Motorcycle safety gear

No matter what size or style of motorcycle, quad bike or utility off-road vehicle you ride, good gear is an investment in your safety and everyday riding enjoyment. Riders are vulnerable to injury in a crash, and the elements — heat, cold, rain, hail and wind.

The right protective gear could make the difference between a nasty fall and injuries that prevent you from ever riding again. The right gear can also enhance your riding enjoyment and performance by protecting you from the elements.

The Motorcycle Clothing Assessment Program (MotoCAP) rates motorcycle protective gear for safety and comfort. The system aims to help riders make more informed decisions about their protective clothing. The focus is on jackets and pants, with ratings for other protective gear to come later. For more information on the clothing rated so far visit MotoCAP.

Riding without protective gear is a risk never worth taking. Every time you get on your motorcycle, from a trip down to the shops to a weekend ride in the mountains, you need to protect your skin and body.

The right gear can prevent or reduce many of the most common injuries, and almost certainly:

  • Prevent or reduce the severity of fractures and joint damage.
  • Protect you from cuts and punctures from sharp objects.
  • Save you from having the skin and muscle stripped from your body.
  • Prevent most of the cuts, gravel rash and friction burns from sliding across the road.
  • Reduce the severity of contact burns from the engine and exhaust pipes.

What safety gear to wear

Your most important piece of protective gear is your helmet.

You, and any passenger on the motorcycle, quad bike or utility off-road vehicle must wear a helmet that complies with the Australian standards (AS/NZS1698 or AS1698), or the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe standard (ECE 22.05 or 22.06) when riding.

You should also:

  • wear long pants and a jacket—these should be highly abrasive and tear resistant and completely cover your arms, legs and body. They must be secured at the wrists, waist and ankles to prevent your protective clothing from riding up and exposing your skin during a fall
  • protect your eyes—use a clear visor or goggles for night and make sure they are shatterproof without scratches. If the helmet is approved to an Australian standard your visor or goggles must be approved to the Australian Standard AS 1609
  • wear gloves—these should be a gauntlet style with a strengthened palm area, knuckle protection and zip or velcro fastening around the wrists
  • cover your feet—boots should be leather, have zipper/velcro fasteners to prevent your boots from sliding off, and overlap your pants to provide shin, ankle and instep protection. Avoid laces as they can get caught in your pegs, gears or brake levers
  • wear a back protector—dual density foam is recommended to protect your spine in case of a crash
  • wear a kidney protector—they can support your organs and reduce fatigue.

Improve your visibility

Increasing your visibility can greatly reduce your chances of being involved in a crash — if other road users can see you, even in poor light or bad weather, they can avoid you.

Dress to be seen by choosing gear that maximises your visibility — wear light or brightly coloured clothing, a fluorescent vest, or use reflective strips.

If you are a pillion passenger, you should also wear protective gear, including a helmet, as you’re also exposed to the same elements and risks.

Find more information about pillion passenger rules for motorcycles.

Protective gear in action

Find out more

For more information on protective gear and visibility, you can:

Please note there is no audio in this video clip.

The video shows a motorcycle rider wearing protective motorcycle gear braking suddenly behind a car. The rider skids and loses control then falls over the handle bars sliding onto the road. The rider rolls several times along the road from the force caused by the fall and over broken glass from the motorcycle. The motorcycle becomes damaged from the fall.