Progressive Bifocals While Motorcycle Riding

Motorcycle riding requires clear vision and safe eyes. Are progressives a good idea for the bike?

Progressive Bifocals While Motorcycle Riding

Progressive Bifocals While Motorcycle RidingUsing progressive bifocals while motorcycle riding can be cumbersome. If you use progressive bifocals now, you’re probably thinking that you’d want the same thing for a new pair of motorcycle glasses, but that is generally not the way to go.

The reason that using progressive bifocals while motorcycle riding isn’t ideal is because progressives aren’t designed for that sort of activity. When you’re walking around, progressives do a pretty good job of keeping everything in focus. The ground in front of you is roughly aligned with your focal point, and you get used to reading through the reading area at the bottom.

While riding a motorcycle, the ground is farther away from you than when you’re walking, and the way that your eyes are focusing is radically different. In general, you’re not reading while on the bike, and your reading area is small enough that it can be difficult and dangerous to attempt to get your speedometer and other gauges into focus while driving.

Here’s what you need to know about using progressive bifocals while motorcycle riding:

  • The typical focal points on a progressive bifocal are ideally suited for a person on foot or driving. While on a motorcycle, your vision may be blurry in many important areas of your field of vision.
  • Because the progressive focal points are not designed for riding a motorcycle, you may need to move your head to find clear vision while looking at signs or other objects around you while riding. This motion is not only bad for your neck; the unnecessary movement can distract you from potential hazards on the road.
  • Most people who wear progressive bifocals for everyday use wear single vision glasses for motorcycle riding (no bifocal). This is appropriate for anyone who can see their gauges enough to read them while riding with only single vision glasses, which is most people.
  • Progressive bifocals are appropriate for riders who cannot view their gauges without the bifocal.
  • Some riders get a lined bifocal instead of progressives for riding, but they have the line put 5 or 6mm from the bottom of the lens. This effectively puts the bifocal out of your field of view entirely. Then, if you need to stop to read a map or want to read a menu if you stop to eat, you can lift the eyewear to read through the bifocal sliver at the bottom. This is a both safe and extremely effective utilitarian approach.

Using progressive bifocals while motorcycle riding isn’t ideal for most people, though many progressive wearers use them and become accustomed to compensating for the less-than-idea focal points. It is a personal decision and one you may wish to discuss with your doctor.

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We recommend going with single vision lenses or the low bifocal for riding glasses because of the focus problems of using progressive bifocals while motorcycle riding, as long as you can read your gauges enough to ride with out the bifocal. If you are committed to progressives, you will likely get used to them while riding and end up being happy with them as well – we just don’t think they’re ideal for this purpose.

If you have any questions about progressive bifocals while motorcycle riding, leave a comment below or check out some of our other posts. Thanks for reading, and stay safe!

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