Choosing style over safety: the risks of women’s motorcycle leggings

The quality of protective gear plays a critical role in determining the outcome of motorcycle crashes. Recent research sheds light on a concerning trend that many women’s motorcycle leggings fail to provide adequate protection. The pursuit of style and comfort sometimes takes precedence over safety, leaving riders vulnerable to severe injuries. 

Recent testing conducted by MotoCAP on women’s motorcycle protective leggings and jeggings in Australia uncovered alarming shortcomings in their protective capabilities. The MotoCAP program, supported by the Motor Accident Insurance Commission (MAIC), plays a crucial role in shedding light on these critical issues. The study revealed that 8 out of 10 brands scored poorly in terms of abrasion resistance, a crucial factor in preventing road rash during a crash. Even when brands opted for higher resistance materials, these fabrics often failed to cover high-risk abrasion areas, such as the knees, sides of the legs, and backside, leaving riders exposed to the harsh impact of the road. 

In addition to poor abrasion resistance, MotoCAP’s testing highlighted substandard seam strength and burst resistance in many women’s protective leggings and jeggings. Flimsy fabrics, shoddy seams with gaps between layers, dropped stitches, and single-row stitching all contribute to the likelihood of bursting upon impact, increasing the risk of severe injuries. Furthermore, inadequate impact protection in the gear puts riders in jeopardy, with 7 out of 10 brands scoring poorly in this regard. Some of these brands even lacked hip impact protection, which is crucial in preventing serious lower extremity injuries. 

With no enforceable standards on protective motorcycle clothing in Australia, riders often find themselves unknowingly prioritising style over safety. To make informed purchase decisions, it’s essential to delve into the materials, seam quality, and impact protection levels of each garment. MotoCAP, an organisation conducting independent scientific testing of motorcycle gear in Australia and New Zealand, offers consumers valuable star ratings for motorcycle jackets, pants, and gloves. Experts recommend opting for gear with at least 2+ stars for city riding and 3+ stars for open road riding to reduce the risk of injuries in case of a crash. By choosing high-quality protective gear, riders can strike a balance between style and safety, ensuring they can enjoy the thrill of the road while minimizing the risks. 

To choose both safety and style, visit the MotoCAP website. 

Last modified 17 November 2023


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