Protective clothing for riders

When riding a motorcycle or scooter, it is crucial that you wear protective clothing to help keep you safe. Protective clothing that keeps out the wind and rain will also make riding a more comfortable and enjoyable experience.

A helmet can save your life in many circumstances.


Helmet standards

  • Riders and passengers must wear an approved helmet that meets one of the following standards as set out in Victorian Government Gazette No. G 31 Thursday 6 August 2015 (pp. 1720-1721)
    • AS 1698-1988
    • AS/NZS 1698:2006 (or any later version of that standard)
    • ECE 22.05 (or any later version of that standard). 
  • If a face shield or visor is fitted to the helmet, it must meet the same requirements specified in the standard for the helmet to which it is attached.
  • All helmets must be marked to show that they comply with the relevant Australian Standard or ECE 22.05.
  • The marking requirements vary according to which standard the helmet meets and the date on which it was manufactured (if made in Australia) or the date on which it was imported into Australia (if not made in Australia).

Marking requirements for helmets that meet AS 1698-1988 or AS/NZS 1698:2006

  • For helmets that comply with AS 1698-1988 or AS/NZS 1698:2006 (or any later version of AS/NZS 1698:2006) and which are manufactured in, or imported into, Australia before 1 July 2012, the helmet must be marked with an official standards mark certifying compliance with the relevant standard.
  • For helmets that comply with AS 1698-1988 or AS/NZS 1698:2006 (or any later version of AS/NZS 1698:2006) and which are manufactured in, or imported into, Australia on or after 1 July 2012, the helmet must be marked with the symbol of a body accredited by the Joint Accreditation System of Australia and New Zealand (JAS-ANZ), certifying compliance with the relevant standard.
  • Accredited companies that certify motorcycle helmets can be found on the JAS-ANZ website.

Example labels

Australian Standard SAI logoAustralia and New Zealand motorcycle helmet standard logo

TUV motorcycle helmet standard logo  Global Mark certified product logo


Marking requirements for helmets that meet ECE 22.05

For helmets that comply with ECE 22.05, the helmet must bear a label displaying an international approval mark.

The mark will be in the form of a circle surrounding the letter "E", followed by the distinguishing number of the country that has granted approval. The number to the right of the "E" may vary from one model of helmet to another.

The mark must be accompanied by

  • the approval number under which approval was granted
  • a dash and either the symbol "J", "P" or "NP", depending on whether the helmet:
    • does not have a lower face cover (J)
    • has a protective lower face cover (P)
    • has a non-protective lower face cover (NP)
  • a dash followed by the production serial number for the helmet concerned.
  • An example of the arrangement of the approval mark is shown below.
  • Motorcycle E4 mark



    Helmet care

    When caring for your helmet, it’s important to make sure you:

    • always follow the manufacturer's cleaning instructions for the specific helmet you've purchased
    • store it safely in a helmet bag if only used occasionally (with the chin strap facing down)
    • keep your helmet away from petrol, cleaning fluids, or excessive heat
    • replace your helmet if it has sustained an impact, such as during a crash or when dropped
    • never lend or borrow a helmet.

    Choosing a helmet

    Helmets range in price and construction, so spend time choosing the best protection, the best fit and most comfortable style for you.

    For more information on helmets, including protection and comfort ratings, visit the Consumer Rating and Safety of Helmets (External link) website.

    The following tips should assist you in choosing the correct helmet for you:

    • Never buy a second hand helmet. You won't know how it has been treated and it may have damage you can’t see.
    • Look for a helmet with better ventilation and made from lighter materials. Helmets can be made from a range of different materials which affect strength and impact absorption, as well as weight. This includes materials such as plastics, fibreglass and carbon fibre for the shell, and foam padding on the inside. 
    • Pick a colour and design that can be easily seen. This is especially important in poor light conditions with white often being a good choice. Some designs on helmets can act like camouflage and may blend into the background. You need to make sure that others on the road can see you, and your helmet may be the first thing seen by other drivers. 

    Types of helmets

    You can choose between:

    • full-face or flip-up styles, which have a chin bar to cover the lower face and jaw. We recommend clear visors. It is illegal to ride with a tinted visor at night. The visor must comply with the AS 1609 standard. Look for the Standards Mark on any visor before you buy and never remove it, so that you can always prove that it complies.
    • an open face helmet which leaves your face exposed so there is no protection for the chin and jaw. Many open face helmets offer no eye protection, so you could get hit in the eye by a rock or large bug causing injury or a loss of control; even rain can cause pain and difficulty in seeing clearly.
    • dual purpose helmets are a hybrid of on-road and off-road helmets. They have clearly elongated chin and visor portions, a chin bar and a partially open face to give the rider extra protection while wearing goggles and to allow the unhindered flow of air necessary during this type of riding.

    Helmet fit

    Fit your helmet carefully by following these steps:

    1. With the helmet on, place your hands on the sides of the helmet and move it around. You should feel your skin move with the helmet.
    2. Move your head from side to side; the helmet should move with you without feeling loose on your head.
    3. Check your peripheral vision. Is the eye-port wide enough?
    4. Wear the helmet for a few minutes to make sure it's comfortable and that there are no pressure points.

    In a crash it's not unusual for the hands and feet to strike the bitumen many times. Wearing gloves more than halves your risk of being admitted to hospital after a crash. Boots are twice as effective as shoes in preventing foot and ankle injury.


