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Ah, the open road and wind blowing through your hair. Ok, so maybe with the helmet the wind isn’t too flowy, but you know what I’m saying. That is the life of the easy rider, or it was until he became a dad. As a father, men have to think about more than looking cool and feeling good. Once you have a wife and kids, priorities change. So, opening up a motorcycle on a busy highway isn’t an option any longer unless the safety equipment is on point.

The list of gear a motorcyclist needs to have to be safe can seem extensive. Some things are necessary and others are nice to have. Some things are all about appeasing the family. To give you better insight into safety equipment, the following list will give you an idea of what’s important and necessary.

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Leather Jacket

Peter Fonda made the leather biker jacket famous in the film “Easy Rider,” as did Brando in “The Wild One.” But, aside from being insanely cool, they are practical too. Leather is a tough and study material which doesn’t break easily, yep even when you hit the asphalt. It’s worth noting a biker jacket won’t negate friction burns or abrasion period. After all, there is going to be an injury if you touch the ground at 30 miles an hour. However, it will provide sufficient padding to prevent any nasty injuries. Your family may be interested in the armored jackets which are making the rounds too. As the name suggests, the protection is thicker and more effective when the bike hits the ground.

Helmet

Let’s get one thing straight – a helmet is non-negotiable! Yes, the laws vary depending on the state. New York has strict helmet laws, some are a little more lenient. One thing is for sure, scientists agree that a helmet protects the head against blunt force trauma, which is kind of a big deal. Now, there are general and specific guidelines depending on the hog and the driver. For more info, this guide goes over the specifics in thorough detail. However, the things to remember are it should be comfortable, robust, and shouldn’t restrict your view.

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Boots

Whatever you do, don’t hit the open road in a pair of sneakers or flip-flops. There is an obvious risk factor should the bike go down, but there is traffic to consider also. Bikes come in close contact with cars, trucks and fellow bikers on a daily basis. In fact, because a chopper can weave in and out of traffic, the contact is closer than close. That means there are sharp pieces of metal, aluminum and carbon fiber, and hot exhaust pipes to consider. Boots are thick and long which prevents other vehicles causing any bodily harm. Also, there is the motorcycle to consider. Lots of cyclists burn their legs on hot metal and it hurts like hell! Finally, boots provide better grip on the pedals for stability.

High Visibility Vest

Okay, so the Hell’s Angels don’t ride around in luminous vests which make them look like a construction worker. But, they don’t have as good a relationship with their family as you! The point is autumn is here and winter is on the way. So, the days of sunshine are over and the darkness is about to set in until spring. Riding on roads in busy towns and city centers may be fine, but the same doesn’t go for country lanes. Usually, the lighting is poor and oncoming traffic can’t see the bike until it’s too late. A high vis vest ensures the vehicle’s lights will illuminate the driver to your presence. Simple, but effective.

Earplugs

Don’t assume motorcycles are dangerous because of the potential for an accident. Many bikers have ridden for years and haven’t crashed yet. Still, there are not entirely off the hook as riders often complain of ear complaints. Again, it’s not something the Hell’s Angels would complain about in their local watering hole. But, riding a motorcycle shouldn’t bring on bouts of crippling tinnitus. Earplugs help to reduce the deafening noise levels and protect your eardrums while out and about. The great thing about them is they are small and sleek so no one will no. Just cross your fingers no one stops and asks for directions because they’ll think you are rude!

At the end of the day, this list may seem too crazy, but it’s all for a good reason. You want to have a good time and enjoy yourself, but then you want to come home to that family that loves you. It’s as simple as that. Don’t be too lazy or too cool to do that right thing. Take this list seriously and have fun!

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