The ABCs of Motorcycle Riding Safety

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By Staff Writer

Motorcycle riding is an exhilarating experience that offers freedom and adventure like no other mode of transportation. However, with this thrill comes a heightened level of risk. To fully enjoy the open road, it’s crucial to prioritize safety. We’ll explore the ABCs of motorcycle riding safety, covering everything from essential gear to defensive riding techniques.

A is for Attire

Choosing the Right Helmet 

Your helmet is your best friend on the road. When selecting a helmet, ensure it meets safety standards and fits snugly on your head. Full-face helmets offer the most protection, covering your entire face and head.

Choosing the right one can make a world of difference in terms of safety. It’s not just a matter of style; it’s a matter of protecting your most valuable asset: your head.

Types of Motorcycle Helmets

  1. Full-Face Helmets: These provide the most comprehensive protection, covering your entire face and head. They have a chin bar that adds an extra layer of safety. A great example is the Shoei RF-1200.
  2. Modular Helmets: These helmets offer the versatility of a full-face helmet but with a flip-up chin bar. The Schuberth C4 Pro is a fantastic example of a high-quality modular helmet.
  3. Open-Face Helmets: If you prefer a more open feel while riding, open-face helmets are a good option. They provide protection for the top and back of your head but leave your face exposed. The Bell Custom 500 is a classic open-face choice.
  4. Half Helmets: These provide minimal coverage and are often favored by riders looking for maximum airflow. The Biltwell Bonanza is a popular half helmet.

Safety Certifications

When selecting a helmet, ensure it meets safety standards such as DOT (Department of Transportation), ECE (Economic Commission for Europe), or Snell. Look for certification labels on the helmet to guarantee it complies with safety regulations.

Fit and Comfort

A well-fitting helmet is crucial. It should be snug but not uncomfortably tight. Different brands and models may have slightly different shapes, so try on several to find one that fits your head shape comfortably. Know that a helmet may loosen up slightly as it breaks in, so don’t choose one that feels too loose initially.

Ventilation and Features

Consider the climate you’ll be riding in. Helmets with good ventilation are essential for hot weather riding. Look for features like removable and washable liners for easy maintenance.

Budget vs. Quality

While it’s tempting to go for the cheapest option, know that your helmet is your primary safety gear. Invest in the best quality helmet you can afford. Quality helmets often come with advanced safety features and better materials.

Your helmet is your first line of defense on the road. It’s not an area where you should cut corners. Choose a helmet that suits your riding style, fits perfectly, and meets safety standards. Investing in a high-quality helmet like the Shoei RF-1200 or Schuberth C4 Pro can mean the difference between a safe ride and a potential disaster. Your head deserves the best protection possible, so choose wisely and ride with confidence.

Riding Jackets and Pants 

Invest in high-quality riding gear that includes jackets and pants made of durable materials like leather or textile. These not only protect you from abrasions but also provide insulation during colder rides.

When it comes to motorcycle riding gear, your choice of jacket and pants can make a significant impact on your safety and comfort. These garments are not only fashion statements but crucial layers of protection against the elements and potential accidents.

Riding Jackets:

  1. Leather Jackets: Leather has been a popular choice among riders for its durability and abrasion resistance. Iconic jackets like the Schott Perfecto have set the standard for leather riding gear.
  2. Textile Jackets: Modern textile jackets are versatile and often come with built-in armor for added protection. Brands like Alpinestars offer a wide range of textile riding jackets.
  3. Mesh Jackets: Ideal for hot weather, mesh jackets provide excellent airflow. The REV’IT! Airwave 3 is a popular choice for riders in warm climates.
  4. Adventure Jackets: Designed for off-road and adventure riding, these jackets offer a combination of durability and flexibility. The Klim Badlands Pro is a top-tier adventure riding jacket.

