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.
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).
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 two 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 right stuff 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.
The information below explains the type of protective clothing you should wear when riding a motorcycle or scooter. You can also download the following protective gear guides.
Although the guides identified below state that only helmets that meet the Australian Standard AS 1698 or the Australian / New Zealand Standard AS/NZS 1698 may be worn by Victorian riders, the law has changed and helmets that meet the ECE 22.05 standard can be worn in Victoria.
A helmet can save your life in many circumstances.
- 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; or
- AS/NZS 1698:2006 (or any later version of that standard); or
- 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.
- Four bodies are accredited by JAS-ANZ to certify that motorcycle helmets comply with AS/NZS 1698. The labels that may be applied to helmets by each of these bodies are shown below.
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 label may, for example, appear as a sticker on the outside of the helmet or as a label sewn into the retention system of the helmet.
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
An example of the arrangement of the approval mark is shown below.
- the approval number under which approval was granted; and
- 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) or has a non-protective lower face cover (NP); and
- a dash followed by the production serial number for the helmet concerned.
- 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 website.
- Never buy a second hand helmet. You won't know how it has been treated. It may have damage you can’t see.
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, or
- 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.
Fit your helmet carefully by following these steps:
- 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;
- then move your head from side to side; the helmet should move with you without feeling loose on your head; and
- finally, wear the helmet for a few minutes to make sure it's comfortable.
Don’t forget gloves and boots. In a crash it's not unusual for the hands and feet to flap about uncontrollably, striking 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.
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, for example 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.
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.
Remember, motorcycle boots are purpose made equipment. Any other footwear will not provide the same level of protection.
Jacket, pants and suit
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, 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.