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custom motorcycle jacket safety modification

Motorcycles are the minimum necessary machinery to accelerate a human to lethal velocity. So, dress for the crash, not for the ride. I always wear a fully armored and abrasion resistant suit (jacket and pants). Since 99% of motorcycle accessories are black, I’ve been wearing a standard neon orange safety vest over the jacket.

The combination is cumbersome. The vest has a tendency to try to fall off the jacket and it’s two things to open/close every time the jacket goes on or off. What I’ve done is cut out the reflective strips from the vest, arranged them across the most visible area (shoulders), and sewn them onto the jacket. The project took about 6 hours total because hand-stitching with straight needles is slow.

Lessons learned:

  • put a strong coat hanger in the jacket and stuff it full of pillows or towels then hang it up to simulate the dimensions of a human body instead of a floppy empty jacket
  • use masking tape on the jacket to lay out where the strip(s) should go
  • use masking tape on the vest to guide cutting and stitching, leaving behind the desired amount of fabric
  • use masking tape, safety pins, or binder clips to hold the strip(s) on the jacket for previewing
  • use fast drying liquid adhesive (EX: Gorilla Glue) to anchor the ends of stitches
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