Whether you're a new rider or a veteran rider, whether you're just a weekend rider or on your bike everyday, you likely consider your gear one of the most important things for your safety. Have you considered how eyewear could help (or hinder) your riding? Did you know some glasses or sunglass options might actually be dangerous when riding? Here's some do's and don't's for choosing eyewear for motorbike riding.
1. DO choose a good quality pair of polarised sunglasses
While all sunglasses sold in Australia must meet Australian standards and be 100% UV protected, quality can vary greatly and standard sunglass lensees do not actually protect your eyes against glare. Glare hitting your vision at the wrong moment could be dangerous while riding.
This is where polarised lenses come in! Polarised lenses are coated with layers of filters that improve contrast and reduce glare, so you can handle afternoon sun or bright glare without constantly squinting.
The colour filters also enhance colours and contrast, which is helpful for seeing changes to the surface of the road or other things on the road quickly. Our favorite tried and tested polarised sunglasses are Maui Jim sunglasses- available in store!
2. DO choose the right colour of your polarised sunglasses
Polarised lenses are often used by the sports enthusiasts to improve vision and reduce glare and there are a few different lens colours available. The best colour will depend on the time of day you most frequently ride and your personal preferrence, but here's our preference:
Based on our experience, we have found that Brown or Rose lenses (our tried and tested favorites are by Maui Jim) are an excellent choice for driving and riding.
They improve contrast, making the surface of the road and any dangerous obstacles easier to see. See our article on which coloured sunglasses are best for your sport or hobby for more information on rose and brown lenses.
3. If you wear glasses, consider how they fit around your helmet
If you wear glasses or sunglasses while riding, bring your helmet along when you choose your glasses so you can ensure you get the perfect fit.
There is no magic rule for the perfect shape or frame to fit in motorbike helmets- some people prefer thin, light frames such as frames made out of titanium, others prefer wrap frames that fit snuggly around their face and others prefer heavier frames such as plastic frames that don't move around so easily.
Some companies have also designed glasses specifically for motorbike riders in mind, like the TitanFlex frame shown to the right here.
4. DON'T ride with glass eyewear, and DO opt for impact-resistant lenses
Although they are still called "glasses", most lenses are no longer made of glass, but rather a polycarbonate plastic. Glass lenses are rarely used in eyewear anymore due to safety concerns- under impact, a glass lens could shatter and cause serious injury to your eyes and face. At Optometrist Parramatta, we often see glass still used in cheap eyewear made in India, Bangladesh and other parts of Asia.
Some polarised sunglasses still offer glass lenses, including Maui Jim. This is because glass traditionally offered superior optical clarity and scratch resistance compared to polycarbonate lenses. Maui Jim has actively developed their technology to create a patented lens material that is lighter, safer and has optical properties almost identical to that of glass. This means there are almost no reasons to use glass lenses anymore and absolutely no reason to use them whilst driving or riding!
When buying prescription glasses or sunglasses, mention to your optometrist that you will be wearing them when riding. At Optometrist Parramatta, we always recommend a safe lens such as a tougher higher-index lens or impact-resistant lens, to ensure your eyes are protected while your ride, no matter what.
Do you have any other tips for riding with eyewear? Any favorite items? Have you tried differenet lens colours when riding and preferred one to another? Let us know in the comments below!
- Maui Jim lenses and lens technology: https://www.mauijim.com/AU/en_GB/lenspage
- The dangers of glass lenses: https://www.optometristparramatta.com.au/post/why-you-should-avoid-glass-lenses
- Tips for Night Driving and Night Blindness: https://www.optometristparramatta.com.au/post/Night-Blindness
- Book An Eye Test: www.optometristparramatta.com.au/book-online