Fact or Fiction: Motorcycle Body Armor

By: Staff

4 Min Quiz

Image: refer to hsw

About This Quiz

It's new, it's high-tech and it's generally not cheap. But motorcycle body armor just might save your life. How much do you know about staying safe when riding? Take this quiz, and you may be surprised by what you learn!

Shelling out for hard-shell armor almost always buys more protection than memory foam or other soft armor.

The goal of any body armor is to block force and then absorb it, so many of the best systems use a hard shell backed by force-absorbing padding.


Experts credit motorcycle helmets with reducing the chance of death in a crash by 37 percent.

This is an oldie but a goody -- helmets are still the most important piece of safety equipment in a biker's closet.


Body armor can greatly reduce the chance of fatality in crashes at speeds greater than 60 miles per hour (96.5 kilometers per hour).

Body armor is generally not considered effective in protecting against the massive trauma of high-speed crashes.


Forty percent of all motorcycle crashes result in skidding without hitting anything.

The report known as the Motorcycle Accident In-Depth Study (MAIDS) found that protection against skidding is of prime importance, since so many accidents result in skidding.


With the exceptions of Alaska, Texas and Vermont, all states require motorcycle riders to wear helmets.

The three states completely without helmet laws are New Hampshire, Illinois and Iowa; however, 27 states have only partial helmet laws, covering only riders 17 or 20 years old and younger.


There's no standardized test or certification for the effectiveness of motorcycle body armor in the United States.

Currently, there's no certification in the U.S. However, Europe certifies motorcycle protective clothing. Look for "CE-certified" armor to ensure it meets the best available standards.


The most commonly broken bones in motorcycle accidents are forearms and lower legs.

Due partly to your skeleton channeling force into your clavicle (collarbone) and pelvis, these are the most commonly broken bones in motorcycle crashes.


To be considered "protective," leather should be at least 2 centimeters thick.

It seems as if leather was designed specifically to protect bikers -- even at only 1.2 millimeters thick, it can protect against the abrasion of a skidding fall.


The median crash speed for motorcycle accidents is 53 miles per hour (85 kilometers per hour).

In fact, the median crash speed is only 21.5 miles per hour (34.6 kilometers per hour), well within the speeds at which body armor is effective.


While helmets are protective in the case of a crash, they also increase the likelihood of a crash by increasing driver fatigue, decreasing field of vision and dangerously weighing down the head, which can contribute to neck injuries.

The influential Hurt report found that "no element of accident causation was related to helmet use."


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