What Safety Gear Do Motorcycle Riders Have To Wear In The Midwest
Last updated Thursday, October 6th, 2022
Motorcycle riders should wear safety gear whenever they’re on the road to offer maximum protection in case of an accident or any incident that might be injurious. There are many hazards that riders are likely to encounter on the road. Thus, it’s highly advisable to always wear protective gear.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), almost 80% of all motorcycle accidents in the US result in injuries or even death. Again, the NHTSA asserts that 14% of all highway deaths every year are a result of motorcycle accidents.
In the state of Illinois, a 2012 report by NHTSA highlighted that 4,502 riders died in motorcycle crashes in 2010. These statistics show that the prevalence of motorcycle accidents is high.
This is precisely why it’s so important for motorcycle riders to use safety gear whenever they’re out riding. Different regions and states in the US have varied laws regarding the protective gear that riders must wear every time they ride their bikes.
As the safety of motorcycle riders is a major concern to the traffic authorities of the states in the Midwest, they’ve made it a legal obligation for motorcyclists to always wear particular safety gear to protect them against the effects of accidents.
Here is a list of the safety gear that riders have to wear by law in the Midwest.
Helmets are the most significant safety item that motorcycle riders should wear at all times when on the road. The NHTSA points out that putting on a helmet reduces the likelihood of death by 29% among motorcyclists. Certainly, this is a candid picture of how imperative it is for motorcyclists to wear helmets when using their bikes.
Of all the states in the Midwest, it’s only Iowa and Illinois where riders are not legally obligated to wear helmets. However, though motorcycle riders in these states don’t have the mandatory legal obligation to wear helmets, they nonetheless should.
In Michigan, all riders under 21 years have to wear helmets by law. Also, in Missouri, all riders irrespective of their age, are mandated by the law of the state to wear helmets when on the road.
Indeed, a helmet is a paramount safety item that motorcycle riders in the Midwest can’t afford to disregard.
As a motorcyclist, your eyes enable you to see where you’re going, thus it’s vital to protect them at all times to ensure that you have a clear vision. In fact, traffic authorities in the Midwest require motorcycle riders to wear protective eye shields.
The laws of the states in this region make it compulsory for riders to put on glasses or goggles. This shields their eyes from any material or condition that might affect their sight.
In Illinois for example, the law of the state requires all motorcyclists to protect their eyes with goggles, safety glasses, or a transparent shield. Under Illinois law, glasses refer to eye apparatus worn in front of the eye to protect it from any material that can affect one’s vision.
These glasses consist of shatter-resistant material to offer maximum protection. Additionally, Illinois law describes goggles as a device that offers protection to the eye without hindering peripheral vision.
In the same vein, if your bike has a transparent windshield attached at its front and covers your eyes adequately when riding, the law deems it legally fit as an eye protector.
In addition, all transparent shields that motorcycle riders use must be shatter-resistant to offer the required protection for their eyes. The premise behind the law on eye protection is that if the eyes of a rider are affected in any way, this increases the risk of an accident.
High Visibility Gear
Visibility is a top requirement for safety on the road. Lack of visibility is a leading contributor to motorcycle accidents in the Midwest. Since motorcycles are not as big as vehicles, it might be difficult to see them clearly on the road. Especially, in seasons of adverse weather conditions.
It’s for this reason that the law in the Midwest requires motorcycle riders to put on high visibility gear to improve their visibility on the road. For example, they should put on high visibility jackets to ensure that other road users can see them clearly. Particularly at night when visibility is poor.
This is crucial in preventing fatal motorcycle accidents. Moreover, the law in the Midwest mandates all motorcyclists to ensure that their motorcycle lights are in use at all times. This improves their visibility.
In fact, riding your bike without properly functioning lights is a violation of motorcycle traffic law. This is because it means you’re endangering your life and the lives of other road users.
Do Motorcycle Airbags Provide Extra Safety for Riders?
Motorcycle airbags are one of the newer safety products available for motorcyclists and they can greatly reduce the chances that a rider suffers serious injuries if they’re in an accident. While motorcycle airbags won’t prevent all injuries, they can be an important piece of equipment when it comes to improving rider safety.
Motorcyclists are always going to be more vulnerable on the road simply due to the fact that they have no protection from potential impacts. Motorcyclists also don’t wear a seatbelt. Therefore, when they’re in an accident, they frequently come off their bike.
As you can imagine, when a motorcyclist flies off of his or her bike at a high speed and impacts pavement or metal, they usually suffer severe injuries.
