Australia’s pioneering motorcycle riding kit safety testing initiative, MotoCAP, has uncovered a concerning trend in the protection provided to women riders. A recent study revealed that seven out of ten pairs of motorcycle leggings scored a mere half-star out of five for protective capabilities.
The test results indicated that some leggings were supplied with insufficient or no armor, a crucial element not only for impact protection but also for enhancing the relatively low levels of abrasion resistance. Only the Motogirl Sherrie and Resurgence Sara Jane leggings achieved the recommended two-star rating for urban riding kit set by MotoCAP.
Utilizing a ‘Cambridge machine’ for consistent and repeatable abrasion performance assessments, MotoCAP found that many leggings endured less than half a second on the rig, compared to over two and a half seconds for higher-performing models.
Moreover, the study highlighted significant shortcomings in seam and tear strength, with the stretch material failing much earlier than benchmark figures for even average gear.
While motorcycle riding kit should ideally be comfortable and stylish, safety should not be compromised for fashion. Only through rigorous testing can the unseen vulnerabilities be identified. Professor Christopher Hurren of the Institute for Frontier Materials at Deakin University emphasized the significance of MotoCAP as a global resource for motorcyclists, providing independent information on a wide range of motorcycle clothing.
MotoCAP’s testing on women’s leggings underscores that most options would not offer sufficient protection in a crash on asphalt due to poor seam strength, lack of hip impact protection, and low abrasion resistance. The recommendation for urban riding kit is two stars or better, considering asphalt as the dominant road surface type.
The article also emphasizes the disparity between MotoCAP’s two-star garments and the surface-dressed rural roads in the UK, which can be up to four and a half times more abrasive than asphalt.
While there is no legal requirement specifying motorcycle riding attire beyond a helmet, MotoCAP serves as a valuable resource for riders seeking information on the protective capabilities of their gear. It encourages riders to prioritize safety when choosing motorcycle clothing.
Bennet’s also published an excellent guide on how to pick good riding gear, and you can read that here.