Modes of Transportation – On a Motorcycle

Helmets and Protective Clothing

Choose your helmet and protective clothing with care, because this is the only protection you can count on.

Before purchasing a helmet and clothing, read the following recommendations carefully.


For optimal safety

Your helmet should:

  • at the very least meet the DOT standard, which is mandatory in Québec
  • ideally cover your entire head (full face helmet) to offer the best protection against impact, poor weather and wind
  • be constructed from glass fibre, carbon fibre or composite materials
  • be perfectly adjusted yet comfortable. It shouldn’t squeeze your head or forehead, and should be able to move only a few millimetres
  • be well ventilated to allow proper airflow and prevent fogging up
  • be fitted with a visor; otherwise, you should wear protective goggles
  • be lightweight
  • offer an unobstructed view so you can properly see your blind spots
  • ideally be light or brightly coloured, or have reflective strips

Did you know?

  • Buying a used helmet is not recommended.
  • Helmets have a limited lifespan. Although your helmet may be recent, if it sustained an impact it could be damaged, even if the damage isn’t visible. If so, you should replace it.
  • Some models have a retractable internal sun visor.
  • Some models have inside grooves through which you can easily insert the temples of your glasses.
  • Some models have a removable interior lining to make cleaning easier.

Practical advice

  • You should preferably buy a new helmet from a retailer, because the salesperson can assist you and help you choose.
  • However, if you decide to purchase a helmet online, you must make sure you take the correct measurements. To do so, use a tape measure. Place one end on your forehead above your eyebrows and wrap the tape measure all the way around your head.
  • You can also apply reflective strips to your helmet. However, before doing so, you should consult the manufacturer’s instructions.


For optimal safety

Your jacket should:

  • be the right size and fit your body snugly
  • be made of leather or anti-abrasive material such as Kevlar or Cordura
  • have armor or high-density foam panels fitted into the elbows, shoulders and back
  • be abrasion-resistant
  • be of good manufacturing quality and well finished. The seams must be resistant
  • allow proper airflow
  • have adjustable straps (Velcro) at the wrists and neck for better adjustment and better airflow
  • be water-repellent and resistant to humidity and cold
  • have a connection zipper for attaching the jacket to the pants
  • ideally be light or brightly coloured, or have reflective strips
  • ideally have removable liners

Did you know?

  • Some synthetic materials (polyester, nylon, etc.) are best avoided, because they can burn the skin in a fall.
  • An additional back protector provides increased protection to your spine.
  • A jacket made up of three layers may be a good option for varying weather conditions. Several models allow you to tighten the larger layers and adjust them to your body.


For optimal safety

Your pants should:

  • be the right size and fit your body closely
  • be made of leather or anti-abrasive material such as Kevlar or Cordura
  • have armour or high-density foam panels fitted into the knees and hips
  • be abrasion-resistant
  • be of good manufacturing quality and well finished. The seams must be resistant
  • be adjustable, especially at the ankles
  • be water-repellent and resistant to humidity and cold
  • allow proper airflow
  • have a connection zipper for attaching the pants to the jacket

Did you know?

  • Some synthetic materials (polyester, nylon, etc.) are best avoided, because they can burn the skin in a fall.
  • Some models offer zippered vents on the thighs to ensure better airflow.

A Visor or Goggles

Did you know?

  • A full face motorcycle helmet provides the best protection. If the helmet is not equipped with a visor, wearing protective eyewear is recommended.
  • Visors and protective eyewear are the only parts of a motorcyclist’s equipment that can prevent accidents. Adequate eye protection helps keep riders from losing control of their motorcycles because they were momentarily blinded by rain, wind, dust, insects or debris.
  • Visors and protective eyewear also protect the eyes against damage and diseases caused by exposure to the sun, and they prevent sun glare from interfering with a rider’s vision.
  • A motorcycle’s windshield is not considered adequate protection, since it does not completely protect the rider from all the elements mentioned above.

