There were 33 serious injury motorcycle accidents in Pierce County through the first three quarters of 2013 according to the Washington Traffic Safety Commission. Not wearing proper motorcycle safety gear may exacerbate injuries for some riders, and wearing the right gear is one of the most important tips for motorcycle safety.
There are many different types of gear that riders can wear for all seasons to help protect themselves from injury and meet state legal requirements.
Important Types of Necessary Safety Gear
Motorcycle helmets: Perhaps the most important piece of safety gear for motorcycle riders is a helmet. Riders should wear helmets certified by the United States Department of Transportation (DOT); these helmets display a sticker showing DOT approval on both the inside and outside of the helmet.
In terms of structure, the helmets include a hard exterior shell and usually include a layer of foam one inch thick. The helmet should also fit snug around the cheeks, jaw, and the tops and sides of the head. DOT helmets typically include a thick riveted chinstrap as well.
Washington law requires all riders to wear a DOT certified helmet when they use their bikes. Helmets not certified by DOT do not meet the legal requirement.
Eyewear: Riders also need to wear protective eyewear. Goggles are okay for protecting the eyes, but still leave the face vulnerable to being struck by pebbles and insects while riding. Many helmets come with face shields, and riders should try to find face shields with the most protection and closest protection to their face.
Riders are also required to wear eye protection by law. If a rider's helmet has a visor, the visor meets the eyewear protection requirement.
Clothing and footwear: Sturdy pants, shirts and even a full body suit can protect riders. Motorcycle culture is often associated with leather, but for many riders, wearing leather is a safety measure. Leather protects against road rash in the event of an accident. Study boots can also help prevent the rider from slipping on their bike's pegs and can protect the feet in the event of an accident.
Many riders wear gloves as well because if they fall, their hands are naturally the first things that will hit the ground. There are also full body suits that riders might wear to protect their legs and torso. These suits and gear come in both winter and summer versions; the summer gear has vents so riders can stay protected throughout the year.
Consequences of Not Wearing Safety Gear
Not complying with Washington safety gear requirements can result in the rider receiving citations from the State Police or a local police department. Riders can also damage their legal rights if they are in an accident they didn't cause.
When a rider doesn't wear a helmet or follow other safety requirements and decides to pursue a claim or lawsuit against an at-fault driver, the defendant may argue that the rider failed to mitigate the damages from the accident by not wearing a helmet, for instance.
This can result in a reduction of the rider's award or settlement offer because of Washington’s comparative negligence laws that reduce a claimant’s damages proportional to his or her fault.
Max Meyers Law will review the circumstances of your case and help you establish the other driver’s fault and minimize your own fault in the accident. Call our firm at or contact us online to schedule a consultation.