Motorbike Safety Gear – Top Tips

a basic helmet and a basic pair of gloves

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Safety Gear for Motorbiking in Vietnam

Exploring Vietnam on a motorbike gives you a sense of unrestrained freedom and adventure! In fact, motorbikes remain the most popular mode of transport in the country and are used daily by 79% of the population, VNExpress reports. When motorbiking, safety should always be a priority, but, unfortunately, it’s not uncommon to see inexperienced riders whizzing around in shorts, flip flops, and without helmets. Protective body gear and clothing is an important aspect of motorbike safety and shouldn’t be missed. After all, It’s the only layer of protection between you and the road in an accident.

Important Notes

Protect Your Head

In Vietnam, wearing a helmet is required by law when motorbiking. Essential for protecting your head on the road, a helmet is a must-have piece of equipment. Get an official snell or DOT helmet as they’re durable and safety-tested. Additionally, goggles or visors protect your eyes from bugs, stones, and debris. If your helmet has a visor, you may not need eye protection, but many riders prefer to double up. Don’t forget earplugs: they’ll protect yours hears from extreme noise of Vietnamese traffic which can be damaging upon repeated exposure.

Honda XRs parked up at the enduro trail in Soc Son
Honda XRs parked up at the enduro trail in Soc Son

Body Gear

Protective gloves are vital. If you’re in an accident, you automatically put your hands out to break the fall — and they’ll get the brunt of the impact. Gloves also protect from extreme temperatures, as well as the constant vibration of the bike (you’ll experience your fair share of rough, bumpy roads here). Opt for sturdy, padded gloves; gauntlet-style ones that go past your wrists are even better. Additionally, elbow and knee guards provide protection for these commonly injured body parts.

Cool Clothing

As for clothing, long sleeves and durable trousers resist abrasions and protect against sunburn and hypothermia. Reflective clothing at night will ensure you remain visible on the road. You’ll also be thankful for packing rain gear, especially in the heavy Vietnamese downpours. A simple poncho is a popular choice, but a rain suit offers maximum protection; you can find one easily in Hanoi or Ho Chi Minh.

speed, rain and children

First Aid Kit

Finally, pack a good first-aid kit. It should include disinfectant, plasters, bandages, gauze pads, a wire splint, and antibiotic ointment at the minimum. Check out NomadsRTW article on a good medical aid kit.  Always have your cell phone to hand in case the situation requires outside medical help.

Last But Not Least - SHOES

A study published by the Journal of Orthopedic Trauma found that 4.3% of motorcycle injuries are foot related – which is a pretty big proportion considering all of the different parts of the body you could injure. Taking care of your feet is crucial, and the first line of defense is your choice of boots.

Choosing Your Footwear

The Necessary Safeguards

When choosing a pair of boots that are suitable for physical work, your first consideration should be the basic material you need. Motorcycle boots will have a lot in common with workman’s boots, such as durable materials, that make them sturdy against crashes and touches on the road from stopping and tight turns. Material aside, it’s essential that boots are well-fitting and have protections across the body. Jungle boots have experienced a renaissance given their versatility, and are a great example of how to ensure protection whilst making life comfortable.

two helmets on top of a mountain in Ta Xua, North Vietnam

Looking into Versatility

To really enjoy what Vietnam has to offer, you need to step off the bike and take a trek into the hills once in a while. Vietnamese ripe rice fields are one of many examples of gorgeous natural scenery that the country has to offer, and your boots should be up to the occasion. If they’re leather, ensure it’s treated – otherwise, you’re prone to absorbing water on the trail which can be uncomfortable. On the flip side, if you’re able to have breathable footwear, that’ll make the trip far more bearable.

Go for Quality, Not Quantity

Good quality boots can be expensive, but that’s for good reason. According to Gear Junkie, a good pair of walking boots will last up to 1,000 miles of walking – plenty when you’re getting around on a motorcycle. Conversely, poorly cared for and cheap alternatives will break far sooner. It’s a false economy where you will ultimately end up out of pocket. You’re better off paying out once for a great product, using the correct brush to upkeep the boots, and benefiting the long term.

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