Riding motorcycles conjures images of freedom, adventure, and danger. The open road beckons, offering an escape from the mundane and a chance to feel the wind. Yet, with this liberation comes increased risk. Unlike cars, motorcycles provide little protection for their riders. According to Statista, in 2017, there were up to 472,000 motorcycle sales in the United States. With so many bikes on the road, safety precautions are paramount. Proper motorcycle apparel can dramatically reduce the chance of injury in an accident. To keep you safe, we’ve compiled a list of motorcycle fashion tips and precautions you should observe when riding.

1) Use a Reliable Helmet

While thrilling, motorbike rides require extra caution to stay safe. Studies indicate that automobile collisions cause up to 75% of motorcycle accidents. Helmeted riders suffer fewer neck traumas than those without helmets when crashing into cars. Choose sturdy, high-quality helmets that are certified by reputable organizations. Ride defensively and be vigilant of surrounding vehicles.

2) Get Training

Another key to safety is proper training. Newbies and experienced riders can benefit from a riding course that teaches critical skills like swerving, braking, and maintaining control in emergency situations. Quality instruction builds muscle memory when training, so your body instinctively reacts a few seconds before a crash. Practice regularly to keep your skills sharp.

3) Ride Defensively

Assume drivers don’t see you and ride accordingly. Avoid riding in blind spots and use caution when passing other vehicles. When riding, scanning ahead to anticipate hazards and leaving an escape route are the best criteria to follow.

Be very cautious while passing on winding roads or in low visibility conditions. The same applies to intersections where cross traffic may not notice you. Also, avoid impairment and distractions from devices or passengers that take your eyes off the road.

4) Wear a Leather or Textile Jacket and Pants, Boots, and Gloves

According to data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, in 2017 there were 5,172 fatal motorcycle accidents, a 3% decline from the previous year. While the risks can never be fully eliminated, riders can take steps to protect themselves and ride as safely as possible. Leather or textile jackets, pants, boots, and gloves designed for motorcycle riding can greatly reduce the chance of debilitating road crashes or other injuries.

Ensure the gear fits snugly, covering the entire body. Bright colors and reflective strips make you more visible to other motorists. Concerning fashion, you can never go wrong with leather. It’s one of the most durable materials available, so it makes sense that it’s also one of the most popular motorcycle apparel.

5) Keep Your Bike in Top Shape

Whether you’re riding your bike for fitness, transportation, or just for fun, keeping your bike looking good is important. Keep it tip-top to avoid unnecessary repairs and keep your ride safe from unexpected bumps and scrapes.

Inspect your motorcycle thoroughly before each ride and keep up with regular maintenance. Look for fluid leaks, low tire pressure, loose bolts, or other problems that could lead to a breakdown or loss of control.

6) Ensure Your Gear Is Appropriate for the Weather

One of the most important things a rider can do is wear proper protective equipment appropriate for the weather. Ensure the gear fits snugly and covers the entire body. In hot weather, choose a ventilated fashion style.

In winter, wear layers of clothing and use insulated, waterproof gear to prevent hypothermia. Wearing the appropriate protective gear for the current weather could save your life.

While motorcycle riding comes with inherent risks, following these common-sense precautions will ensure every trip is safe and enjoyable. Respect the power of your machine, constantly scan for hazards, and remember your life depends on the gear you wear. Take a riding course, practice regularly, and focus all your attention on the challenges of the road. Do this, and the joys of riding will overshadow all your fears about riding.