It’s important to equip yourself with the right gear when riding an ATV or motorcycle, especially if you are a first-time owner. Certain equipment, such as helmets and protective eye wear, should be worn at all times, but it’s not necessarily required that riders do so. More than half the states in the country mandate helmet use when biking, while others like Virginia, Connecticut and New Mexico require protective eye wear. Also, consider investing in items like safety apparel, support belts and knee and shin protection for additional safety.
Leather jackets, heavy leather pants and motorcycle boots can protect riders against road rash and nasty abrasions in the event of a spill. Leather gear can be heavy and uncomfortable, especially in warm weather. You are also likely to win few fashion points with a full set of all-leather riding gear. However, the discomfort is worth the benefits in safety. According to the Motorcycle Safety Foundation, apparel that is designed specifically for ATV or motorcycle riding offers the best protection against riding hazards. Typically, the sleeves and legs on such garments are cut longer while the shoulders have extra room to accommodate a variety of riding positions. Apparel designed for riders often come with reflective stripes or other high-visibility features and are highly abrasion and water resistant.
Riding boots and gloves are also recommended. Motorcycle boots typically have over-the-ankle designs and are made of rugged material designed to protect riders against a variety of dangers. Riding boots can prevent your feet from getting burned by a hot exhaust pipe or getting injured from road debris. The shoes usually come with rubber-based, oil-resistant soles and provide a solid grip on the road and on your ATV or bike’s pegs. Similarly, full-fingered riding gloves can help you maintain a firm grip on your handlebar and protect your hands from blistering. Like other riding apparel, ATV or motorcycle gloves are usually made from abrasion-resistant material that can help minimize injuries in an accident.
To be really well protected, you should also consider body armor like chest, elbow, shoulder and knee pads. Chest and back protectors can be worn over apparel or worn as a protective insert under clothing. Armor designed for the upper body is usually made of high-impact molded composite materials that provide protection for the chest, back and kidneys. Some are designed with breathable mesh fabric with removable plastic inserts that serve as the body armor. In other cases, the plates are vented to allow for airflow and to provide greater comfort. Many popular brands make safety gear and riding apparel separately for men and for women.