Ride with the Right Gear
Let's get this straight right from the get-go: If you wear tennis shoes, shorts and a T-shirt and get into a crash, you'll be ground up like a piece of balsa wood on a belt sander. That's not opinion: It's fact. The proper safety gear includes gloves, boots, helmet and motorcycle outerwear with body armor (see photo). It's simple. Riders who dress in safety gear survive crashes with fewer injuries than those who don't.
Regardless of helmet laws, all the experts recommend donning a full-face, DOT-certified helmet before you get on a bike. Studies prove that motorcyclists who wear safety-certified helmets are far more likely to survive a crash. Helmet wearers also suffer fewer injuries and are less likely to incur long-term or permanent disabilities from head or neck injuries. You can buy a helmet certified by the Department of Transportation for under a C-note, or spend large for an ultralight carbon fiber unit. Spending more usually gets you a lighter helmet that fits better, is more comfortable and offers more features.