Introduction The distributions of motorcycle crash impacts and injuries were compared to the four impact risk zones and protective performance specified in the European Standard for motorcycle clothing (EN 13595). Methods Crashed motorcyclists' (n = 117) injuries and clothing damage were categorized by body area into the four risk zones. Three levels of protection were defined: protective clothing with impact protection, protective clothing only and non-protective clothing. Results The distribution of impact/injury sites corresponded to the predictions of EN 13595, with the proportion of all injuries decreasing from 43.9% in Zone 1, to 18.0%, 16.7%, and 11.5% in Zones 2 to 4, respectively. Protective clothing modified the distribution of injuries with substantially more injuries (OR = 2.69, 95% CL: 20.1-3.59) at unprotected impact sites. Practical application These findings support an appropriate framework for determining performance specifications for the manufacture of motorcycle clothing that will effectively reduce the risk of injury in crashes.