This is the most important piece of protective kit a motorcyclist will ever own. When you are buying a new helmet make sure you try on various sizes to find one that fits the unique size and shape of your head. Never buy one second hand. Always fasten your helmet while you’re riding, an unfastened helmet is next to useless in an accident. You should replace your helmet every five years or, if you use it regularly, every three years. Helmets sold in the UK must meet the British Standard 6658:1985 and carry the BSI Kitemark or meet ECE Regulation 22.05. Look for a label inside the helmet or on the shell to confirm this.
2. Visor or goggles
These must also meet a British Standard and display the BSI Kitemark or meet ECE Regulation 22.05. During daylight a tint of up to 50% is ok. Legal tinted visors will be marked “For daylight use only”. Before setting off make sure your visor or goggles are clean and free from smudges, scratches or marks which could affect you vision, especially in strong sunlight.
There is no law about wearing other protective clothing, but specialised motorcycle gear is highly recommended. It could save your life. There is no doubt leathers are one of the best forms of protective clothing you can wear on your motorcycle. As well as offering great abrasion protection, in many cases they will have integrated body armour. Remember, when buying leathers always make sure they fit correctly.
Another great form of protection is riding gloves. The first thing you do in a crash is put your hands out to protect yourself. Fingers and wrists are fragile, so it doesn’t take much for them to sustain long term damage. Never ride without specialist motorcycling gloves. A strong protective layer is essential. Remember thick gloves will need breaking-in to ensure they give you enough brake and throttle control. In addition, it’s worth having a different pair for both summer and winter.
A significant number of hospital admissions for biking injuries involve broken bones in the lower leg, making it a likely part of your body to get injured. Therefore, shielding your ankles and feet is vital. Ideally, the boots you wear should be made from good quality leather and be waterproof too. Feet tend to get crushed sideways, so a strong sole is extremely important. Also, make sure that the boots are not too narrow or wide. Sit on your motorcycle and check that you can easily operate the foot controls.