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The Rider's Handbook

Protective Clothing

As a motorcycle rider you are fully exposed to all the elements, heat, cold, rain, hail, snow, etc and in a crash you are particularly vulnerable to injury. Wearing the right protective clothing can:

  • Significantly reduce injury in a crash.
  • Protect you from the weather.
  • Improve your comfort when riding.

It's in your own interest not to ride if you know you can't concentrate fully.

The most important piece of personal equipment for a motorcycle rider is a motorcycle helmet. The law requires all motorcyclists and their passengers or sidecar passengers to wear an approved motorcycle helmet. The approved standards for helmets are Australian Standard AS 1698 or European Standard ECE 22.05.

There are many types and styles of motorcycle helmets available. There are two key types; full face and open face helmets.

Full face helmets that feature a chin panel which incorporates an integrated face shield (visor) offer better eye, wind, sun and injury protection.

Light coloured helmets (eg. white, yellow) are generally cooler in summer than dark helmets. Never buy a second hand helmet


  • Your helmet must be either Australian Standard AS1698 or European Standard ECE 22.05 approved
  • It must fit comfortably but not too tightly (avoid helmets that fit loosely).
  • It must have the chin strap fastened and properly tightened.

Helmets should be:

  • Replaced after a crash or a significant impact.
  • Replaced if they become loose fitting, or the straps become worn.
  • Only cleaned with mild soapy water. Some chemicals and cleaners may weaken the shell.

Protective Clothing

Your eyes need protection from the wind, dust, rain, insects and stones thrown up by other vehicles. Only a visor attached to the helmet or goggles provides the eye protection necessary for riding.

Some motorcycles have screens or fairings to provide weather protection. These do not provide adequate protection for the eyes and you should still use a visor or goggles to protect your eyes.

Visor and goggles should:

  • Be clean and not scratched.
  • Be shatterproof (standard for helmet visors is Australian Standards AS 1609).
  • Have clear lenses for use at night.

Gloves that are specifically designed for motorcycle riding will improve rider comfort and protection.

Motorcycle gloves generally have:

  • A strengthened palm area shaped for riding.
  • Knuckle protection.
  • A fastener around the wrist to prevent sliding off (e.g. zipper and Velcro).
  • An overlap with the jacket (gauntlet style).

Purpose made motorcycle clothing provides better weather and crash protection than ordinary clothing. In proper motorcycle gear you will almost certainly feel more comfortable.

Jacket and pants should:

  • Be tailored for a riding position.
  • Completely cover your arms, legs and body.
  • Be secure around wrist, waist and ankles to prevent sliding up and exposing skin.
  • Have impact and abrasion protection for your back, shoulders, elbows, hipsand knees.
  • Be highly abrasion and tear resistant.

Like gloves, footwear designed for motorcycle riding will provide great comfort and protection.

Motorcycle footwear generally has:

  • Strengthening in the instep between the ball of the foot and the heel.
  • Ankle protection.
  • Shin protection.
  • A fastener around the leg to prevent sliding off (e.g. zipper and Velcro).
  • An overlap with the pants (boot style).
  • Gear change cover to prevent wear.

Other rider specific protective clothing includes:

  • Back protectors to protect your spine in a crash.
  • Kidney belts to support your lower back and reduce fatigue.
  • Demister visors.

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