I’ve been riding motorcycles for 14 years now. I’ve had a couple of accidents but have been spared serious injury and trauma by always wearing the correct protective clothing, and by voluntarily undertaking advanced rider training.

Melbourne is the only city in Australia that has the sense to allow motorcycle and scooter parking on footpaths as it is done in Europe, and Melbourne is a major centre for motorcycling in Australia because it hosts the Australian MotoGP and Australian World Superbike races at Phillip Island.

I like the scooter trend, because I think two wheels is the most rational form of transport in big cities, but there are also serious issues to be considered.

The problem with the scooter trend is that it attracts riders who are keen to beat the traffic, not people who want to become skilled riders. Scooter riders are often not hardcore riders who see skills development as a source of pride, and who view riding as a hobby to achieve excellence in. It is simply a convenient form of transport.

They often neglect skill development and also sensible riding behaviour like wearing protective gear, which is not seen to be fashionable. In the motorcycling community, on the other hand, whether you like Japanese sports bikes or American cruisers, a leather jacket and boots are always fashionable. Styles of gear match styles of bikes, and displaying expensive gear is as much a sign of your personal bike style and taste as your bike itself is.

Riders need at least leather gloves (even on 40 degree days) and solid leather boots (always protect bones close to the surface of the skin, such as ankles and wrists). Doc Martens or Redbacks are good for dry conditions (lace-up styles, not pull-ons). Longer bike boots (I have Alpinestars) are necessary for wet days.

If you want to support a local small business, I can recommend Tiger Angel jackets. I have both an off the rack Element wet weather jacket in high contrast yellow-black and a made to measure leather jacket in red and black.

If you want to be fashionable, do what I did and have it custom made. Not only is the jacket made bespoke in terms of inidvidual measurements, you can select the colour of each individual panel of the jacket, thus making a unique item of clothing that is safe and comfortable as well as being amazing to look at. Try their ‘Express Yourself’ online design tool to design your own jacket.

Finally, embrace ongoing learning. Getting your license is the beginning, not the end, of skills development. I’ve done courses provided by the WA Police, Honda Australia and the WA Driver Training and Education Centre. I plan to do more. Riders need to understand the event horizon and plan to live and ride long enough to join the over 50s Ulysses Motorcycle Club.

get your gear on

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