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Riding in the right gear: tips from IAM RoadSmart

Many riders take to roads without realising they are putting themselves in danger, wearing the incorrect clothing. This week’s tips offers advice on clothing to all riders from IAM RoadSmart’s head of driving and riding standards, Richard Gladman.

  • Make sure your crash helmet it fits correctly, have your head measured and try a number of makes to ensure a correct fit. It should not move around and must be secured with the chin strap when you are riding. A full face helmet will offer the most protection. If you choose a helmet with an opening chin guard, ride with it down for maximum protection, only ride with it up if the helmet is approved for such use. All safety helmets must be tested to BSI 6658:85 or equivalent (ECE 22.5 in Europe)


  • Keep your visor clean and remember a black visor is illegal at night


  • Do not be tempted to ride without gloves, even a low speed off can result in a nasty injury to your hands. If the weather is warm you can get gloves which will offer protection that allow air flow


  • Boots will offer good protection to your ankles in case of an incident. There are a number of different types available which offer a balance between protection on your bike and also make it able for you to walk around at your destination. A sturdy pair of work boots is much better than a pair of trainers


  • Your clothing needs to be comfortable. An abrasion resistant fabric is best, and there a number of cheap options available with this type of material and armour in your most vulnerable places. If the weather is warm try an airtex type material which will allow the cooling breeze. You need to be able to move and turn so make sure the fit is not too tight but remember a loose flapping jacket will also be uncomfortable


  • Waterproofs, a high viz and a good waterproof suit will allow you to stay comfortable in all conditions, make sure it fits comfortably over your normal motorcycle clothing and does not restrict movement. The high viz is a personal choice but if you are going to wear it make sure it fits properly, too tight or flapping around will be a distraction


Richard said: “With the summer upon us it is tempting to miss out a bit of the protective kit to stay cool. This may be a mistake, shorts and flip flops are not motorcycling equipment and the results of even a slow speed drop can be devastating. Dress comfortably but sensibly to stay safe. Good rain gear that you can carry and light layers covered in a protective shell may prove best. Stay comfortable and protected and enjoy the summer weather.”


Notes to editors:

  1. Richard Gladman is IAM RoadSmart’s head of driving and riding standards.
  2. IAM RoadSmart has a mission to make better drivers and riders in order to improve road safety, inspire confidence and make driving and riding enjoyable. It does this through a range of courses for all road users, from online assessments through to the advanced driving and riding tests. IAM RoadSmart is the trading name of all businesses operated by the UK’s largest road safety charity, the Institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM) and was formed in April 2016 combining the IAM, IAM Drive & Survive, PDS and IAM Driver Retraining Academy. The organisation has 92,000 members and campaigns on road safety on their behalf. At any one time there are over 7,000 drivers and riders actively engaged with IAM RoadSmart’s courses, from members of the public to company drivers, while our Driver Retraining Academy has helped 2,500 drivers to shorten their bans through education and support programmes.

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