Helmet Visors

  • Protection against the sun
    • Iridescent, coloured or tinted visors are not recommended as they can interfere with sharpness of vision. As well, some visors, including some dark visors, don’t filter UV rays and can actually lead to worse sun damage to the eyes because of their magnifying effect.
    • Wearing a tinted visor is especially risky at night, because such visors significantly reduce visibility.  Riders must therefore change visors depending on the time of day.
    • The best option is to wear a clear visor and quality sunglasses.
    • Some manufacturers also offer helmets that come with retractable sun shields.
  • For greater comfort
    • Anti-fog treatments prevent condensation from forming inside helmets.
    • Hydrophobic treatments help repel rain on the visor.
    • Anti-scratch treatments prolong a visor’s life.
  • Cleaning
    • Given that a dirty and scratched visor can hamper vision or increase glare, visors should be cleaned regularly with warm water and soap, using a non-abrasive cloth.
    • Alcohol-based glass cleaners should be avoided as they can damage the visor’s coating.
    • The manufacturer’s recommendations for visor care can provide useful information.
  • Visors of ECE 22.05-certified and Snell-certified helmets must pass impact absorption testing as part of the certification process.


  • It is preferable to choose eyewear (goggles, for example) that has been specifically designed for riding motorcycles.
  • Eyewear must not hamper a rider’s vision when it comes to checking blind spots.
  • Eyewear should fit close to the face and not have thick temples that could hamper side vision.
  • The temples should preferably be straight so that they can easily slide inside a helmet and be easily adjusted.
  • The frames must be made of flexible material. Metal frames are prohibited as they can cause severe damage to the cheeks and skull in the event of a fall.  Organic lenses (made of transparent plastic) are preferable, since mineral lenses can shatter and injure the eyes.
  • Ideally, eyewear should be tried on with a helmet, so as to ensure optimum comfort.
  • The lenses should preferably have received anti-fog and anti-scratch treatments and have an antireflection coating.
  • Tinted lenses that filter UV rays, whether they are prescription lenses or not, help reduce eye fatigue caused by light that is too bright.
  • For long trips, photochromic lenses are a good option, as they automatically adjust to the brightness of the light. Note, however, that these lenses won’t be able to adjust to brightness if the helmet’s visor blocks UV rays.
  • Wearing driving glasses at night can help reduce glare from oncoming vehicles. Some models are also available with prescription lenses.

Practical Advice

  • Wearing eye protection is mandatory in 36 American states and in Saskatchewan. It is a good idea to check whether your vacation destination has such a requirement. Some places specify exactly what kind of eye protection is require.


For optimal safety

Your gloves should:

  • be made of leather or anti-abrasive material such as Kevlar
  • completely cover your hands and wrists
  • be reinforced at the joints and palms
  • be supple so they don’t interfere with using the controls
  • have adjustable wrist straps
  • ideally provide additional protection with carbon fibre panels for knuckles and joints
  • be well adjusted and not too big, too small, or too tight

Did you know?

  • Your fingers will be colder if you wear gloves that are too short or too tight.
  • Leather is the material that is the most resistant to abrasion, as long as it is thick and robust.
  • Leather that is at least 0.9 mm thick provides an abrasion resistance of 2.5 seconds during a fall.
  • Textile gloves are increasingly resistant and offer several advantages—they are supple, lightweight, have less sponginess and dry more quickly.

Practical advice

  • To avoid feeling cold and trapping perspiration, choose gloves with a little space at the fingertips.
  • Ideally, have two pairs of gloves—one for warm weather and the other for colder weather.
  • When purchasing gloves, make sure your nails are rather short, as long nails could be misleading when selecting the proper size.

In cold weather

  • Gloves designed for use in colder weather have an outer layer made of leather, textile or both, and a liner made of synthetic fabric. The liner must be warm, not restrict movements and not turn inside out when the gloves are removed. There is often an additional layer between the outer layer and the liner that traps heat, makes the gloves water-resistant and wicks away perspiration.


For optimal safety

Your boots should:

  • protect your entire feet and ankles, ideally up to your shins
  • be made of leather or other resistant material and have reinforced tips and soles
  • have grip soles
  • be water-repellent

Did you know?

  • Avoid steel-toed boots—in the event on an impact, the metal could sever your toes.
  • Leather that is at least 2.5 mm thick provides an abrasion resistance of 5 seconds during a fall.

Practical advice

  • Look for boots specially designed for riding a motorcycle.
  • Look for leather that is thick and strong, yet supple.