Testing motorcyclists' clothing
Motorcyclists' clothing is expected to provide physical protection.
Some clothing worn by motorcyclists comes under the category of ‘fashion’ and does not claim to provide any meaningful protection. However, motorcycle clothing placed on the European market which claims to provide protection to the wearer against injury during an accident is generally considered to be covered by the European Directive on PPE (personal protective equipment), although motorcyclists’ helmets are excluded from these particular regulations.
Europe is currently taking the lead in the setting of safety standards for motorcyclists’ protective clothing. There is a technical committee working group within the European standards body CEN (Comité Européen de Normalisation), that is devoted to this specialised work. The committee (CEN/TC162/WG9) was formed more than 15 years ago and since then has developed several safety standards to protect motorcyclists. A summary of the current standards is given below.
EN 1621-1:2012 covers the impact performance and dimensional requirements of products worn over rider’s limb joints (elbows, hips, knees and shoulders), to provide some protection during impact with a hard object. These products are usually made from shock absorbing material, sometimes with a hard outer plastic shell. They work by reducing the peak force on the rider’s body. EN 1621-1 protection is generally fitted into special pockets in the clothing.
EN 1621-2:2014 is a second part to EN 1621 written specifically to cover back and lumbar protectors. It uses similar design and test methodology to part 1 for testing of limb protectors except that the geometry of the anvil and striker are different, to better simulate the way back protectors are intended to work.
EN 1621-4:2013 covers inflatable body protectors designed to fit over and protect the upper torso.
EN 13595:2002 covers jackets, trousers and one and two-piece suits. It includes a wide variety of tests intended to assess the protection and integrity of the clothing ensemble. It is formatted into four parts. Part 1 includes the requirements and the examination procedures of the clothing while parts 2 to 4 describe laboratory testing procedures for three of the specialised tests: impact abrasion, impact cut and burst strength.
EN 13634:2015 is the standard that covers motorcyclists’ footwear. It draws on tests from previously established industrial footwear standards, together with specialised motorcycle type tests from EN 13595. The standard includes two levels of protection which are determined by the abrasion and cut resistance tests. This standard is currently under review and has been transferred to CEN/TC161.
EN 13594:2015 is the standard for motorcyclists’ protective gloves. Like the footwear standard, it is based on both previous general industrial and new specialised motorcycle test procedures.
EN 14021:2003 is the standard for body protectors worn while riding off-road. It was devised to protect riders against minor impacts such as from small stones thrown up during off-road riding. The standard includes tests for design, dimensions, impact performance and ergonomics.
Further information on SATRA's PPE certification and testing services is available at www.satra.com/ppe
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