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Motorcycle Safety


Follow the Rider Code.

Gear up.

Use full protective gear, including a helmet. Scroll down to learn more.

Ride sober.

In the past 5 years (2013-2017), alcohol was involved in nearly 40% of all motorcycle fatalities in North Dakota.

Stand out.

Be conspicuous to increase the chances that other drivers will see you.

Slow down.

In the past 5 years (2013-2017), speed has been a contributing factor in 31% of motorcycle fatalities in North Dakota.

Fix up.

Check your T-CLOCS to make sure your motorcycle is ready to ride safely. Scroll down to learn more.

Practice up.

Motorcycle safety classes can benefit riders at all skill levels. Scroll down to learn more.

Gear up. Wear All The Gear, All The Time. (ATGATT)

Riding a motorcycle is thrilling, but there can be potential dangers that go along with it. To reduce those dangers, there are certain steps you can take to protect yourself while riding. Apart from learning how to properly control the motorcycle under different circumstances, riding sober and distraction free, the only other thing you can do is wear all the gear, all the time. Here’s the gear you should wear when you ride:


As part of your full protective gear, your helmet is the most important because it reduces the risk of serious head injuries. Make sure your helmet is designed and manufactured to meet or exceed the U.S. DOT helmet standard. It should be labeled with manufacturer information on the inside and a sticker on the back of the outside saying, “DOT.” (A word of caution: If the helmet appears to be made cheaply, it may have a counterfeit sticker and may not meet the standard.)


A properly designed helmet will have a hard outer shell, an impact absorbing liner, ventilation, a comfort liner and an effective retention system to hold it in place.


Don’t worry; a properly manufactured helmet will not impair your necessary vision or hearing functions. Remember to replace a helmet that has already sustained a crash impact, as it will no longer be effective.


Face Protection

A full face shield with chin protection is the best option for face protection. Make sure your face shield is made to fit your helmet and does not have curves that distort your vision. During the day it’s a good idea to use a tinted face shield, but always use a clear shield at night. Goggles are somewhat effective for protecting your eyes, but do not shield the rest of your face or keep the wind out of your ears.


Your motorcycle’s windshield and impact-resistant eyeglasses will not be sufficient to protect your face from all the dangers of the road. As you’re riding, you could be struck by flying rocks, debris and insects. Furthermore, wind and rain will impair your vision, hearing and ability to focus your attention on the road.


Riding Suit, Jacket/Pants

Never skimp on this part of your riding gear. A well-made riding suit or jacket/pants combo will keep you comfortable and significantly reduce your chance of serious injury from flying debris and impact with the road. Choose quality padded leather or other abrasion-resistant fabric such as ballistic nylon. As built-in or add-on equipment, you’ll get better protection by including body armor, spine protectors and kidney belts.


A proper fit will have longer sleeve and leg length with full-cut shoulders for your riding posture. Be careful not to have loose-fitting sleeves or pants, long scarves or wide collars that can flap excessively in the wind or get caught in the moving parts of your motorcycle.


Remember that your safety depends on other motorists being able to see you. Especially in low-light conditions, reflective
clothing can save your life.


Another important point to remember is that you will feel colder while riding. Even in relatively warm weather, hypothermia can cause you to lose concentration and react more slowly than usual. It is best to wear layers that can be removed if you get too warm.



A good, sturdy pair of boots that go above your ankle and have wide, slip-resistant soles will keep your feet on the pegs, protect you from engine burns and flying rocks, and minimize foot and ankle injury in the event of a crash. For comfort, choose waterproof footwear for rain and extra insulation for cold weather.



Motorcycle gloves with full fingers will protect your hands from sun, wind, weather and abrasions. Make sure your gloves fit well, as bulky gloves can affect your ability to operate the brakes or keep your grip on the handlebars.


Rain Suit

A rain suit is important not only for comfort, but also for keeping you alert and ready to react to road hazards. Whether one-piece or two-piece, most motorcycling rain suits are similar in design, providing a high, close-fitting collar, snug sleeves and pants cuffs, stirrups to keep pants in place around your boots, and bright, visible colors so other drivers can see you in inclement weather. For added protection, consider rain-proof glove and boot covers.


Hearing Protection

Don’t forget to protect your hearing from wind and engine noise. Even with a quiet motorcycle and a face shield, riding can cause hearing loss over time. Choose either disposable or reusable hearing protection that allows you to hear vehicle horns and nearby vehicles.


Learn how ATGATT saved the life of motorcyclist, Rob Keller.

Fix up. Check Your T-CLOCS.

Before every ride, motorcyclists should perform a safety check of their bike. An easy to remember check list to use is T-CLOCS. Download or share this graphic to help you and your friends remember.


Practice up.
Take a rider class.

In partnership with ABATE of North Dakota, the North Dakota Motorcycle Safety Program offers beginner and expert rider classes. In addition to teaching you techniques and maneuvers to stay safe on the road, they also provide great tips on bike maintenance and checking your T-CLOCS. Check them out at


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