Riding Pants:

  1. Leather Pants: Like leather jackets, leather pants provide excellent abrasion resistance. They are often worn by sportbike riders for maximum protection.
  2. Textile Pants: Textile riding pants are versatile and come in various styles, from casual to sporty. The Dainese New Drake Air is a popular choice for riders seeking a balance between protection and comfort.
  3. Kevlar Jeans: These offer a casual look while providing a level of protection. Brands like RevZilla offer a variety of Kevlar-reinforced riding jeans.
  4. Overpants: Designed to be worn over regular clothing, overpants are convenient for commuters. The Tourmaster Caliber Pants is an example of versatile overpants.

Armor and Protection

Look for riding gear with built-in armor at critical impact zones, such as the shoulders, elbows, back, hips, and knees. This armor is designed to absorb and distribute impact energy, reducing the risk of injury.

Weather Considerations

Choose gear that suits the climate you’ll be riding in. Consider jackets and pants with removable liners for versatility in different weather conditions.

Investing in the right riding jacket and pants is essential for your safety and comfort while riding. If you opt for leather, textile, or mesh, prioritize gear with built-in armor and choose styles that align with your riding preferences and climate. Know that safety should always be your primary concern, and the right gear can significantly reduce the risk of injury in the event of an accident. So, gear up and hit the road with confidence, knowing that you’re well-protected and ready for your next adventure.

Gloves and Boots 

Proper riding gloves and boots offer essential grip and protection for your hands and feet. Look for gloves with knuckle protection and boots with ankle support.

B is for Bike Inspection

Pre-Ride Inspection 

Before each ride, perform a thorough inspection of your motorcycle. Check tire pressure, brakes, lights, and fluid levels. A well-maintained bike is less likely to malfunction on the road.

Tire Maintenance 

Tires are your point of contact with the road. Ensure they have sufficient tread and are properly inflated. Underinflated tires can lead to instability and reduced control.

Brake System 

Brakes are your lifeline. Regularly inspect and maintain your braking system to guarantee it’s in top-notch condition. Replace brake pads as needed and bleed the brakes for optimal performance.

C is for Control

Motorcycle Training 

Enrolling in a motorcycle safety course is a wise investment. These courses teach fundamental riding skills, defensive maneuvers, and how to handle emergency situations.

Defensive Riding 

Always assume that other drivers may not see you. Maintain a safe following distance, use your signals, and be vigilant at intersections. Defensive riding can help you avoid accidents.

Cornering Techniques 

Mastering the art of cornering is crucial. Lean into turns, look through the curve, and maintain a consistent speed. Smooth and controlled cornering ensures stability.

D is for Distractions

Avoid Phone Use 

Using your phone while riding is a recipe for disaster. Keep it stowed away and use a Bluetooth headset for hands-free communication if necessary.

Stay Sober 

Alcohol and drugs impair your judgment and reaction time. Never ride under the influence, and be aware of any prescription medications’ side effects.

Weather Awareness 

Different weather conditions require different riding strategies. Adjust your speed and following distance in adverse conditions like rain, fog, or snow.

E is for Emergency Preparedness

First-Aid Kit 

Carry a compact first-aid kit with essentials like bandages, antiseptic wipes, and pain relievers. In case of a minor accident, you’ll be prepared to provide basic care.

Roadside Assistance 

Consider joining a motorcycle roadside assistance program. They can be a lifesaver if you encounter a breakdown far from home.

Know Your Route 

Before embarking on a long ride, plan your route and inform someone of your itinerary. This ensures that help can be sent your way if you don’t arrive at your destination as expected.


In motorcycle riding, safety should always be your top priority. Following the ABCs of motorcycle riding safety, you can significantly reduce the risks associated with this thrilling activity. Recall, the right attire, regular bike inspections, mastering riding skills, staying focused, and preparing for emergencies are all vital elements of a safe and enjoyable motorcycle journey. So gear up, hit the road, and savor the freedom of riding while keeping yourself and others safe on two wheels.