Motorcyclists around Australia and New Zealand may soon have access to more information about the safety of their protective clothing with the formation of a new working group and pilot program.
Centre for Road Safety Executive Director Bernard Carlon said Transport for NSW has joined with the NRMA and the Australian Motorcycle Council as well as other road agencies, motoring clubs and stakeholders across Australia and New Zealand to develop a ratings system for the protective clothing worn by riders.
“With consumer safety star ratings for new cars, used cars, motorcycle helmets and child restraints already in place, rating protective clothing for motorcyclists is an important area to focus on,” Mr Carlon said.
With more than 10,500 motorcycle riders admitted to hospital with serious injuries over the past five years in NSW improving the quality of the protective equipment and clothing could have a significant impact on this trauma.
“As riders know – they are less protected in the event of a crash – quality safety clothing and an approved helmet can not only be the difference between life and death in a crash situation, it can significantly reduce the impact of traumatic injuries that can have lifelong impacts.”
“Many riders have found out the hard way that clothing price is not necessarily a good indication of the level of protection it provides them.”
“The development of a rating system means that riders will have more information available to them when buying new gear,” Mr Carlon said.
A 12 month pilot program has started with the Institute for Frontier Materials at Deakin University, where some of the clothing currently available to riders is being tested.
The test clothing has been selected randomly and is being tested under strict security. All results are confidential, known only by the test team and senior management at the ratings authority.
“Once we have the results from these tests we will provide them to industry stakeholders and work together with the relevant manufacturers or importers before we launch an official ratings system,” Mr Carlon said.
Peter Khoury from the NRMA said the project will help continue to promote and improve road safety for riders.
“Assisting motorcyclists to make informed comparisons about the safety of their clothes while riding has the potential to reduce serious injuries, as riders are able to choose the most protective clothing for their needs,” Mr Khoury said.
Brian Wood from the Australian Motorcycle Council said the Council welcomed the opportunity to be working with stakeholders from around Australia and New Zealand on the project.
“The Australian Motorcycle Council supports providing riders with information about protective clothing that will allow them to make informed choices about the level of protection and thermal comfort they are purchasing,” Mr Wood said.
“The AMC hopes that the pilot program will lead to the introduction of a 5 Star Rating scheme,” said Mr Wood.
The motorcycle clothing rating system is a partnership between Transport for NSW and stakeholders from Victoria, South Australia, Western Australia, Queensland and New Zealand.
From NSW Transport for NSW, the NRMA, and SIRA; from Victoria – VicRoads, TAC and, RACV; from South Australia – RAA, MAC and, DPTI; from Queensland – TMR, and RACQ; from Western Australia – the Western Australian Road Safety Commission; and the Australian Motorcycle Council and New Zealand Accident Compensation Corporation.
Source: NSW Government