When it comes to riding motorcycles, there’s one thing that’s foremost in most people’s minds: safety. There are vast industries devoted to keeping riders safe in the event of a crash. This is what most riders focus on, wearing helmets, riding pants, jackets, gloves, etc. One thing that is largely overlooked however, is the preventing an accident in the first place. One way to do this is to wear a motorcycle safety vest.
Why Wear a Motorcycle Safety Vest
There are many reasons why you should wear a safety vest when riding your bike. Here are just a few:
We’ve all been there – a car stops at an side road and the driver looks right at you. Then pulls out in front of you. With a reflective safety vest, there is a much higher chance that the other drivers on the road will see you.
Visibility can easily mean the difference between life and death on a motorcycle. You’ve seen the kids riding down the street in the backwards baseball cap looking cool. They probably wouldn’t even think about wearing a shiny reflective vest. Luckily, we’re smarter than that. A safety vest will help you be seen and keep you out of the side of someone’s SUV.
In the event that you do get in a crash, the more safety gear you have on the better. While most safety vests are thin and designed to go on over a heavy-duty riding jacket, there are some versions available on the market that offer crash protection in the form reinforced areas and pads. If you do end up sliding across the road, at least you’ll keep your skin.
There are some insurance companies that offer reduced rates for “safe riders”. Some of these companies specify that proper riding gear is one of the criteria for qualifying for this discount. If you’re in a crash and aren’t wearing you gear, then you might have higher fees with your insurance company. By wearing a safety vest, you might be able to reduce your insurance premiums. And who doesn’t like saving money?
What Features Are Available for Motorcycle Safety Vests?
There are several different kind of vests on the market for you to choose from. Here are a few different features for you to look for when you go shopping:
Obviously a safety vest is going to be a bright color, but you do have a choice about what color you wear. The three most popular colors are orange, yellow, and green. Although some of these colors may be more visible to the human eyes than others, any bright color will help you be seen.
Most vests have silver reflective stripes across the front and back. These increase your visibility, especially in the dark or in low-light conditions like dawn or dusk (when you’re likely going to be commuting to or from work).
If you’re not going to be wearing a padded riding jacket, then you might want to consider purchasing a vest that has built in crash protection. Some of these vests have padded sections on the front and back that will help cushion your muscles and spine in the event of a crash. You might also want to look for ones with heavy duty material on the outside to resist disintegrating when dragged across the ground.
Any rider who’s ridden in the rain has experienced the discomfort that raindrops can bring when they strike you at 40 or 50 miles per hour. A padded and water-proof vest will help you ride more comfortably if the weather turns bad (and those reflective stripes and bright colors will help you be seen through the rain).
If you’re riding in the summer, then you probably want a lighter weight vest. There are many mesh versions available that will allow air to pass through and keep you cool. If you’re riding in the winter, then every little bit of extra clothing helps. A heavier-weight material could mean the difference between being chilly and shivering uncontrollably.
There are simple (and inexpensive) versions that resemble road-construction vests that are not fitted to your body at all. If it’s going over a jacket, then this is probably not a big deal. If you choose to wear the vest without a jacket, however, then you might want to get a fitted jacket that is more comfortable to wear for long periods of time.
Most manufacturers of motorcycle safety gear now make clothing specific to women. This means a better fit and consequently a better look. It’s always nice to be comfortable while riding, so look for one that fits you right.
More Advanced Types
Some come with a basic vest that has attachments (usually Velcro) for an outer shell to go on the outside. This allows you to change the outer shell’s color. You might also have a choice of what weight the outer material is made of, making it more versatile for the different seasons and weather conditions.
Where To Buy One
You can always purchase motorcycle safety gear at your local bike dealer or biker shop. The advantage to buying local is that you can try on the gear before you buy it. Sometimes things look great online, but when you actually get it and try it on, it just doesn’t fit right. In the store, you can try on different kinds and see which one fits the best. The store’s staff is usually very helpful as well, and will help you find a good one. They may even be able to order different models for you to try if they don’t have what you need.
There is essentially one advantage to buying online: price. You can normally find motorcycle gear for a lot less money online. This is a great option if you know exactly which product you want to buy. You can go online and find a store, buy it, and have it shipped to your door for less money that buying locally. Whichever option you choose is up to you, but wearing a motorcycle safety vest is a smart way to stay safe and keep yourself riding for years to come.