Distribution and type of crash damage to motorcyclists' clothing: validation of the zone approach in the European Standard for motorcycle protective clothing, EN13595

Lauren Meredith, Julie Brown, Rebecca Ivers, Liz de Rome

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    9 Citations (Scopus)


    Objective: Though the use of protective clothing reduces the risk of injury for motorcycle riders, not all protective clothing performs the same in crashes. A European Standard for motorcycle protective clothing (EN13595) was released in 2002 that specifies 4 zones in motorcycle clothing with different levels of protective qualities and 4 different test methods for assessing damage resistance. This project examined damage location and type in clothing worn by riders following a crash to establish the distribution of impact points and validate the zones described in EN13595. Method: Data from 117 crashed motorcycle riders collected during crash investigation were examined. These data included medical data and clothing inspections and contained 576 cases of clothing damage. To ensure that the impact point distribution included all possible contact locations, an additional 433 distinct injury locations were examined where injury had occurred but clothing was either undamaged or not present at that location. Descriptive techniques were used in the analysis. Results: The majority of damage occurred in areas covering the extremities or pelvic girdle (93%), with most occurring on the wrists and hands (18%) and ankles and feet (18%). Clothing regions covering the shoulder (10%), forearm (10%), elbow (9%), thigh (7%), lower leg (6%), and pelvic-hip region (5%) were also frequently damaged. Other body regions contributed only 8 percent of damage seen. Analysis of distinct injury locations demonstrated a similar distribution of impact. The most common types of clothing damage were abrasion, accounting for 69 percent, and torn material, which accounted for 26 percent of all damage. Further, the majority of material abrasion and tearing occurred in regions corresponding to zone 1, followed by zones 2, 3, and then 4. There were very few instances (3%) of burst and cut damage. Conclusions: The results are in agreement with the general concept of the zones used in the EU Standard. However, these results indicate that minor adjustments may be warranted. In particular, the number of impacts to the forearm and lower leg suggest that these regions might be better protected by considering the whole regions as zone 1or 2 rather than the multiple regions as currently indicated in the EU Standard. However, the subjective nature of determining the zone in which damage (and/or injury) occurred limits these findings and any others that attempt to validate the zone principles using real-world data. Further validation requires consideration of the severity of impact at different zones.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)501-507
    Number of pages7
    JournalTraffic Injury Prevention
    Issue number5
    Publication statusPublished - Jul 2014


    • clothing
    • impact distribution
    • motorcycle
    • motorcyclist


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