    Choosing the right motorcycle gloves can be a difficult decision, but it is an important one. Gloves need to protect your hands and wrists without reducing your ability to operate the controls.

    When choosing gloves, keep the following tips in mind:

    • Pick the ones that are going to suit the type of riding you plan on doing, consider weather conditions.
    • Make sure they fit comfortably to improve your grip on the handlebars. Tight gloves may restrict circulation, causing your hands to become cold or numb. Bulky gloves may create problems in operating the motorcycle controls.
    • The right gloves come with extra reinforcement such as padding or inserts across the back of the hand and fingers, and on the palm.
    • Check that fasteners are on the inside of the wrists, where they are less likely to be worn off or torn open in a crash.
    • Avoid gloves with hard seams or sharp edges. Studs, staples or buckles can penetrate the protective layer of the glove and injure your hands.


    Motorcycle boots provide important protection for the feet, ankles and the lower legs, as they are heavily reinforced in the areas which sustain most stress and injury. This is especially important in a crash as the rider's feet are often trapped under the motorcycle as it slides along the road. Motorcycle boots are also designed to remain secure on the feet, while other types of footwear frequently come off in crashes.

    Motorcycle boots are purpose built, and have no laces, rings or other bits sticking out that can catch in a crash. They have fastenings that cannot be released accidentally. Quality boots are made from the strongest grade leather or synthetics, such as resin-impregnated microfibre.

    When choosing boots, keep the following tips in mind:

    • There should be extra reinforcement around the toe, heel, ankle and shin area. These are areas at risk in a crash.
    • Check that leather boots are at least 2.5mm thick.
    • Check that the soles are fairly rigid and at least 4mm thick.
    • Choose boots that fasten on the inside of your leg.
    • Check that you can operate the gear lever and brake properly. Make sure the boots let you feel what you are doing.
    • Choose boots with oil-resistant, waterproof, non-slip soles. Wet feet can quickly become cold and numb – this can be very dangerous.

    Remember, motorcycle boots are purpose made equipment. Any other footwear will not provide the same level of protection.

    Leather is the material often used for protective clothing and very little can match leather's abrasion resistance. Other synthetic materials such as Cordura®, Gore-tex®, Kevlar® and Dyneema® can be combined in a garment to offer abrasion resistance as well as weather protection. These are valid alternatives to leather.

    Many jackets and pants of both synthetic and leather construction now come with impact absorbing inserts, and even spine protectors.

    When choosing clothing, keep the following tips in mind:

    • Comfort and function are important. Make sure that when you're seated in a riding position, the material doesn't bunch up and restrict blood flow. Importantly make sure that whatever clothing you choose, it is made specifically for motorcycle use.
    • Check that the seams are strong and reinforced. Zips should be heavy duty and well stitched to the material. Check clips and Velcro™ fastenings work and pull on them. They must be tough enough to stay done up in a crash, when you could be tumbling down or sliding along the road.
    • Look for jackets and pants with built-in body armour. The armour can be made from a range of materials including plastic, moulded rubber and foam. It is possible to get jackets with armour designed to protect shoulders, elbows and the spine. Choose pants with body armour that protects your hips and knees. You can also purchase add-in armour, see the Spokes website for more info
    • Avoid straps or external pockets. These become tear or snag points which may catch on your motorcycle, another vehicle or objects on the road
    • Avoid decorations and hard or sharp objects. Metal buckles and other decorations can tear the garment and injure your body in a crash. They should not be used in impact zones, nor anywhere they might cause injury. Think about what you keep in your pockets as pens and keys can be forced into your skin, while phones and larger objects pressed against your body can damage nerves or break bones.
    Motorcycle and scooter riders are vulnerable on our roads. 
    • Around 950 riders are killed or seriously injured each year in Victoria. 
    • In 2014, riders and pillion passengers accounted for approximately 14% of road fatalities (even though motorcycles are less than 4% of all vehicles registered in Victoria). 
    Protective gear is designed to help protect your body in a crash. Motorcycle and scooter crashes can happen anywhere, anytime – even on short trips close to home. In a crash, riders and pillion passengers are at risk of injury from 2 things:
    • Impact – contact with the road, a car, roadside objects or even your own bike can cause fractures, internal injuries and bruising.
    • Abrasion – sliding along the road can cause loss of large areas of skin and muscle tissue. These injuries can lead to lengthy hospital stays, reconstructive surgery, permanent and debilitating scarring and extensive rehabilitation.
    Good quality protective clothing costs money and you should budget for this in your riding costs. If you don’t wear the correct clothing you may pay a much bigger price in pain and suffering after a crash. Protective clothing that keeps out the wind and rain will also make riding a more comfortable and enjoyable experience.

    Further info on protective gear can be found on the Spokes website

    MotoCAP – rating system for protective clothing

    The Motorcycle Clothing Assessment Program (MotoCAP) is a rating system for motorcycle and scooter protective clothing. The system aims to help riders make more informed decisions about the gear they purchase and wear. The assessment includes ratings for both the safety and thermal comfort of products on the market with a rating out of 5 presented for both categories. 

    MotoCAP includes rating for jackets, pants and gloves in a range of materials from leading brands. Products are continuously being added to the website so remember to subscribe or check in regularly.

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