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Motorcycle Eyewear

Get details on motorcycle eyewear, face shields and helmets.

Motorcycle eyewear is an important part of motorcycle safety. [©Jupiter Images, 2009]
©Jupiter Images, 2009
Motorcycle eyewear is an important part of motorcycle safety.

Motorcycle eyewear is important due to the dangers of road hazards like wind, dirt, rain and bugs. Motorcycle eyewear can be found in the form of glasses, goggles or face shields, with helmets and face shields being the most desired form of eye protection.

According to the Motorcycle Safety Foundation, motorcyclists who wear goggles have eye safety but are not protected from injury to other areas of the face. The foundation recommends face shields for full protection from all types of road hazards.

Face Shields Preferred

According to CaliforniaBiker.org, motorcycle eyewear comes in the form of face shields, glasses or goggles. Most experienced riders believe that face shields offer the best protection to motorcycle riders. Motorcycle helmets perform a dual role by not only protecting the head, but also providing a full or partial face shield, protecting the eyes as well. These combinations provide the greatest level of safety and protection as they cover more of the face and eyes than motorcycle glasses or goggles. For instance, motorcycle glasses may protect the eyes but do little to seal out wind, which can cause the eyes to water and lead to reduced vision.

The Hurt Report (a federally funded, University of Southern California study conducted by researcher Harry Hurt) claims motorcyclists who use face shields suffer fewer injuries than those who do not. Along with the Motorcycle Safety Foundation, it suggests that helmets with full face coverage (including strong chin support and energy absorbing liners) are effective at reducing facial injuries.

According to data provided by the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration, Motorcycle Safety Program, helmet use by motorcyclists and passengers is required in 20 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. Twenty-seven states require people under a certain age to wear helmets while motorcycling, and three states have no laws governing the use of helmets while motorcycling.

Using Motorcycle Eyewear Alone

Goggles are generally the most preferred type of motorcycle eyewear by off-road motorcyclists. They offer greater flexibility as far as lens options go, and they have quick change lenses that enable the user to adjust to a variety of lighting conditions. Additionally, many goggles are specifically designed to accommodate prescription eyeglasses, whereas many helmet shields and visors are not.

Another form of motorcycle eyewear is motorcycle safety glasses. These are different from other types of glasses in that they have foam surrounding the eyeglass to protect them from wind. Of the three, motorcycle safety glasses offer the least amount of overall protection.

Another thing to consider is the tinting of motorcycle eyewear. Due to the changing light conditions a motorcyclist will experience, it is a good idea to have this feature. According to California Biker, one of the best ways to combat changing light conditions is to use a clear, all-purpose face shield and wear tinted glasses. This allows the rider to change the eyeglasses without having to change the face shield.

Motorcycle goggles and motorcycle glasses are much more flexible in regard to changing lenses in different light conditions. Lens colors vary, but in most instances clear lenses will be used at night, dark tinted lenses for riding in bright sunlight, and yellow lenses for misty or foggy conditions. Other important features to consider when purchasing motorcycle eyewear is if they have UV protection, a scratch resistant coating, and fog resistantance.

It's also smart to be sure the glasses are shatterproof; the same applies to face shields. Both face shields and motorcycle glasses should be made of good quality plastic that does not impede vision and keeps out a glare.

One last consideration in motorcycle eyewear is wind resistance. If using a full-face shield, wind will not be a problem. However, with motorcycle goggles or motorcycle safety glasses, wind may become a nuisance. The best thing to do in that case is to ensure the glasses or goggles are surrounded by good quality foam, which will protect the face and eyes from the wind.

How to Select Motorcycle Eyewear

The best way to choose motorcycle eyewear is based on personal preference. If you choose to make your purchase online, it is best to go to a specialty store and try the eyewear on for comfort and fit before purchasing them online. It is not necessary to spend a lot to get a quality pair of motorcycle goggles or motorcycle safety glasses. Items in the $20 to $150 range tend to offer the best in both quality and function.

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