Spring has arrived, and with it, motorcycles are returning to western Montana's roads and highways.

Holly Barker is the Motor Clothing Manager at Missoula's Grizzly Harley Davidson, and since safe riding is her chief concern, she outlines the proper safety accessories and apparel for motorcyclists in western Montana.

First, and most important, a helmet.

"Montana is one of those states where, if you're over 18, you have the option of wearing or not wearing a helmet," Barker said. "A lot of people don't like to wear helmets, but we recommend them, because you can't unscramble an egg. A majority of people like to wear what is called a half-helmet, which just covers the top of your head, but we do also carry full-face helmets, as well."

Barker also recommends leather jackets and pants to protect the skin against contact with the pavement in a crash.

"The leather is like a second skin, so it will absorb any abrasion prior to your own skin, but the same is true of the textile jackets," she said. "All of them usually have body armor packets for extra protection for the elbows and shoulders, and many times there's a pocket in the back, as well."

Barker also highly recommends a motorcycle safety course for riders of all skill levels.

"Even our most seasoned riders can benefit from a riding course," she said. "It's impossible to know everything, and there are customers that I see all the time and some of them have taken those courses just to keep themselves up to date and aware."

To register for a motorcycle training course this summer, call 1-800-922-BIKE.

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