hobby. Unfortunately, sometimes our passions come at a cost.

Motorcycle Versus Car Fatalities

Technology upgrades have made motorcycles more advanced and powerful. Despite being equipped with several ride-safety features, motorcycles are more prone to accidents than cars. Many accidents on motorcycles are the kind the rider doesn’t walk away from.

Read on to learn how much more likely you are to die on a motorcycle than on a car.

Table of Contents

1. How Much More Likely Are You to Die on a Motorcycle than in a Car?
1.1 Lack of Cabin/Enclosed Space
1.2 Lack of Seatbelts
1.3 Lack of Airbags
1.4 Less Stable
1.5 Difficult to control at high speeds
1.6 Less Visible on the Road
2. Motorcycle Accidents Statistics
3. How to be safe and avoid accidents while riding a motorcycle
4. Advantages of Motorcycles over Cars
5. Conclusion

1.    How Much More Likely Are You to Die on a Motorcycle than in a Car?

Image of a motorcycle crashed into the back of a car

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), per mile traveled, motorcyclists are about 28 times more likely to die in a traffic crash than people in passenger cars.

Although motorcycles account for only a small fraction of total vehicle miles in the U.S., they make up a disproportionately high number of traffic fatalities. This stark difference is largely due to the lack of physical protection that a motorcycle offers compared to a car.

Motorcyclists are directly exposed to the force of impact in the event of a collision, unlike car drivers who have seatbelts, airbags, and the car’s chassis to absorb some of the impact.

Even a minor mistake, either by the motorcyclist or by other drivers, can have severe consequences when on a motorcycle. Factors such as speed, lack of helmet use, and alcohol impairment further increase the risk of fatal crashes for motorcyclists. Therefore, it’s critical for motorcyclists to follow all safety regulations and remain alert on the road to mitigate these risks.

Image of a crashed motorcycle on the side of a road

Let’s break down the facts behind motorcycle versus car fatalities.

1.1 Lack of Cabin/Enclosed Space

Motorcycles do not have enclosed spaces or cabins to cover riders. The enclosed frames in cars provide extra protection to drivers and passengers and take the most impact in case of an accident. Due to the lack of enclosed space in motorcycles, they are not safe to ride in the rain or windy weather.

1.2 Lack of Seatbelts

Motorcycles do not have a seatbelt which makes them less safe than cars. In most motorcycle crashes, motorcyclists are usually thrown off over the handlebars due to the inertia and lack of seatbelt. The same thing can happen to a rider if he/she applies brakes forcefully to stop the motorcycle.

1.3 Lack of Airbags

The first motorcycle to install a standard airbag on a motorcycle was the Honda Gold Wing. Other than the Gold Wing, most motorcycles do not have airbags installed standard (however, Other motorcycles that offer optional airbag systems include the BMW K 1600 GT and Valkyrie).

Airbags can save lives as they avoid severe injuries during an accident. For this reason, some vests for bikers come equipped with airbags that deploy in the event of a crash. These can range in price from around $130 USD to $800 USD.

1.4 Less Stable

Unlike cars, motorcycles are difficult to balance while riding as they have two wheels. If you are riding a motorcycle for the first time, the first challenge would be to balance it and ensure stability. Most beginner riders fail to keep a balance and lose control of their motorcycles while steering and turning corners.

1.5 Difficult to Control at High Speeds

Most motorcycle accidents occur due to speeding. Motorcycles become unstable at high speeds and there are higher chances you will lose control of it. Ride within your abilities, especially while cornering, swerving, and riding on busy roads to avoid accidents.

1.6 Less Visible on the Road

Motorcycles are smaller than cars, making them less visible to car drivers if they do not pay close attention while driving. Most motorcycle accidents occur because distracted drivers fail to notice motorcycles while turning.

Illustration of the concept of the lethal left where a car pulls in front of an oncoming motorcycle

2. Motorcycle Accidents Statistics

A study by the Insurance Information Institute (III) states:

  • In 2020, more than 5,500 motorcycle riders lost their lives.
  • In 2020, almost 83,000 riders got injured.
  • Motorcycle riders are six times more likely to suffer from serious injuries than car drivers and passengers.

Image of a crashed red motorcycle

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA):

  • In 2020, the percentage of impaired riders who died in motorcycle accidents was higher than car drivers.
  • Motorcycle riders are about 28 times more likely to die in a motorcycle accident than car drivers and passengers.

3. How To Be Safe and Avoid Accidents While Riding a Motorcycle

There are several ways through which you can make your motorcycle riding experience safe and avoid accidents, including:

  • If you are a beginner, take a motorcycle riding course.
  • If you are an intermediate or expert-level rider, take a safety riding course.
  • Follow traffic laws.
  • Do not ride if you are under the influence.
  • Wear a DOT-approved helmet and safety riding gear (leather jacket, pants, and gloves)
  • Ride within your ability, and under control
  • If you are a beginner, only ride beginner-friendly motorcycles.
  • If you want to upgrade yourself from a beginner level, learn specialized riding skills, including leaning, hanging off, cornering, and swerving.
  • Keep your motorcycle maintained.
  • Inspect your motorcycle before you go for a ride.
  • Use side mirrors and turn signals to indicate your intentions before taking a turn
  • Only use full brakes in true panic situations, and when you do, use both front and rear brakes (and practice this type of stop at various speeds before ever needing to use it)
  • Make sure to gently press both front and rear brakes together to stop your motorcycle.
  • Keep a safe distance from the vehicle ahead of you.
  • Do not go for a ride if you are stressed.
  • Ride defensively
  • Check carefully before riding through intersections.

It might be impossible to completely avoid motorcycle crashes. However, you can be safe and avoid severe injuries in a motorcycle accident by following the tips mentioned above. You can also seek help from a personal injury or motorcycle accident lawyer at The Biker Lawyers in the Midwest.

4. Advantages of Motorcycles over Cars

Image of two motorcycles driving towards sunset

Motorcycles are slightly less safe than cars, but they have certain advantages which make them a popular mode of transportation. These advantages include:

  • Riding a motorcycle provides several mental health benefits as it reduces the stress level and increases the dopamine level in your blood.
  • Motorcycles are smaller and take up less space than a car which makes them easy to park.
  • Unlike cars, motorcycles are better to beat heavy traffic and make way to save time.
  • They also consume less fuel than cars due to being lightweight.
  • They have better resale value than cars.
  • They’re arguably way more fun to drive than cars (and you look undeniably cooler).

5. Conclusion

Motorcycles are more prone to accidents than cars and motorcyclists are more likely to suffer severe injuries due to the lack of safety equipment, including airbags, enclosed spaces, and seatbelts. The statistics also reveal that motorcycle riders are 27 times more likely to die in an accident than drivers and passengers in cars.

Despite not being as safe as cars, motorcycles are still a popular mode of transportation and have several advantages over cars. They are smaller and lighter compared to cars, ensuring less fuel consumption, and ease in finding parking. To keep the first-aid kit with you on a motorcycle ride, you can install saddlebags available at Viking Bags.


Special thanks for this guest post by Viking Bags

If you’ve enjoyed this article about motorcycle vs car fatalities, click below to check out the previous article by Viking Bags:

Image of a lone motorcyclist riding his bike down an empty desert highway with a sign that says "Darling I like you but not so fast"

Photo Credits – Wild Triumph