Whether you ride for fun or just to get from A to B, it’s important to protect yourself and stay safe. The road surface is like heavy duty sandpaper, so hitting it at even a low speed and sliding along the surface can shred your skin to the bone. If you ride in just a T-shirt and shorts you may as well be naked. Choosing or wearing protective clothing provides a tough barrier between you and the road surface.
Essential protective clothing
- Gloves and boots: Your hands will be the first thing to hit the surface in an accident. Certified (CE approved) gloves are available from about £20. Your feet are just as vulnerable. Specialist biking boots will have reinforced shins, heels and toes. Never ride in trainers, flip flops or sandals – one short slide could leave your feet looking like a plate of raw mince
- Clothing: There is a huge range of stylish protective gear available, including jackets and jeans. It doesn’t need to be expensive or leather. Look for clothing with Kevlar or Cordura armour, especially round the knees, ankles, elbows, shoulders, hips and back
- Helmet: Your head is priceless, so buy the best helmet you can afford, make sure it fits snugly and always fasten it when you ride. Never buy a helmet secondhand; it might look fine but could easily be damaged. Look at the SHARP safety ratings when choosing your helmet
Over a quarter of those killed or seriously injured on Hampshire roads in 2018 were motorcyclists, but they only make up about 1% of UK road traffic.
It’s not just protective clothing you need to think about. You should also:
- make sure drivers can see you more easily, particularly at junctions, by wearing bright or reflective clothing
- reduce the risks with further training – a number of organisations offer training to improve your skills and safety. Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service offers a free three-hour course called Biker Down
- reduce your speed on country roads - make sure you are able to slow down and stop in good time, whatever the road condition
Sharing the road is about mutual respect between all road users, and we also encourage drivers to:
- take longer to look for motorbikes, especially at junctions. Check twice before you pull out at a junction, and if you're approaching a junction, look out for motorcyclists pulling out too
- keep your distance
- always check for cyclists and motorcyclists when opening your car door
Hampshire County Council is supporting the Department for Transport’s THINK! campaign. See detailed advice for road users.