You and your motorcycle

Wearing the right gear

It is important for you to have the right gear and wear the right clothing to protect yourself while riding.

Protective gear

Protective gear

  • A - Eye protection.
  • B - Pants.
  • C - Boots.
  • D - Helmet.
  • E - Jacket.
  • F - Gloves.


If you fall off your motorcycle, it's likely that your head will hit the road hard. This is why the law requires every rider and pillion passenger to wear an approved safety helmet securely fastened on the head. A good helmet can prevent serious injury.

An approved safety helmet will have a sticker on it showing that it meets an approved safety standard. Don't buy or wear any helmet that isn't approved.

Your helmet should also:

  • fit snugly - it shouldn't be too tight or too loose (a loose helmet is almost as bad as no helmet at all)
  • be securely fastened when riding
  • be a bright colour, such as white, orange, yellow or red
  • have red reflective material on the back and sides.

You will need to replace your helmet if it is cracked, has loose padding, frayed straps or exposed metal, or is damaged in any way, as it may not be safe. Dropping it onto a hard surface can cause damage that can't always be seen. For this reason, never buy a second-hand helmet.

Soap and water is the best way to clean a helmet. Never use petrol, methylated spirits or any other solvent to clean a helmet, as they can weaken the shell or the shock-absorbent lining. For the same reason, you should never use paints or stickers with unsuitable glues on a helmet.

Helmet safety standards

An approved motorcycle helmet is one that complies with one or more of the approved international standards:

  • UN/ECE Regulation No. 22: Protective helmets and their visors for drivers and passengers of motorcycles and mopeds (Europe)
  • Australian Standard AS 1698: Protective helmets for vehicle users
  • New Zealand Standard NZS 5430: Protective helmets for vehicle users
  • Snell Memorial Foundation: Helmet Standard for use in motorcycling
  • Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard No. 218: Motorcycle helmets
  • British Standard BS 6658: Specification for protective helmets for vehicle users (for type A helmets only)
  • Japan Industrial Standard T8133.

Helmets that comply with approved standards can be identified using these markings:

AS 1698

AS 1698
JIS T8133

JIS T8133
S Mark

S Mark
BS 6658

BS 6658
  UN/ECE 22

(The number next to
the 'E' denotes a
country, ie 4 equals
The Netherlands)
Snell Standards

Snell Standards

Helmets complying with FMVSS 218 will be marked with the letters 'DOT'. This standard is only acceptable for motorcycle helmets that have been manufactured and purchased in the United States.

Eye and face protection

When riding, you need to wear a face-shield, visor or goggles to protect your face and eyes from wind, dust, rain, insects and other debris.

To be effective, your face-shield, visor or goggles must:

  • be clean and free of scratches
  • be made of material that won't shatter
  • give a clear view to either side
  • be fastened securely so it cannot be blown off
  • allow air to circulate so it won't fog up
  • allow enough room for glasses or sunglasses, if needed.

If your eye and face protection becomes smeared while riding, pull over to the side of the road to clean it as soon as it is safe.

If your eye and face protection becomes cracked, you may need to remove it or, in the case of visors, ride with the visor up. Damaged visors or goggles should be replaced as soon as possible.

You should never wear dark or tinted visors, goggles or glasses at night, as you must be able to see clearly.

Protective clothing

The right clothes can:

  • protect you from severe skin grazing if you fall
  • keep you comfortable and weatherproof
  • make you more noticeable, if you choose bright colours.

Your clothes need to keep you warm and dry, protect you in a crash and make you visible to other road users.

Clothing that is designed specifically for motorcycling will give you the best protection. The wind can cause your body temperature to drop, reducing your ability to concentrate and slowing your reflexes. Even on fine days the wind chill can affect you and may result in hypothermia.


Wear a fluoro safety vest so other drivers will see you.

Jackets and pants

These are usually made of leather or fabrics that are wind and waterproof and able to withstand abrasion. Often jackets have a removable thermal liner so that you adjust the level of warmth required. Jackets should have armour built into them to protect your elbows, shoulders and back. Both jackets and trousers should be a reasonably tight fit.


Gloves will give you a better hold on the hand grips. Your hands need to be warm, dry and protected if you fall off. You may need several pairs for summer and winter. Leather is good for protection but may not be waterproof.


Boots are the best footwear to wear when riding. Your boots should:

  • cover your ankles
  • be made of leather or strong synthetic material.

Don't ride in running shoes, or worse still in jandals or bare feet. Avoid shoes with rings or laces that could catch on the motorcycle.

For more information on protective clothing visit

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Last updated: 25 June 2010