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Motorcycle rider protective apparel wearing: Observational study results from the Brisbane and Canberra regions.

Wishart, D, Watson, B, Rowden, P (Peer reviewed)

Motorcycles and Scooters


The continued growth in popularity of motorcycling is an area of concern within the road safety domain due to the vulnerability of motorcyclists sustaining injury in the event of a crash. Currently in Australia only motorcycle helmets are mandatory for motorcyclists or pillions to wear and there is no legislative standard for other protective apparel. This paper reports the results obtained from a series of motorcyclists’ apparel observational studies undertaken in the Brisbane and Canberra regions. The sites selected for the research were designed to enable the observation of both recreational and commuter riders. The results highlight both similarities and differences in the type of protective apparel worn by motorcyclists and pillions observed across the two regions.

Encouragingly, across all the sites the majority of riders were wearing protective apparel on their upper body. However, a lower proportion of riders were observed wearing protective apparel on their lower body, particularly at the commuter sites in Brisbane. Similarly, the wearing of full face helmets was very high, except at the commuter sites in Brisbane. The generally lower use of protective apparel among commuter riders in Brisbane would appear to reflect both situational factors, such as climate, and the higher proportion of scooters observed at the sites. The implications of these results are discussed and recommendations are made for future research to identify factors that influence the wearing of protective motorcycle apparel.