Gear These Five Pieces of Motorcycle Safety Gear Saved Our Readers’ LivesOur readers shared their stories of when a piece of safety gear made the difference between life and death on a motorcycle.
- Words & Images Iron & Air Staff
There’s a saying that there are two types of motorcyclists: those who have gone down, and those who will. Whether you are in Camp A or Camp B, being prepared when the inevitable happens is critical. But don’t take our word for it. Take that of our readers who have experienced the gamut of bone crushing, lung-puncturing, jaw-rebuilding off-bike incidents and lived to tell the tale. The “living” part is thanks to a few crucial pieces of motorcycle safety gear that saved their tails. We asked about essential gear that made a difference and the stories we received did not disappoint.
“Seven years ago, I was knocked off my bike and run over (both axles) by a Ford F150. As my head was bouncing between the frame rails and the road, I was pretty happy to be wearing a full face Arai Quantum. While I had a broken sternum, 23 rib breaks, two broken vertebrae and a broken humerus (that took a titanium plate and 16 screws to rebuild) at least my pretty face and acerbic wit were left intact.
Oh and heads up; When they check for spinal cord damage in the ER they do it by giving you a surprise anal exam to see if you clench down. I’ve never felt so violated yet somewhat aroused at the same time. My wife still isn’t sure why I ask her to dress up like a nurse.”
– J. MacKenzieArai Quantum-X
“Went off the road, endoed the bike and it was totaled as well as my two-week-old helmet. The Aerostich Roadcrafter Classic only needed shoulder ballistic repairs along just an inch — until the EMT ignored me and cut the main zipper. I only ended up with bruised ends and 3-4 grains of sand embedded in the back of my wrist.”
– Phil T.
Editor’s Note: We had multiple readers reach out praising the Roadcrafter Classic as a “must-have” and a piece of kit that has saved them on many occasions.Aerostich Roadcrafter Classic
“In July 2019, I hit a guardrail on the highway after being brake-checked by the car in front of me at 65mph. I fractured my left ulna, right collarbone, and fractured the left side of my face resulting in a broken face and intracranial bleeding. I had to have my jaw reattached and wired shut, as well as my left orbital floor rebuilt, but I’m convinced my Biltwell Gringo S and the grace of God saved my life and kept me from having more significant brain damage than I already did.
I still ride a bit, but I stand by Biltwell as being a solid company who I would trust with my life. And motorcycles are still cool.”
– Jordan N.Biltwell Gringo S
“I was riding my 1974 BMW R90/6, passing a car 8 blocks from my house — half the road was asphalt, the other milled. I hit gravel as I was accelerating and the horizon went vertical.
I bounced on the street fully conscious and was rolling. At one point I said to myself, “I’m rolling too much, I should have stopped.” I looked up and my bike had righted itself and was going across the street riderless until it fell over with no throttle — it was like a Fellini movie.
Of course I got up and went to the bike, realizing something was wrong with my breathing and had an onlooker pick up the bike with me and put it on the center stand.
Long story short, I had four broken ribs and a punctured lung. A few days in the hospital, I healed up quickly and was riding again within four weeks. The Vanson jacket saved my skin and joints, but the 3/4 helmet allowed me to get a couple scratches on my chin and nose. I always wear a full face but it was August and I went for the style; never again.
And I called Vanson and ordered the same jacket again.”
– Marc G.Vanson VX4 Ventmax
“I have been riding street bikes since the 1970s and went full-time biker with no car from 2005 to 2019. I live and ride in the Austin, Texas area. Must-haves for me are zip ties, needle nose pliers, an assortment of bolts and nuts, an assortment of hose clamps, a tube of silicone glue, a tube of Loctite, electric tape, duct tape, hex wrenches, and lock pliers, disposable rain suits.”
– Roger “Yoda” Chan