Most casual bicycle riders do not wear bike gloves, but they can perform very important services for you if you ride a greater distance than down the block once or twice a week. Not only do they make a ride more comfortable, but they also improve safety into very important ways.
Bike gloves come in either fingerless or fingered styles. They are usually made of stretchy, breathable fabric and can be tightened near the wrist for a smooth fit. There are winter bike gloves with extra insulation so you are comfortable in any weather conditions. Most are waterproof as well.
The two most important reasons to wear bike gloves are grip and padding. First of all, it is easier to grip the handlebars of a bike with rubberized or nubbly bike gloves than it is to grip them with sweat-slick hands. This can increase your ability to steer around obstacles and maneuver through traffic.
The padding in many pairs of bike gloves help protect your hands, wrists, arms, shoulders, neck and back from constant jostling and jarring you get when you ride over any uneven terrain. Even if you are sticking to the city streets, there is still stress being put on your hands as you lean over the handlebars. The padding in gloves is usually sick or on types that are intended to be worn mountain biking. These are created to help protect your hands if you fall off the bike and onto rough terrain, sticks or sharp rocks.