At 50mph tarmac will shred through jeans within one second!
Transport Research Laboratory


Types of Motorcycle Safety Gear

The most common kind of safety gear is an impact protector, which is a shield worn underneath your leathers or textiles to better absorb a blow to the body. The thing to remember about this motorcycle safety gear is that it is unlikely that you will be protected from major injuries, but it will protect you from minor injuries by absorbing the impact of the blow and spreading that force around your body.

Limb and Shoulder Protectors

These are mainly designed to provide protection against impacts with the road surface and to protect your shoulders when rolling or falling. There are six shapes and two sizes. The most important thing is to find the right type, for your body size, to ensure a good fit!

Spine and Lumbar Protectors

This motorcycle safety gear is designed to provide protection against edges such as the pavement. Unfortunately a back protector will not prevent injuries to twisted or bent spines as most believe, but it will make it less likely for you to sustain minor injuries and a spine protector could improve your quality of life after an accident.

European Standards for Motorcyclists’ Protective Clothing

It is illegal to claim or imply that motorcycle clothing is protective unless it has been independently tested and bears the “CE” marking which can usually be found on the actual protectors.

If a retailer or manufacturer claims that their protective clothing has “additional protective features” then they must also comply with the PPE directive (Personal Protective Equipment) and the label on the motorcycle safety gear must be CE marked PPE and must be supplied with detailed information on selection, care and maintenance of the product. The protective clothing and impact protectors must also describe how the product was tested, the test data generated, how to remove and reinstall protectors (you will need to know this when cleaning your gear) and the expected service life or how to recognise when the PPE requires replacement. Contact details for the European Notified Body responsible for the testing and certification will also be provided, from which you will be able to contact them to determine the authenticity or otherwise of the manufacturer’s claims.

Safety Gear Tips

Always ride with armour protecting your vulnerable areas such as knees, elbows, shoulders and hips for extra protection

Motorcycle safety gear can be worn in addition to your motorcycle jacket such as a Knox back protector. These offer excellent protection for your spine, kidneys and other vulnerable areas. There is a wide range available

In order to be effective, it is essential that impact protectors are fitted and held in place so that they will not move during a crash

Even if a garment tag says “CE armour inside,” ask the shop assistant to remove the armour and show you

Re-enforced motorcycle jeans are also available which look like normal jeans, except offering padded protection in the thigh and hip area, and often extra padding in the shin area

Soft foam is for comfort only and offers little protection

Make sure that gloves and racing suits can have strategically-placed sliding materials, (metal rivets or plastic pucks) to ensure that you slide rather than roll in the event of a crash

Armour can be damaged in a crash so, if you are unfortunate enough to be involved in a collision, change it immediately because it won’t give you the same protection twice


For more information on guidance on safety clothing and equipment visit the THINK! website on