Traffic Tip Tuesday 04-03-16

Riding a motorcycle can be a great experience. Riding into the wind and the connection a rider has to the machine they are on adds to the excitement. Motorcycle riding has even often been associated with “freedom.” Unfortunately these attributes also pose a danger to the rider or passenger of a motorcycle. With May being recognized as Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month, let’s do a rundown of appropriate safety gear to use while piloting a motorcycle.

Helmets. Everyone has an opinion on them. Helmets are probably the single most important piece of safety equipment you could use with a motorcycle. Head trauma is a real danger to motorcyclists. Remember, motorcyclists are not encased in the “cage” of an automobile, and have very little to protect them. But doesn’t the law say that helmets are optional? That depends. In Florida, a rider may not utilize a helmet if they are at least 21 years of age and have at least $10,000 in medical benefits for injuries incurred as a result of a crash. For some, the choice is yours. If you’re under 21 years of age, or without the proper medical coverage, there are many comfortable, stylish helmets to choose from.

Eyewear. This is mandatory in Florida for all riders, no exclusions. A full faced helmet covers the eyewear requirement. I imagine that anyone that has been hit in the face with an insect or other debris at highway speeds understands the reasons why eyewear is not optional.

Gloves. Gloves reduce hand fatigue and offer excellent hand protection if the unexpected happens. Leather construction is typically believed to be better than synthetic fabrics, although the synthetics are catching up.

Long Sleeved Shirt/Jacket and Pants. Road rash is terrible. We’d prefer you to keep your skin on your body, and not donate it to the roadway. Long pants and jackets protect a rider from abrasions and the elements of the outdoors. Like gloves, leather construction is often the better choice for abrasion resistance, with the textiles often being superior in weather resistance. Today, energy absorbing armor is often incorporated into clothing providing additional safety

Boots or Footwear with ankle protection. Your ankles are vulnerable on a motorcycle. If for some unforeseen reason you end up laying the motorcycle down, you’ll appreciate the added protection. Riding boots are often designed with reinforced material in the toe area for shifter operation, and a stiff sole for crush resistance.

While this list is not all-encompassing, it represents the basic equipment that all motorcycle riders should consider before throwing your leg over the machine. The Hernando County Sheriff’s Office respects a Motorcycle operator’s desire to ride. We even use them ourselves to enforce traffic regulations throughout our community. Our mission is to ensure that all of our citizens and visitors make it home safely. Please ride responsibly and safely.

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