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Safety star rating system coming for motorbike gear

Safety star rating system coming for motorbike gear

Kiwi motorcyclists will soon be able to check the performance of protective clothing before they buy, with the introduction of a safety star-rating system, says Dave Keilty, who heads ACC’s motorcycle injury prevention team.

ACC has joined a range of Australian state road and road safety agencies to develop the system, which will be based on the familiar consumer five-star rating system.

“Safety star ratings play an important role in guiding people when they buy a car or a motorcycle helmets, so It makes sense to have something similar to help motorcyclists choose the right protective clothing for their needs,” Dave Keilty says.

“As riders know, they have little protection in the event of a crash, which is why we push so hard about the critical importance of always wearing protective gear, with messages like ‘no skin under the chin’.

“The reality is that the better the quality of a rider’s helmet and protective clothing, the better their chances of avoiding injuries that can have life-long impacts. In some situations, the quality of your gear could literally be the difference between life and death.

“Having impartial test results to help you make an informed choice on gear is a great step forward. The rating will also provide info on fit and comfort in heat and cold, which will hopefully help combat the tendency of some riders to take risks in warmer weather by wearing less gear because it makes them too hot.”

The rating system will initially be based on the results of 12 months of testing at Deakin University in Victoria, involving the blind testing of protective clothing purchased randomly from retail outlets.

“The results will be shown to manufacturers or importers before the ratings system is launched. The next step will be on-going testing so that as much gear as possible is covered. We anticipate it becoming demand-generated by riders wanting to know how their favourite brands stack up.

“It will be up to manufacturers or importers to decide whether to display ratings on their gear, but consumers will be able to access all the test results on line very soon,” says Dave Keilty.

Last year ACC paid out $94 million supporting 7370 motorcyclists who have been injured on New Zealand roads -- many of whom have suffered significant, life-changing injuries.

Motorcycle Safety Advisory Council chair Mark Gilbert welcomed the initiative.

“Many riders have found out the hard way that clothing price is not necessarily a good indication of the level of protection it provides them.

“Giving riders more information, based on a test-based rating system, will allow them to make informed choices when they buy protective clothing, so they choose the best option for their particular needs,” Mark Gilbert says.

For further information:
Ride Forever website is an excellent source of information for what type of gear best fits your riding style.
New Zealand Transport Agency has great info on helmet safety standards, and you can check out your helmet’s rating on the UK website

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