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Why you should wear motorcycle gloves

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In the UK the law states that motorcyclists are required to wear a motorcycle helmet that adheres to the rules and safety regulations of the country, and why? To save lives, but what about other motorcycle clothing that could potentially save your life or save your limbs?

We take a look at why gloves are so often forgotten when it comes to riding a motorcycle and why you should be wearing them even if the law doesn’t enforce it.

Why you should wear them

People usually take their hands for granted, but if you get a papercut or have ever bruised your thumb you will know how limiting it can be in terms of being able to do your normal tasks properly.

Many riders, especially the younger generation neglect to wear gloves, not ever thinking about the consequences. Think about this though, when you fell off your pushbike as a child or even fell over running in the playground, you always grazed your hands, at such low speeds you could see the visible damage. Now think about the damage your hands would take if you were at speeds of 30-40 miles an hour and then if you were going at 70mph. The results would be disasterous.

It is the bodies natural reaction to protect ourselves when we fall and if a collision or fall occurs on your bike, your hands will naturally hit the floor first and the tarmac would grip the skin on the slide. Gruesome thought, we know, but you only have to be brave and google motorcycle hand injuries to make you wear gloves for the rest of your life. Gloves are one of the easiest safety items to put on, slipping on and off, it takes seconds so there’s no excuse not to use them.

The image below shows the results of a fall off a bike and slide at 30mph. Had the double thickness leather not been there, we can only image the state of this riders hand.

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It’s not just falls and palm sliding that gloves protect you from, there is also the wind chill factor when riding, which numbs your hands. I’m sure many of you know the feeling of even a small rock or a large fly hitting very cold hands and the pain it can cause!

In 2013 4,866 were seriously injured in road collisions in Great Britain, hopefully you are never in this stat, but with motorcycle accidents being so prominent, being safe should be key.

Another safety feature is the grip a glove offers, whether you have numb hands from cold or sweaty palms from the heat, your grip will be reduced. Most gloves have silicon grips on the palms to encourage safer riding and many of the racing type gloves will have specially curves fingers which increase grip.

Why gloves are overlooked

Gloves get overlooked because unfortunately, it’s not the law to wear gloves or any other motorcycle clothing for that matter, apart from a helmet. (See Gov.uk website for more details ) Understandably the helmet is a requirement as it protects your most vital part, but severe injury and even loss of digits can occur when gloves aren’t worn.

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With summer coming you will no doubt see a lot of younger motorcyclists or scooter riders without their gloves or much else! This is mostly due to weather conditions being too warm or simply for fashion reasons, thinking that perhaps gloves aren’t the coolest of items to wear.

Many people will also believe the notion that all gloves are for warmth. Although this is a factor when riding, as wind chill levels can peak especially on the hands, not all gloves provide warmth, there are many available which allow airflow and cool the hands.

More than anything, we feel there is a lack of awareness on the matter and the dangers of not wearing gloves are simply unknown. This may be due to a lack of time spent learning to ride a bike before a learner is allowed to go on the roads alone, albeit on a less powerful bike. High amounts of damage can still be caused at low speeds and it means the education is not firmly in place before riders move to a more powerful motorcycle.

How to choose a good glove

There are so many gloves on the market and most of them will protect you from various impacts whilst you are out on the road. The important thing to look out for is protection in the right areas.

  • Palm Protection - Your palms will most often be the first to touch the floor if you have a collision so always look out for palm padding, double leather on palms, armour or silicon grips to protect you. Make sure there is double or triple stitching on the palms to, to eliminate the risk of them coming undone under pressure. Some gloves offer Stingray leather on the palms which offers less abrasion resistance, so less likely to rip and expose the skin.

    Look for gloves that have a double layer over the palm and pinkie and has high quality stitching (even stitching that stays an even distance from the edges), that is double or even triple stitched in impact areas. Quality of the leather itself is also important, but harder to distinguish at a glance.
  • Full Fingers - According to the Motorcycle Safety Foundation, it is recommended that you should always wear full-fingered gloves as the first points of impact are palms, thumb and little finger. If you have ever hurt your thumb you will know how little you can do without it! Full fingers will also protect your hands from debris that can hit you at high speeds when you have cold hands.
  • Knuckle Armour - Choose a glove with knuckle armour, most gloves will have shaped armour on the knuckles, this is to protect from damage, and the raised area will ensure the majority of the hand is away from the ground on collision.

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  • Grip - Choosing a curved style glove or ones with flexible panelling between the fingers will allow for better grip and reduce the amount of you need to “break them in”.

    Ensure that your gloves have adjustable straps so that the glove remains firms in place on impact.

    Having stretch panels in between fingers and thumb will allow increased maneuverability as well as airflow in the summer.

    Most people will spend between £20-£50 on a pair of gloves which will prevent damage if you are riding on normal roads. If you are going at speeds of 70mph or more if you race etc, a good pair of protective gloves will cost you between £50-£100.
  • Weather Appropriate - Choose ones that are weather appropriate, no use having ones ones that do not provide enough air flow or warmth to suit the weather. Most gloves will be labelled with this information but if you are unsure, speak to your dealer.

Some gloves are made from Stingray leather. This leather is abrasion resistant, allowing the palm to slide across the surface rather than gripping the tarmac and ripping, adding more protection.

At the end of the day, if you drove in a car your whole body is protected and people pay thousands more to have that peace of mind and security, so why not have that same protection from the same dangers but on your bike?

Spada provide a wide range of gloves, all adhering to safety standards and trusted by some of the world's best racers. To see the full Spada range see here: http://www.spadaclothing.co.uk/productsmain.php?cat=4

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