It is well known that motorcycling is a dangerous activity, and the helpfulness of safety gear in accidents is also well-known. However, there is a curious trend when it comes to motorcyclists: many do not wear appropriate gear.

In Louisiana, persons under 18 must wear a motorcycle helmet while on a motorcycle. However, those who are above the age of 18 may ride without a helmet provided they have an appropriate insurance policy. However, given the efficacy of helmets in motorcycle crashes, it begs the question why anybody would choose to ride without a helmet. According to Forbes Magazine, a leading reason why motorcyclists do not wear appropriate gear is due to the look.

Does fashion trump safety?

According to polled motorcyclists, yes. This does not only apply to helmets, but also to bright jackets, pants, and other forms of motorcycle gear. Motorcyclists who knew somebody that was either injured or killed in a motorcycle accident were more likely to wear gear.

How can we encourage motorcyclists to wear more appropriate gear?

In the poll, motorcyclists offered several suggestions to encourage the uptake of appropriate gear. The first was to make high visibility clothing and helmets more visually appealing. Many suggested adding high-visibility elements across all motorcycle gear, no matter what the brand is. Many motorcyclists only buy from one brand of gear, and if that brand does not offer hi-viz products, they are not likely to purchase these items.

Finally, motorcyclists encourage insurance companies to offer financial benefits for wearing appropriate gear. In Louisiana some motorcycle insurance companies do offer benefits: if you are a motorcyclist who gears up before every ride, make sure that you choose a company that financially rewards you for doing so.