Featured Injury Prevention Trauma

Motorcycle safety: get in gear

Motorcycle safety

As of the time of this posting, Sunnybrook’s Tory Trauma Program has seen 70 patients injured riding motorcycles (including dirt bikes) this year. The types of injuries range from death to broken backs (spines), to bleeding in the brain, among many others.

Although motorcycle riding can be a dangerous mode of transportation there are many health benefits often overlooked. For instance, riding a motorcycle strengthens key leg muscles, improves core and neck strength, increases calorie burning, and boosts mood. Reducing the risk and severity of injury is key so that you can enjoy these benefits for years to come.

There are many community and provincial interventions related to motorcycle safety including things like education courses, improved road conditions, and distracted driving legislation. One area that drivers are able to control entirely is riding gear. While only a helmet is required by law for riders and passengers in Ontario, there is much more to consider when riding safely.

ATGATT is the acronym for “All The Gear, All The Time”, which means a full set of motorcycle safety gear should be worn at all times. It’s the foundation for safe riding experiences no matter the road or weather conditions. ATGATT refers to the following equipment, each of which has a great deal of variety to meet rider experience, fashion and comfort:

  • Helmet – full face protection is best, must be certified.
  • Jacket – leather, textile, Kevlar; with padding for spine and elbows.
  • Gloves – designed to protect from weather, while allowing for grip. Should come above the wrist bones for protection.
  • Boots – comfortable fit, leather or textile, covers above the ankle for protection.
  • Pants – leather, denim and textile, help to protect against road rash and burns

There is a lot to think about when riding a motorcycle, but your equipment shouldn’t be one of them. Buy from a reputable dealer and buy the best equipment you can afford. There are beautiful riding routes in Ontario, and a decent season for enjoying the outdoors. Please take a moment to review ATGATT, get geared up, and make your way to the open roads ahead.

About the author

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Brandy Tanenbaum

Brandy Tanenbaum is a Program Coordinator at the Sunnybrook Centre for Injury Prevention.