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We spend a lot of our time here talking about the aftermath of motorcycle accidents. We fill pages explaining what the law says and how different interpretations can affect you and your family in the aftermath of a life altering incident. We discuss the emotional and psychological traumas that go with these accidents and I attempt to educate you on what you can expect to happen and at what pace.

We also spend a fair amount of our energies here learning about the mechanics of accidents and the best ways to protect ourselves from injury while we are on the road. It has been brought to my attention however that despite the fact that I have spent so much time preaching about safety and the importance of wearing proper riding gear that I have never taken the time to actually give any advice on the proper way to choose the most appropriate riding gear for you to wear.

I assure that this is purely an oversight on my part and one that I hope to begin correcting with this article. We will start by taking an in-depth look at what makes a good riding jacket.

Leather Ain’t All That

Not that long ago a quality motorcycle jacket was leather; no ifs, ands or buts. If you wanted to look cool and protect your skin from sudden attacks of road rash, you wrapped yourself in layers of cow hide and just suffered the heat.

Thankfully, as with most of our world, technology has made great strides in making it possible to protect our bodies from impact and abrasion while still looking good and being comfortable. It is now possible to have a jacket that allows your body to breath, even in the hottest Florida weather.

I won’t recommend any particular brands, but here is what I consider when shopping for a new riding jacket.


This may seem like a no brainer, but when you see the number of accident victims that I do, you soon realize that too many of our riding brothers still proscribe to the “suns out, guns out” school of thought.

Today’s motorcycle jackets will generally offer protection in one of three different forms, either they will come with:

  • Layers of high density PE foam that does little more than act as a cushion on impact.
  • D3O that is flexible and comfortable to wear, but hardens on impact.
  • Racing style, hard cup armor with sliders for maximum protection

The main points to remember are whichever style you choose, it should protect your

  • Back
  • Shoulders
  • Elbows


After establishing the level of armor that I want in my new jacket, my next consideration is fit. It comes before style, comfort or possibly even the type of armor it offers. Elbow pads will do you no good if they are riding down on your forearm and shoulder armor that is flopping in the breeze might as well have not been installed.

Regardless of the style or weight of jacket I am looking for, it must fit snug enough to stay in place. Trust me, if it moves a little while you are riding it will disappear if you kiss the pavement.


Some people will joke that we actually have only two seasons here; wet and dry, but as crazy as it may sound, our area is actually one of the country’s leading regions for hypothermia. So we do have seasons.

With today’s high-tech materials, you can have a jacket that will fit most any weather pattern, including ours. My favorite jackets all seem to be convertibles that allow me to customize them to my needs.

It is nice to be able to pull over and zip a few flies to stay a little warmer and a lot dryer or to be able to stay dry and cool even in summer’s heat.