Road Safety News
 

European motorcycle body publishes protective equipment guide

Wednesday 7th April 2010

ACEM, the professional body that represents the motorcycle industry in Europe, has published a booklet in seven languages to encourage the wider use of protective clothing.

ACEM represents the interests of 12 powered two wheeler manufacturers and 15 national associations.

The booklet has been developed as part of eSUM (European Safer Urban Motorcycling), a partnership project between ACEM and the four European motorcycling capitals (London, Paris, Barcelona and Rome) to promote the safer use of powered two-wheelers in inner-city traffic.

While most riders use helmets, moped riders and commuters tend to neglect the benefits of PPE. For example, in Mediterranean countries (due to the warm climate) PTW users are still largely unaware that good apparel can combine comfort and safety.

Jacques Compagne, ACEM secretary general, said: "The PTW industry wants to inform riders about the benefits of PPE and aims to encourage more of them to wear appropriate gear.”

Click here to download the booklet.

Click here to read the full ACEM news release.

 

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It fascinates me that the safety debate whether it is about motorcycling - protective clothing and helmets - now it seems that ABS will reduce casualties, is based on the premise that we have to do our best to save the lives of others. This may be honourable, but what we are really aiming to do is to reduce the amount of money that the insurance industry and the NHS has to spend. The balance between choice and saving lives is a difficult debate because there are too many variables. We are moving towards a society where safety has become an obsession. There needs to be a balance and the vested interests of the private sector needs careful attention. Are we really interested in human life - or as the tables tell us, are we more interested in the cost of human life on society? If we are not careful we will remove the fascination for adventure and risk from our lives.
Dr Elaine Hardy

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Don't know why there's so much debate about this - it's only a guide not the law.
Wyn, Devon

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We should not be subject to imposed standards relating to un-proven safety benefits. I understand that there is NO data to show hi-vis gear reduces motorcycle accidents. Wear a hi-vis vest if you want to, but don't impose it on me thanks.
Andy, Boston

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Having been riding bikes for nearly 25 years, as a road rider, racer and courier, I would rather the Eurocrats and MPs would actually start testing the kit available now, and rating it the same way ride magazine does.

I have spent a fortune over the years on so called safety gear, but when it came to a incident, some of it failed and sometimes actually called a worse injury than had I not being wearing it.

Thats what needs to be assessed first before there should be any further talk on foisting new standards on PTW.
Beanie, Neath

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That might make u feel good Andy but i dont think u are going to achieve anything by your actions. Or perhaps a thick ear.
I would have thought that someone with your skills and obvious dedication could respond with something more likely to achieve the result u want rather than public humiliation.

As for the the topic. My penneth is that its a matter of opinion as to what one wears. The guy on the scoot isn't going to put on full armoured clothing just to go down to the shops for a packet of fags or a six pack. On the other hand the pocket rocket biker with to much money to spare clads himself like a power ranger and then safely cocooned strives to be the greatest idiot on the road and has an accident which breaks legs which no amount of protection would negate.

Its all a matter of attitude, of getting people to appreciate and understanding a balance. Not an easy task I am afraid
bob craven

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I'm with Nich Brown on this one too. Apart from anything else, the man is well known for talking sense. The end we want is for riders not to get hurt. If we abdicate responsibility to the government, we all know what will happen. It will end up as a huge pile of bureaucratic regulations, that don't actually do what is needful and cost us all a lot of money in fines and policing. May I suggest an alternative approach. If you see someone wearing next to nowt on a bike, take the P**s out of them with a smile on your face. I am a RoSPA Diploma advanced riding instructor and I have used this technique with great success many times :-)
Andy M, Wiltshire

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Sorry if I caused confusion, I was not suggesting protective kit should be compulsory. MAG and other riders rights groups have a difficult path to tread. Yes we need to preserve personal freedom but we also need to protect those most at risk before they become a casualty statistic which causes governments to intervene which prompts the need for a riders rights group. If every rider wore protective kit would it become compulsory? I don't know, I doubt it, but there is a good chance it would reduce the number of casualties, especially among young and inexperienced riders who are most at risk.
Dave, Leeds

