Protective clothing

When riding mopeds, motorcycles or quad bikes it is important that you wear the right protective clothing.

Protective clothing will shield you from the weather and protect you from injury should you fall.  All protective clothing should display BSI Kitemark.

Safety helmets – the law

By law you must wear a safety helmet when riding a motorcycle or quad bike on the road. All helmets sold in the UK must either:

  • meet with British Standard BS 6658:1985 and carry the BSI Kitemark
  • meet with UNECE Regulation 22.05
  • meet with any standard accepted by a member of the European Economic Area which offers a level of safety and protection equal to BS 6658:1985 and carry a mark equal to the BSI Kitemark

Damage to helmets

If your helmet receives any serious impact you should always buy a new one. Damage won't always be visible to the naked eye.

Never buy or wear a second hand helmet, as you may not see if the protective material inside the helmet is damaged.

Visors and goggles

A visor or goggles are vital to protect your eyes from wind, rain, insects and road dirt.

All visors or goggles must meet with either:

  • a British Standard and display a BSI Kitemark
  • a European standard which offers a level of safety and protection at least equal to the British Standard and carry a mark equal to the BSI Kitemark (ECE 22-05)

You should not wear tinted glasses, visors or goggles if you are riding in the dark or in conditions of poor visibility.

Glasses and contact lenses

If you need glasses or contact lenses to read a number plate at the prescribed distance then you must wear them when you ride.

Protective clothing for motorcyclists

Motorcycle clothing is of two main types:

  • clothing made from man-made materials
  • leather clothing

When you are choosing protective motorcycle clothing make sure you look for additional protection for the shoulders, back, elbows, knees and hips.

Good gloves or gauntlets are essential when your ride a motorcycle. Never be tempted to ride without gloves. If you fall off you could seriously injure your hands.

It is important to wear good boots or footwear when you ride a motorcycle. If you wear sandals or trainers your feet will have little protection if you fall off. Look for boots which have protection for the shin, heel and ankle.

Improving your visibility in the dark

To improve visibility in the dark you need to wear reflective clothing or strips. They work by reflecting the light from headlamps of other vehicles. This makes you much more visible from a long distance.

How to find out more about protective clothing for motorcyclists

For more information about protective clothing you can read the Driver & Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) official publication 'The official DVSA guide to riding: the essential skills'.

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