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Learning to ride a motorcycle is something you’ll never forget. The first time you felt that connection between you and the open road is a special moment that keeps you going back to your bike whenever you need to feel that rush of adrenaline. But along with that adrenaline rush comes the responsibility that you’ll come back home safely. As much as you may love riding, you can’t ignore the risks you’re taking every time you get on your bike. Motorcycle safety gear is one of the most important investments you can make. This is why you need to be sure you don’t skimp out on quality in favor of a lower price point. Here are some tips to help you figure out what you need.

Helmet the most important piece of motorcycle safety gear

Let’s start with the most important: your helmet. This is definitely an area that you don’t want to go the cheap route on. The most common cause of death in motorcycle accidents is a traumatic brain injury.

According to the CDC in 2016, helmets reduce the risk of death by 37% and they reduce the risk of head injury by 69%. Simply put, if you protect your head then you’ll protect your life.

Jackets can provide style and safety

Motorcycle jackets aren’t just about looks. Sure, it looks cool and makes you feel like you’re a part of a ’70s biker gang, but its main focus should always be on the safety it offers. This is another area you should splurge a little on in order to get what you need.

Jackets come in different materials, like leather, Gore-Tex, nylon, or Kevlar. Each has different features that may appeal to you, depending on the type of rider you are. Armored elbow and forearm pads are important, but so are armored backplates that are sometimes overlooked. It’s better to have too much gear than not enough!

Gloves are often overlooked

While many people may not think of gloves as being something to spend a lot of money on, we think they should be given their due. In the event of a fall, the first thing you’ll do is put your hands out to try to catch yourself; your hands need protection.

Like jackets, gloves come in many different materials, but the most important thing to get right about them is the fit. They need to fit snugly, while still offering as much padding as possible. You need to be able to have control over buttons and gears while you’re riding, but they need to protect you should you fall.

Boots will save your ankles

Boots can be tricky. You want something that you’ll be able to walk around in, should you be using your bike as transportation and not just for going out on a joy ride. However, they need to offer safety as well.

Ankle fractures are common motorcycle injuries, so it’s important to wear boots that are above the ankle, sturdy, and a little stiff. Any boots with exterior laces should have some way to tuck them inside the boot so they don’t get caught in anything while you’re riding. Again, splurge a little on your boots if you want a good, strong fit that will last you years to come.

Eye protection because sunglasses won’t cut it

If you opt for a helmet that doesn’t cover your eyes, then you’ll want to look into buying other eye protection. Normal sunglasses aren’t rated for impact protection and they can shatter in the event of a fall.

The safest option for people serious about their safety are motorcycle goggles. They’re impact tested, stay securely in place on your head, and will prevent debris from flying into your eyes. Shop around for something within your budget, but remember that your safety matters more than save just a few dollars!