When it comes to efficiency, convenience, and utility, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a better way around town than a scooter. These affordable little two-wheelers are easy to ride, easy to maintain, and sip gas more frugally than pretty much anything else on the planet, making them a cost-conscious way to get a taste of the two-wheeled lifestyle without the added complexity of a standard motorcycle.
Most people also consider scooters to be a safer alternative to high-powered motorcycles, and there are a few good reasons for that. They’re lighter, less powerful, and easier to manage at low speeds, but unfortunately, that’s only half of the story when it comes to scooter safety.
In fact, a recent study out of Queensland, Australia, which has been experiencing a major boom in scooter usage over the last two decades, reported that there was no significant statistical difference between scooters and motorcycles when it comes to overall crash rates. Certain findings even suggest that scooters are up to four times more likely to crash over longer distances than motorcycles, which begs the question: What can we do to stay safe on our scooters?
Here at Riderbag, we firmly believe that two-wheeled safety starts with visibility. To that end, here’s why you may want to consider replacing your current travel bag with a reflective bag or backpack.
While the overall severity of scooter injuries has been shown to be lower than that of higher-speed motorcycles, both forms of transportation share one important risk: sharing the road with automobiles.
Even if you ride your scooter as safely and defensively as possible, you’re just as likely to go unnoticed by motorists as a roaring 1000cc motorcycle in this regard. Your first line of defense here should be visibility, but that doesn’t mean you need to ride around looking like a neon banana in a head-to-toe high-vis suit.
In fact, when we first designed our original reflective bag, the RiderBag Commuter, one of our major goals was to make visibility as convenient as possible. Because most two-wheeled commuters rely on either a backpack or a messenger bag to haul their daily essentials, why not start there?
And so we did. For daytime use, we designed our reflective bag with high-vis color options, both throughout the back compartment and on the straps themselves, giving scooter and motorcycle owners increased visibility from every angle.
Of course, even the brightest colors lose their effectiveness once the sun goes down, so we added high-tech retroreflective panels to every angle of the bag as well. Note that we say “retroreflective” rather than simply “reflective” here. This is an important distinction to make.
That’s because unlike regular reflective materials, which only reflect the light of headlights in a single direction, retroreflective materials always direct the light that touches them directly back to the source from any angle, which means vehicles in front, behind, or even to the side of you in traffic will take notice.
With the safety piece squared away, we set to work adding all the modern conveniences that commuters need to our design. In the case of our Riderbag Commuter, this included a generous 35L of storage space, a padded and protective laptop compartment, a waterproof cover for rainy days, and even a stashable helmet net, allowing you to carry your helmet hands-free when you’re off the bike.
Of course, several of these features are available in your typical bicycle commuter bags, which might have you wondering, is there really any difference between a scooter bag and a traditional commuter pack? Well, we’re glad you asked.
You’ll find a few different opinions out there on this topic, but for us the main factor is safety. At minimum, for a backpack to even be considered “motorcycle-friendly” we believe it should have a generous amount of retroreflective material included in its construction, as visibility is at its lowest after dark, and retroreflectivity is the only serious solution outside of actual flashing lights.
Ideally, we prefer a proper motorcycle backpack to also include high-vis fluorescent colors, as colors in this portion of the spectrum appear up 300% brighter to the human eye than any conventional color alternative. Of course we understand that not everyone is into bright colors, which is why we also make our Riderbags in a low-profile black and grey option, but if safety is your top priority, fluorescent is the way to go.
Another important safety feature that sets the Riderbag apart from a traditional backpack (and most motorcycle backpacks for that matter) is that it includes a compartment for a CE2-rated back protector. Again, our goal with the Riderbag is to make safety as effortless as possible, and by equipping our reflective bag with an integrated armored layer, we’re giving riders the ability to dramatically reduce impact forces to their spine without adding a single extra piece of gear to their daily commute.
This is a question we see fairly often, and although we make and sell both backpacks and compact crossbody sling bags, a full-sized backpack will always be our preference for a few reasons.
First, because a backpack provides a much larger coverage area over the rider’s back and shoulders, even if the two bags are made from the exact same materials, you’re getting much better visibility out of the larger bag. Backpacks also do a better job of signaling to drivers that they’re looking at a “human” shape, as they wrap around the body over both shoulders.
We’ll also note that in the case of the Riderbag Commuter, the ability to add a back protector to your daily routine is invaluable. CE-certified back protectors dramatically reduce impact forces transferred to your spine and lower back, which are common in rear-end accident scenarios. We’ve had customers tell us that our reflective bag has literally saved their life in a crash situation, and testimony like this is why we do what we do.
Unfortunately, messenger bags and smaller crossbody bags can’t include this crucial function, which is why we will always feel safer wearing a full-sized reflective bag. With that being said, if you’re still leaning more toward a messenger-style bag, make sure it carries a healthy dose of retroreflective material like that found on our Riderbag Sling at a minimum.
Make sure to order your Riderbag today. As a small business we carry a limited inventory. Click Here to order your reflective backpack now!
While we understand gift-giving is regarded as a selfless act, we have a controversial recommendation for the motorcycle commuter on your list this year: Choose your gift selfishly.
At first, this may sound like bad advice, but hear us out..READ MORE
Are you riding around with that useless piece of foam in the back of your motorcycle jacket? Do yourself a favor and throw that thing in the trash.
Plain and simple: the thin sheets of padding in the back and chest areas of most motorcycle jackets are little more than placeholders for armor. They aren’t intended to protect you from impact or abrasion, and truth be told, they’re probably doing more harm than good by adding useless bulk and limiting your jacket’s ventilation.
Real armor is what you want here. While coverage in the elbows and shoulders is a great start, we’re of the opinion that protecting your spine is also a project worth undertaking. That’s where a proper CE-rated motorcycle back protector comes into play.
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