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Motorcycle protective clothing: physiological and perceptual barriers to their summer use

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conference contribution
posted on 2015-01-01, 00:00 authored by Liz de Rome, N A S Taylor, O Troynikov, C Hurren, M Fitzharris, R Croft, J Brown
Despite strong evidence of protective benefits, thermal discomfort is a key disincentive
to motorcyclists wearing protective clothing in hot conditions. This paper presents
some findings from our studies concerning the thermal management properties of
motorcycle protective clothing and their physiological impact in hot conditions.
The thermal and vapour permeability and abrasion resistance properties of motorcycle
protective clothing were investigated in laboratory tests. The physiological and
cognitive impact on humans was investigated using objective and subjective measures
under controlled climate conditions and in a real-world riding trial. The aims were to
determine: (i) if associations existed between thermal management and the abrasionresistance
properties of a range of commonly available, all-season motorcycle
protective suits, (ii) the extent of the thermal load imposed by motorcycle clothing worn
in average Australian summer conditions, and (iii) the impact of that thermal burden on
psychophysical function.
The results demonstrated significant physiological strain for motorcyclists wearing
protective clothing in hot conditions. Wide variations in the thermal characteristics and
abrasion resistance properties of the suits tested were identified. Ongoing work is
investigating the impact that elevated thermal discomfort and physiological thermal
strain can have on riding performance and the potential for clothing features, such as
ventilation ports to reduce thermal discomfort. These results will determine thresholds
for the thermal qualities of motorcycle clothing required for an acceptable compromise
between user comfort and injury protection. The outcome will inform industry and
consumer information programs about the performance required of motorcycle
protective clothing suitable for use in hot conditions.



Australasian Road Safety. Conference (2015 : Broadbeach, Queensland)


Australasian Road Safety Conference


1 - 4


Australasian College of Road Safety


Broadbeach, Queensland

Place of publication

Canberra, A.C.T.

Start date


End date




Publication classification

E1.1 Full written paper - refereed

Copyright notice

2015, The Authors



Title of proceedings

ARSC 2015 : Proceedings of the Australasian Road Safety Conference

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