Iowa does not require motorcyclists wear a helmet or other types of motorcycle gear designed to protect the rider in case of an accident. Still, failing to wear this safety gear could put the rider at risk of serious injury in the event of a crash.
Besides a sturdy, DOT-approved helmet, there are several other types of motorcycle gear you can purchase before you hit the road. Each of the types of gear listed below are essential for any rider, and serve two purposes: comfort and protection from injury while riding or in the case of an accident.
Iowa does not require riders wear eye protection. But rocks and other debris can injure your face and eyes as you ride, not to mention that should you crash, your face will likely contact the pavement. And no, your eyeglasses and sunglasses are not enough to protect you.
Your best bet will be to wear a helmet with full-face coverage. Keep tabs on the condition of your face shield, too. Scratches can create glare and alter your vision’s effectiveness, so when it starts to get scratched up, it’s time for replacement.
A good pair of gloves can:
- prevent blisters;
- shield your hands from the elements (wind, sun, rain, and cold weather); and
- protect your skin from cuts and abrasions in a crash.
When you shop for gloves, make sure you have a pair that fits you correctly so it doesn’t hinder your movement and ability to grip the handlebars.
Ever seen a biker cruise around while wearing flip-flops? Nope. There’s a reason for that. Sturdy boots are not only fashionable, but purposeful. They protect you from hazards such as hot exhaust pipes and debris. They also improve your grip on the bike. Plus, if you crash, boots will help protect your feet and ankles from injury.
For the best protection, select boots that are made of sturdy leather and cover the ankle. Make sure your boots are slip-resistant so your feet don’t slide off of the pegs as you’re riding.
How do you protect the rest of your body? With several different kinds of protective clothing. Your clothing should be made of durable material, such as leather.
Your clothing should be:
- water-resistant; and
- should always fit comfortably.
Some of the gear you may want to add to your ensemble include a leather jacket and jeans and chaps. If you’re riding in cold weather, make sure your gear is suitable to keep you warm. You may also keep rain gear on hand in case you get stuck in inclement weather, though in such conditions it’s typically advisable to pull over to take shelter.
Walker, Billingsley & Bair has other resources dedicated to motorcyclists, including the Iowa Consumer’s Guide to Motorcycle Crashes.