The heavy boots, the thick jeans, the leather jackets. Does it all look cool? Yes. However, the gear that motorcyclists wear while riding in Virginia and elsewhere is meant more for looks. It provides riders with essential protections. Therefore, it is important for people to understand the types of safety gear they should don anytime they plan to operate a motorcycle.

According to the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles, an essential piece of motorcycle safety gear is eye protection, particularly for those whose vehicles do not have windshields. In order to prevent dirt, rocks, insects or other matter from entering their eyes, as well as to prevent the eyes from tearing up or their vision from becoming blurred, people should wear quality goggles, helmets that are equipped with face shields, or glasses with safety or plastic lenses.

It is also recommended that people wear jackets with long sleeves and fitted pants. Their clothing when riding should be made from durable materials such as leather, thick denim or special synthetic materials. This may provide a level of protection from suffering abrasions if they are involved in a collision that throws them from their vehicles.

It may be tempting to wear sneakers, sandals or other such footwear when riding a motorcycle, especially during the warmer summer months. However, these types of shoes do not provide the type of protection that motorcyclists need. Therefore, it is advisable that they wear leather boots or durable athletic shoes that protect their feet and ankles.

The most important piece of safety equipment that people should wear when operating a motorcycle is a helmet. They should choose one that meets or exceeds federal standards. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, having a helmet on in the event of a motorcycle accident reduces people’s risk of suffering head injuries by 69% and their risk of suffering death by 37%.