Riding a motorcycle, especially around the city is extremely convenient and economical given how easy it is to filter through traffic and get to our destinations a lot more quickly as opposed to our four-wheeled counterparts. However, succumbing to the temptation of dressing down and doing away with key pieces of gear can be all too easy. After all, the human body was never meant to go hurtling down the road seated atop a chunk of metal on wheels.
The development of modern day riding gear is such that protective equipment is cheaper, more comfortable, and safer than it ever was. So, there’s really no excuse to go out on a ride without adequate riding gear. That being said, you don’t have to go ATGATT (all the gear, all the time) on every single ride, but there are indeed a few articles of clothing that belong nowhere near a moving motorcycle. Let’s take a closer look at 5 of these examples.
Anything on your head that isn't a helmet
Now this first one is a no-brainer, however, it’s an all too common sight particularly in provincial roads and neighborhoods. Some people tend to think that just because they’re within the vicinity of their residence, that they’re somehow immune to the dangers of crashing a motorcycle. However, research suggests that you’re significantly more likely to get into an accident when you’re closer to home, simply because of the fact that we tend to let our guard down in comfortable, familiar environments. As such, we tend to see motorcyclists shuttling around with no helmet, or a cap or hat, which by no means offers any protection whatsoever.
Yes, that includes bicycle helmets, too.
Now you may be thinking that wearing a bicycle helmet while on your motorcycle, especially if it’s just around town, is better than no helmet at all. While you’d be right to a certain extent, bicycle helmets are by no means engineered to withstand crashes at speeds even small motorcycles are capable of achieving. What’s more is that most bicycle helmets only cover the upper portion of your head, leaving the back of your head, face, and neck exposed. As it would turn out, these parts of the head are the most prone to injury in the event of a crash.
While nothing in the law explicitly states that wearing shorts on a motorcycle is illegal, we highly recommend against it for, well, obvious reasons. The tissue, joints, and muscles on our lower extremities tend to be rather delicate, and very prone to injury. As such, riding bare-legged is undoubtedly a recipe for disaster in the event you go down. Of course, wearing abrasion-resistant, motorcycle-rated riding pants is always the best line of defense. However, on shorter rides around the city, you can get away with a durable pair of high-quality denim jeans—provided of course, you ride carefully.
Apart from being outright illegal, wearing flip-flops or any open-toed shoes while riding your motorcycle is a recipe for disaster. Have you ever tried shifting gears on a big bike while barefoot? It hurts like crazy, and for some bikes, it’s downright impossible. As such, flip-flops and slippers belong nowhere near a motorcycle—and that includes when you’re wrenching on your own bike. Imagine the pain if the wrench you were holding slips your grip and heads towards a collision course straight to your foot—not a good time.
When riding your motorcycle, it’s ideal to come equipped with a motorcycle-rated jacket complete with elbow, shoulder, and back protection. However, if you’re out on an errands run, or riding in heavy traffic, the temptation to forego your riding jacket can be very strong. That’s fine, and we admit that sometimes even the most seasoned riders hit the road in just a T-shirt. What doesn’t belong anywhere near a motorcycle, however, are sandos or sleeveless shirts—and it doesn’t matter how big and ripped your guns are. Your shoulders are by far one of the most injury-prone parts of your body in the event of a low-speed crash, and having even a thin layer of fabric can go a long way in preventing the dreaded tocino, or road-rash.