What NOT to Wear While Riding a Motorcycle

motorcycle rider with sandals

If you are a rider, it is pretty common to hear other riders talk about what you should wear while you are out on your motorcycle. Something you may not hear as much about is what you should NOT wear while out riding. There are several things that could be viewed as “hazardous” to wear while riding out on the roads, but we put together a list of the most common items for riders to watch out for and consider before their next ride. 

  • Scarves. There are some mixed reviews about whether or not scarves are safe to wear while riding. Common sense will tell you that there is a very highly likelihood that a scarf could come loose from the wind blowing as you ride. The last thing you want is your scarf flying off and hitting another driver’s windshield and obstructing their view or worse yet…the scarf gets loose and is flapping around in your face, causing you to be unable to see. A scarf could also get caught on something, which could make for a dangerous situation.    
  • Loose clothing. Just like with a scarf, loose clothing increases the likelihood of getting caught on something, which can be extremely dangerous. This is why most riders you see will be wearing leather or otherwise very snug fitting clothing. The goal is to reduce the chances of clothing flapping around in your face and causing you to get distracted.
  • Expired/Used helmets. Buying a secondhand helmet can be a lot less expensive than buying new, but this is something we highly discourage. If you buy a used helmet you have no idea of how it was treated before it made its way into your hands. Things to consider with used helmets are whether they are expired, if they have been in a collision or if they have been dropped. All of these factors impact the safety of the helmet, which is why we highly recommend buying a new helmet and skip the used helmets all together.
  • Half helmets. These are helmets riders wear that basically only covers the top half of their head.  Some riders like these helmets because it is easier to see than if you wear a full helmet, but the half helmets to do provide any protection to the surround areas of your head! It has been shown in studies that the chin area is the most likely place to collide with something in an accident. This is why we highly recommend a helmet that covers and protects your full head and face. 
  • Headphones. We know how great it is to be able to listen to music while out on a ride, but it is best to avoid wearing headphones for a couple of reason. First of all, it is illegal to wear headphones while riding in many states.  If you are wearing headphones, it is hard to hear what is happening around you and could cause you to miss important alerts or approaching vehicles on the road. If you like listening to music while out on your ride there are safer ways to do so. Consider purchasing a helmet with a Bluetooth headset or use a stereo system on your motorcycle instead.
  • Shorts and sandals. Wearing shorts and sandals leaves your skin completely exposed while out on a ride. The more your clothing covers your body, the more protected you will be in the event of an accident. If you wear shorts and sandals you are also completely exposed to the hot engine and exhaust pipes on your motorcycle. It is best to wear full protection clothing to reduce or eliminate the changes of burns you could sustain from your own motorcycle.
  • Engineering or work boots. These boots are not specially designed to protect your feet in the event of a motorcycle accident.  If the boots are not specifically designed for a motorcycle rider to wear, do not wear them out on rides.
  • Wallet chains. A lot of riders think that wallet chains look cool and some may think they are meant for a motorcycle rider to wear. As you can image, these are just another item that can get stuck on something and cause more damage and may even create an accident. 
  • A Heavy Backpack. Wearing a heavy backpack while riding can be dangerous. Not only is wearing a heavy backpack extremely uncomfortable, carrying heavy objects on your back increase the chances you will be hit with one of those heavy objects. It is generally safe to wear a backpack while out riding your motorcycle, but make sure it is not filled with a bunch of heavy items.
  • Dark clothing. Do not wear dark clothing while you are out on a ride. You want to be as visible as possible to other drivers on the road, so choose something bright to wear. It is also good to have reflectors on your clothing if you are out riding in the evening or the dark.

Motorcycle riders are going to have differing opinions on what is and is not safe to wear while out on a ride. Use your common sense and think through some of the tips we have listed above. If something feels uncomfortable, then it is probably best to leave it behind.

Don’t Forget About Motorcycle Insurance!

Even when you think you are prepared and following all of the smart safety guidelines, accidents will still happen. We recommend that you review your insurance policy on a regular basis to make sure you are covered in the event of an accident happening. It is important to have the right motorcycle insurance to protect yourself and those you love.

When purchasing insurance, be sure to look at coverage that fits your lifestyle (which includes the specific type of motorcycle you ride). Sadly, we see clients who think they have adequate motorcycle coverage but find out after an accident that was not the case. You do NOT want to find out you have insufficient coverage when it comes time to file an accident claim. 

Here are some things we recommend you look for when choosing an insurance policy for your motorcycle:

  • Coverage for safety apparel – this protects your purchases like your riding clothes, helmets, gloves, etc.
  • Coverage for your equipment – this protects any custom additions to your motorcycle (custom painting, side cars, chroming, etc.) that was not original to the bike.
  • Coverage for trip interruption – this covers lodging, transportation, and meals if your motorcycle breaks down.
  • Coverage for replacement cost – this covers new motorcycles purchased and insured within 30 days.
  • Roadside assistance and towing – this protects you if your motorcycle breaks down and you can’t ride it to a nearby shop. It also protects you if you run out of gas, have mechanical issues, or get a flat tire.
  • A flexible payment plan – choose the payment plan the is going to fit into your budget the best.
  • Coverage and deductible limit options.
  • Premium discounts.

Max has written a book called Motorcycle Accident Secrets Unlocked that includes a ton of great information for the motorcycle riding community in Washington state. This digital book is FREE to anyone who would like a copy! If you or someone you know is a motorcycle rider, we recommend you request your FREE copy and read this book from front to back. 

MaxPower Law has a passion and commitment to help riders in the Northwest community. We understand the challenges that are unique to riders on Washington roads. If you or someone you know has been injured in a motorcycle accident, contact our local motorcycle accident attorneys at MaxPower Law. Call today for your free consultation at 425-970-9300.

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