Motorcycle Safety

Riding a motorcycle is a fun, exciting way to travel and experience the beauty of Virginia

However, riding a motorcycle is serious business and requires extra concentration and additional training. Virginia’s motorcycle requirements are designed to ensure the safety of motorcyclists as well as others traveling on the road.

Wear the Proper Gear

Despite the best prevention efforts, motorcycle crashes do occur.

In a crash, the most important factor for reducing injury to a motorcyclist is personal protection. The proper riding gear—a helmet, eye protection, leather jackets and trousers, durable gloves, and proper footwear—can provide this personal protection.

Your Helmet

A helmet is the most important safety equipment a motorcyclist wears.

Helmets are about 29 percent effective in preventing motorcycle deaths and about 67 percent effective in preventing brain injuries. A rider without a helmet is 40 percent more likely to suffer a fatal head injury than is a helmeted rider.


Eye Protection

Since many motorcycles don’t have windshields, riders must protect their eyes against insects, dirt, rocks, or other airborne matter. Even the wind can cause the eyes to tear and blur vision, and good vision is imperative when riding.

Motorcycle operators should choose good quality goggles, glasses with plastic or safety lenses, or a helmet equipped with a face shield.

Jackets & Trousers

Clothing worn when riding a motorcycle should provide some measure of protection from abrasion in the event of a crash. The clothing should be of durable material (for example, special synthetic material or leather).


Durable, non-slip gloves are recommended to permit a firm grip on the controls. Leather gloves are excellent, as are special fabric gloves with leather palms and grip strips on the fingers. Gauntlet-type gloves keep air out of a motorcyclist’s sleeves.


Proper footwear affords protection for the feet, ankles, and lower parts of the legs. Leather boots are best. Durable athletic shoes that cover the ankles are a good second choice. Sandals, sneakers, and similar footwear should not be used since they provide little protection from abrasions or a crushing impact. Motorcyclists should avoid dangling laces that can get in their way.