No matter what type of motorcycle you ride, whether you are a beginner or an expert, almost everyone falls off a bike sometime. Good protective gear is too important to be ignored: it could help prevent or reduce serious injuries.
The truth is protective gear won’t protect you from any direct impact with a solid object and thankfully most of motorcycle crashes do not involve direct impact. However, the right gear will help minimise some injuries if you fall and slide on the road and increase your recovery time by avoiding any medical complications.
A study explicitly shows that riders wearing protective clothes spent approximately seven days less in hospital than riders who did not wear protective clothes and were 40% less likely to have any kind of permanent physical injuries after their crash. (Motorcycle council of NSW, http://roadsafety.mccofnsw.org.au/a/85.html)
The first goal of a good protective gear is to protect you from possible crashes, but the right gear can also improve your riding and protect you from the weather. Your riding is highly affected by either if you are too hot, too cold or because of fatigue. Most people believe that wearing a jacket and a helmet is more than enough but the torso, specifically legs, are more likely to be injured in a crash so pants are not to be forgotten.
How can a rider choose good protective clothes?
First of all, it is important to know that there are no standards in Australia for motorcycle gear apart except for a helmet (the latter have to pass the Australian Standard AS 1698) but don’t spend your entire budget on your helmet! There are many options to choose from, so make sure you get the right gear to suit your riding style and keep in mind that a good and complete protective outfit protect you from the head to the toes and includes boots, pants, gloves and a jacket. Furthermore, the more you will ride the more you will update your clothing range (summer/winter jacket) but as a beginner just choose the safer gear first.
Leather or textile?
Both materials have inherent strengths and weaknesses but the traditional leather is still preferred by riders because of its higher abrasion resistance. However, textiles as Cordura have been developed and can also provide a good abrasion resistance, as it is convenient by being waterproof and lighter. The design and construction features are important part to consider during your decision making process. The three most injured part of the body during a motorcycle crash are the head (88% of riders have head injuries), legs (81% of riders have legs injuries) and arms (58% of riders are arms injured), so impact protectors (or armour) and Kevlar have to be present for an optimal protection especially on these areas: knees, elbows, shoulders and back.
(The Good Gear Guide, http://www.infrastructure.gov.au/roads/safety/motorcycle/files/good_gear_guide_nrsc.pdf)
A full set of motorcycle safety gear can easily cost between $1,000 and $2,000 but how can you be sure you are investing this money in safety equipment and not in fashion? The difference in cost must buy you fashion but not necessarily protection in a crash. Well, there is no point in using a jacket made of the best material if its design does not protect you in a crash so make sure your gear have been tested to the European standard and look for the CE label and the number EN 13595 on your garment (jacket and pants).
Liz de Rome, 2009, The Good Gear Guide, http://www.infrastructure.gov.au/roads/safety/motorcycle/files/good_gear_guide_nrsc.pdf rel="nofollow"
Motorcycle council of NSW, 2012, Safer equipment, http://roadsafety.mccofnsw.org.au/a/11.html
Flinders University, 2008, TAC Protective Clothing Campaign, www.spokes.com.au