Introduction: Make Your Riding Gear Seen, Cheaply.
Motorcycles are not inherently dangerous, but there is a higher penalty for failure. Reduce your risk by riding smart and getting seen.
Many folks try to skimp on safety gear after blowing all their cash on a bike. Rock the gear, and ease your hurting wallet with these tips. Many riding jackets are made to match common bike colors, or just give off an intimidating air. (Black, anyone?) Safety and crash performance should definitely win out over style, so shop around.
There are plenty of companies that make really safe gear, but they often really cost a lot. I got good gear that was safe and comfortable, then added the extra points I wanted for much less than top-line gear would have cost me. Just as safe, half the price.
Step 1: Pick Your Poison. (Get Your Gear)
Everybody has their own opinion on what feels right. Some manufacturers cut their gear longer or shorter in crucial areas. Some folks have longer or shorter torsos, legs, or arms, compared to someone the same height. You may not like the same bike or gear that your buddy raves about, find what fits you.
I picked a mesh jacket that had a fair amount of soft armor built into it. The fabric has small metal threads woven through it, so it does sparkle just a bit in strong sunlight. The open weave allows tons of airflow through the layers, while being strong enough to stay together during a slide.
Step 2: Collect the Extras
One can find reflective tape in many different colors and sizes, I picked a 2" width in silver. Stripes of less than 2" may not be seen far enough away for an automobile to react in time. Make your own decision on what is adequate and appropriate. Nobody can guarantee that any amount of safety measures will make the other person pay attention anyway.
To make your sewing easier on thick or multi-layer garments, try using a curved Upholstery Needle. A straight needle may work, but will be more difficult to do well with.
For an easy Hi-Viz backpack, get a runner's reflective vest or belt.
Needle & thread
Reflective tape or belt (not stretchy)
Step 3: Go With the Flow
Take a look at your garment and decide where reflective material will work best for you. Consider the lines and tailoring of the garment. Does it have seams near areas that would do well to be reflective? Can you angle the tape or panels to flow with the lines and style of the garment?
This is where I did all my cutting and planning. One important thing for me was to cover the huge Logo across the front of my jacket...They don't pay me, I don't advertise for them.
Step 4: Stitch Away
Use your needle to sew the tape onto your garment in an aesthetically pleasing configuration.
Many tapes can be trimmed to custom shapes to cover or blend with odd bits of tailoring on the garment.
You may improve the overall look of the garment, which is always a plus.
Step 5: Extra Gear
If you only need reflective gear some of the time, consider a removable or stowable panel.
Sewing a cover for a backpack or jacket can be as simple as using some shoelace or thin webbing to make loops on half of a running vest. Snaps may work better for your particular gear.
Figure out how you may best attach a panel without interfering with zippers or pouches. If you can take off the visibilty panels after your ride, it seriously tames the geek factor for some people.
You may also want the ability to not glow wherever you go, decide what works best for you.
This pack is used for groceries, hunting, camping, water transport, and airline travel. I wanted it to be ready for all environments.
Participated in the
Light Up the Night! Contest