What every rider should know about protective eyewear

by on October 15, 2009
in Commentary

Special thanks to Andrea M. for this helpful article about protective eyewear for bikers! Andrea is an avid biker chick who lives in Arkansas and loves riding the rural scenic roads there. “I believe every rider should ride safe and ride for fun,” she says. She works for www.gogglesandglasses.com.

by Andrea M.

Eye protection is very important for motorcycle riders.  You never know when another vehicle will throw a rock, or a bug flies into your face. Windshields block some debris, but do not fully protect your eyes. In many states, it is a law that all motorcycle riders must wear protective eyewear. This article will provide information for selecting the best protective eyewear for you.

There are many types of protective eyewear made for motorcycle riders. These include goggles, glasses, and convertible glasses. Convertible glasses come with a strap to wear like a goggle, or arms to wear like glasses. Some riding glasses have an attached strap to both arms to prevent slipping. Padding attached to the frame of a goggle or glasses protects the face from severe impacts and provides a wind resistant seal. This wind resistant seal helps keep dirt and wind out of your eyes, and is great for sensitive eyes or those that wear contact lenses.

Always check to make sure the lens is made of polycarbonate shatter resistant material. Some sunglasses are made of acrylic material and will crack or break very easily. UV protection is important for blocking out harmful rays of the sun. I recommend UV 400 protection because it is the highest available. Polarized lenses are great for blocking glare and make objects look crisp and clear. The downfall of polarized lenses is that it makes oil slicks and wet spots harder to see. Lenses come in a variety of colors and there are “kits” for goggles and glasses available that have different colored lenses that can be switched out. Smoke or Amber tinted lenses are great for bright sunny days. Yellow, clear, and blue tinted lenses are great for night driving or very cloudy and hazy days.

Almost every motorcycle rider who wears protective eyewear has experienced a problem with glasses fogging up. Several anti-fog compounds are packaged and marketed for this purpose.  They cost quite a bit, some work great but others are a total failure.  Virtually all of them have one common component that makes them work: glycerin. Glycerin is a high-percentage ingredient in hand soap. Some soap brands/types tend to be better than others are.  Neutrogena has about the highest glycerin content of any soap.  It is a bit softer than most soap, but rubbing your finger on it, then smearing it on your eyewear works fine.  I take a chunk of it and put it in a clear, plastic 35mm film can.  Ivory soap and `Pure Pleasure’ glycerin soap work very well also. To apply cut off a piece of hand soap, smear it on your previously cleaned eyeglasses, then, using a clean, cotton cloth, rub the streaked soap all over the lenses to where it’s not visible any more.  Works fine, lasts a long time and works better in my opinion than any of the stuff you pay a buck or more per half-ounce for.

In my opinion, there is no #1 best option for protective eyewear. It is a matter of personal preference. One must find the pair that works best for them. I have several different pairs that I wear for different riding conditions. The most important thing is to be safe and enjoy the ride.

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11 Responses to “What every rider should know about protective eyewear”
  1. mazma says:

    Have thoughts on Gatorz? I’ve heard a lot of good things about them, look nice to. Saw some on GatorzWarehouse.com

  2. Ragamuffin says:

    I wonder if smearing Neutrogena or Ivory on my windshield would have the same effect. How about liquid soap?

  3. BH says:

    We’ve been looking into stocking some glasses, although going no-helmet is a pretty sticky topic. The most important part IS being safe, as you said… We carry many helmets that our consumers review being comfortable with glasses on underneath. We also have removable tint for your helmet visor.

    We will keep looking for opinions, maybe we’ll get some in stock.


  4. Corn Dog says:

    Ragamuffin, I’m thinking no on using glycerin on the windshield. The reason to use it on glasses is to prevent fogging, which is caused by a difference in temperature on the outside vs. inside of the eyewear, where the warmth of your face affects the temperature of the material. There’s no opportunity for a temperature difference to occur on a windshield, and I’ve never had it occur. Perhaps on a bike with a fairing it’s possible, but my gut tells me there’s not enough room to hold any extra warmth on the “inside” even in that situation.

    Mazma, hard to tell on the Gatorz when so much of the website either says “Coming soon” or produces “Not Found” page errors. Guess I’ll have to find a local dealer to learn more about them.

    BH – thanks for reading and commenting!

    And, thanks again to Andrea for contributing her experiences to BCN!

  5. mazma says:

    Hey Corndog,

    sorry about that – try now, even videos to :)

  6. Ragamuffin says:

    Yep you’re right. Its the temp thing.

  7. Andrea says:

    I know nothing about Gatorz. I like Global Vision, and Bobster. BUT the best glass is a matter of preference. The cheepest is not always the worst, in fact it might be the best for you. I also do not believe the antifog tip works for windshilds. Liquid had soap does work well as long as it’s got glycerin in it. If wearing glasses with a helmet look for a stright temple that doesn’t bend around the ear I’ve heard this is the most confortable and is what I use.

  8. Corn Dog says:

    Andrea, thanks for adding your thoughts!

  9. Interesting article, I agrre that the best glass is a matter of preference…

  10. Eye safety has always been important for me since I have worn glasses since the fifth grade. I have always been a supporter of helmets and face shields when riding a bike. My main reason for wearing a full face helmet is that I have very fair skin and I do not tan well, but I do cremate easily. Wearing sunglasses during the day is also a big part of keeping safe.

    Ride Safe

  11. njpaddler says:

    For many years hotel staffs have used a smear, followed by buffing, of aerosol shaving foam right out of the can to prevent fogging of bathroom mirrors. I’ve been using it as well on my visor, goggles & the inside of the Jeep’s windshield, too. It works. I assume it’s the lanolin in the foam.

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