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Interesting comments below. It all comes down to what is law and what is not. If it is law, shut up, move on. If it is not, the rider has the choice to use full leathers or not. It's all very well saying that some riders may very well be good and sensible, but they may meet those that are not. My daughter and I were nearly taken out by a clown near Boston Spa over the weekend. He was wearing jeans and a t-shirt and overshot the corner, thus going too wide out of it. The question to all is this; Do you wear leathers on your bike?
Scott, Teesside

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When I hear this debate I get very nervous because, in the wrong hands, this could become very impositional. Dave, in Leeds, is correct to say that the wearing of protective clothing has potential benefits to a motorcyclist but ONLY IF HE FALLS OFF. Nich, from MAG, is also correct in opposing legal compulsion. I have no doubt Dave will call, as evidence, crash helmets and seat belts but let us take the theory further. Many pedestrians, when knocked down, suffer head injuries. Let us compel walkers to wear safety helmets. The rate of car fires is apparently rising rapidly. Let us compel car drivers to wear fireproof overalls like F1 drivers. Knee and elbow injuries are frequently found when roller-bladers and skateboarders take a tumble so let us make it a legal reqirement for users to wear protective items on these joints. Both helmet and and joint protectors could benefit cyclists so let us force cyclists to wear them as well. Teenagers suffer hearing damage as a result of regularly attending discos. Let us compel them to wear ear protectors. We are getting ridiculous aren't we? So when does the balance become ridiculous and who decides when that point is reached? The government? Scientists? The Police? Road Safety consultants? Were we to go down the road of compelling PTW riders to wear protective clothing, that rider could ask, "What is protective clothing?" Full racing leathers? What thickness has the leather to be? Does it have to been cowhide? Is a Cordura jacket OK at the speeds I travel? Will a nylon suit be alright with kevlar inserts? The nightmare is when the PTW rider is forced, by law, to wear full protection. An Arai helmet, a one-piece racing leather suit, armoured gloves and boots to match. To do what? Pop down to the library on a Honda 50!! Seat-belts, crash helmets, leather suits do not prevent collisions, they potentially reduce the severity of the possible injury. Conversely, it is alleged that these items contribute to the risk-compensation theory, therefore, may impact on collision increase. Ultimately, I have to stand up and be counted. Nich Brown gets my vote. By all means make protective equipment available for those who feel they want it or need it. Forcing riders to wear it under the threat of legal punishment is politically incorrect. It would be preferrable to promote education as primary safety followed by enforcement of illegal behaviour. The real danger is that some road safety enthusiast will see an OBE in progessing this flawed proposal.
Roy Buchanan, Sutton.

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My local IAM bike group, of which I'm an observer, is looking to provide a free issue hi-vis jacket at the commencement of training. We won't reject an associate if they refuse to wear it. At the end of the day its their life... we hope to educate... others have the responsibility to police.
Pierre, North Lancs

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A good way to prevent a fight is not to try to force your view on someone who doesn't agree with you. At least then you can stay on good enough terms to continue to try to persuade each other.
So perhaps the real shame is that some individuals and groups in the road safety sector are intent on imposing their views by using the full force of law on anyone who disagrees with them.
The already high rate of helmet wearing was used as an argument to impose compulsion, which is why many riders are fearful of compulsory clothing requirements in the near future and of further restrictions after that.
MAG remains true to its founding principle of opposing the state inflicting fines and imprisonment on any adult who chooses not to comply with personal safety diktats. But MAG also has the pursuit of rider safety and responsible road use enshrined in our constitution and campaign work. We believe in education but we oppose the removal of limits on state power over the choices people make about their own safety. There is no shame in that.
Nich Brown, General Secretary MAG(UK)

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It's a shame that in this day and age when the benefits of good riding kit are so clear that one of the largest motorcycling organisations in the UK - MAG - are still opposed to the mandatory use of crash helmets and openly attack campaigns that try to get riders to wear kit which could reduce injury if not even save a life. What we need is for riders groups and the road safety sector to work together to try and reduce rider casualties not fight against each other.
Dave, Leeds

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