ARSRPE Conference Paper Database

Motorcycle Protective Clothing

de Rome, Liz

Motorcycles and Scooters

2003

This paper describes a comprehensive review of research into the safety value of motorcycle protective clothing.  The project is funded by the MAA to provide guidance for motorcyclists on the benefits of different features when purchasing protective clothing.  

Protective clothing is available with a variety of features, however apart from advertising material, there is little information about the relative benefits of such features to guide purchasers.  While protective clothing is unlikely to prevent serious injury in high impact crashes, it can reduce gravel rash, friction and exhaust pipe burns, stripping of skin and muscles, torn or severed ligaments, some broken bones and the infection of wounds.  Clothing designed specifically for motorcyclists can contribute to personal comfort and assist in reducing fatigue and dehydration.  

Australian manufacturers and importers are not subject to any mandatory standards in relation to protective clothing apart from helmets.  Local purchasers have no information and no guarantees as to whether such products in fact provide the claimed protection.  In addition, Australian motorcyclists are also disadvantaged by the lack of information about the relative benefits of different features of clothing.  Different fabrics and designs are widely promoted for their protective value, but information about the testing of such claims is difficult to obtain.  

The methodology involved documenting the range of features available in protective clothing and establishing what was known about the safety benefits of those features.  Sources included:
1. Research reports on motorcycle crashes, the types of injury sustained in relation to protective clothing worn;
2. Research reports on tests of materials used in motorcycle protective clothing;
3. The European Standards for motorcycle Personal Protective Equipment (PPE); 
4. Patent applications for the design features and materials used in motorcycle protective clothing; and
5. Manufacturers, importers and retailers.

The final product will be a user-friendly guide on protective clothing for motorcyclists which will be published on the MCC motorcycle safety web site.