How Do Motorcycle Airbags Work?
Motorcycle airbags work in a similar manner to car airbags with some key differences. For one thing, motorcycle airbags are not installed on a motorcycle. Since a rider does not have a point of attachment to a motorcycle by a seatbelt, having an airbag on a motorcycle wouldn’t do anything to protect a rider. Therefore, motorcycle airbags are in protective vests or jackets instead.
There are sensors in these vests or jackets, so when a rider is in an accident the sensors trigger the airbags to deploy. Then riders are cushioned from impact by airbags, providing them with a protective, cushioning barrier between themselves and the road or other cars that they may hit when involved in an accident.
Do Vest And Jacket Airbags Help To Prevent Motorcyclist’s Injuries?
If you’re a motorcyclist, you may be wondering if airbag jackets or vests are worth investing in. They may not cost a fortune, but they aren’t exactly cheap either. So, should you spend any of your hard-earned money on them? In short, yes.
Airbag jackets and vests work by rapidly inflating during a crash. The inflated airbags cushion a rider’s impact and they are also designed to stabilize the head and neck of a rider. When motorcyclists are thrown from a motorcycle, a good helmet can protect their heads.
But, even if a helmet protects their head, their neck can suffer serious injuries during an impact. An airbag jacket or vest stabilizes the neck of the rider and prevents these types of injuries in most cases.
Anything That Can Make The Road Safer For A Motorcyclist Is Worth Investing In
As a motorcyclist, anything that you can do to make your riding experience safer is worth doing. If that means spending some money on an airbag vest or jacket, that’s exactly what you should do.
Ask yourself, can you put a price on your health? How much is your life worth? The point here is that trying to save a little money and compromising your safety isn’t worth it. If you still aren’t certain, then imagine yourself in a motorcycle accident. Most people never think it will happen to them. However, if it did, would you rather have an airbag vest or jacket or not have one?
The Importance Of Safety When Riding Motorcycles With Children
To children, the idea of riding on a motorcycle is going to be fun and exhilarating. They aren’t going to be interested in or understand the importance of safety when riding a motorcycle. And you need to resist giving a child a ride on the back of your bike if the proper equipment isn’t available.
Riding a motorcycle is always going to be more of a risk than other vehicles that have some protection around them. They are also less stable than 4-wheel vehicles and less easy to see for other motorists. This leads to a wider range of risks to riders and greater injuries when an accident does take place.
The latest data shows that nearly 5,000 motorcyclists lost their lives in 2018. While this is lower than the figures for cars and light trucks of 22,697, there are considerably fewer journeys taken on motorbikes.
While the risks are bad enough for adults, at least they can understand the dangers. Children aren’t going to recognize the risks as easily and the importance of safety when riding on a motorcycle.
Greater Risks For Children
There are a number of reasons why children are more at risk when riding on a motorbike. If they are sitting in front of the adult, which should never happen, they could be crushed against the gas tank or handlebars. This could happen if the bike stops suddenly or crashes when a car pulls out into its path. In this type of fairly common accident, they could be catapulted over the handlebars as well.
When the child is sitting pillion on the motorcycle, there are additional risks. The child could simply lose their grip and fall off. It has been known for children to fall asleep while on the back as well, with horrendous injuries as a result. Younger children might not be able to reach the footpegs, giving them less chance of staying on.
The Importance Of Safety Equipment
Just allowing children to ride a short distance without appropriate safety equipment, is not only illegal but very dangerous. While a good lawyer might be able to help with any legal issues involving an accident, they won’t be able to help you with the guilt you will feel if the child is injured.
You need to make sure the child wears a helmet that fits securely. If the worst were to happen, and the helmet is either too big or not secured, the child could be killed or left with serious head injuries.
Estimates state that motorcycle helmets saved the lives of nearly 1,900 people in 2017. Not all adults wear helmets and in the same year, an estimated 749 people died because of it.
Other equipment for children is important as well. Bike leathers and gloves are vital to protect their skin should they slide across the asphalt. Harnesses are available which will prevent the possibility of the child falling off. Instead, they attach to you, which could create other problems, however, in certain accidents.
Any child who wants to ride on the back of a motorcycle should only do so if they have the right equipment and a full understanding of the importance of safety. This way they know to not touch the exhaust or let anything catch in the wheel.
While it’s never going to be completely safe for children, there are things you can do to reduce the risks. Don’t cut corners with the safety of children. Make sure they have the right protective equipment which fits perfectly.