I just found this on the X11 site I’m a member of, interesting reading:
"As some of you may or may not know I am heavily involved in the study of motorcycle protective clothing and have been for over 25 years with over 20,000 investigations behind me and as a result I act as a consultant to various bodies on what is good, what is bad and how clothing reacts in crash situations.
I have just been going through some old files, updating and adding to the reports and I came a cross a few cases which I thought you might be interested in, and which may convince or remind some of you the importance of being properly protected, but without the sales/racing/ publicity hype that tends to be rammed down the throat particularly to those of you who are perhaps new to riding. So, I hope you find them interesting and of some help.
Case study 1
An experienced rider having recently passed his RoSPA advanced riding test, is riding to work one morning on his Honda CBX550. He is wearing his leather jacket and leather trousers purchased a few weeks before, having previously not been convinced of the value of leathers!
As he commenced to overtake a slower moving vehicle on a main A class road, he misjudged the speed and distance of an approaching vehicle and collided head on with a closing impact speed of about 120 MPH. The rider was found lying in a ditch about 200 yards from point if impact suffering multiple fractures to his left leg, knee, right arm as well as severe internal injuries.
He was conveyed to hospital where his family were advised that if he survived they would have to consider the amputation of both his arm and leg, particularly his leg. He was admitted into theatre and as they commenced cutting of his leather trousers he lost in excess of three pints of blood in less than 30 seconds. They also found that his leg was more severely injured than they at first thought, but due to the close fitting of his trousers, they had actually acted as a splint and restricted the loss of blood giving him vital time to get Hospital treatment. Because both his trousers and jacket had fitted so well, the requirement to amputate either his leg or arm was eliminated.
An estimated 12 month stay in Hospital was reduced to 6 weeks, and within 10 weeks he was driving again, albeit an automatic, and within 16 weeks he was driving manual gearboxes.
His speedy recovery was attributed to good well fitting leathers. Had he been wearing anything else, as he had done in the past and only a few weeks earlier, it is thought that he would have bled to death at the side of the road.
Although he is now permanently disabled, he is for the main part able to live a normal life although he will never ride a motorcycle again.
Interestingly, his trousers were not armoured or padded, they were simple “Texas” style jeans, and given the severity of the impact it is thought that armour would not have made that much difference. What was his saving grace was the fact that he had leather trousers on which fitted well.
This accident occurred about 18 years ago! <BR ><BR >
This was my Brother in laws accident, and he now lives happily in Austria with his second wife and young son. I am delighted that I was able to talk him into wearing the correct kit.
Case Study 2
A Police rider was issued with a very expensive pair of black leather full length touring boots as part of his riding uniform. They took about 2 months to break in due to the hardness of the leather, but as soon as they had bedded in they started to collapse and fold reducing the support around the ankle. However this particular force only issued 1 pair of boots a year, and therefore the rider had no option but to continue wearing the boots until he received his next issue.
About 4 months after the date of these boots being issued, the rider was involved in a crash and received serious injuries to his left leg. Despite the high purchase price of the boots, they had failed to afford the full degree of protection that would normally be expected.
The sloppy fit had not held his foot together or prevented crush injuries. This accident caused 5 ligaments to become detached, calcifying of the bone amongst many other injuries, as a result of which he was pensioned off from the Police service with a registered 25% disability.
The rider to this day still walks with a limp, has a size 14 left foot instead of a normal size 11, is in constant pain and will require the foot to be amputated at some time in the future. there are also other associated back and joint problems as a result of this injury.
Specialist safety footwear manufacturers examined the boots worn at the time of the accident along with medical professionals, and confirmed that had the rider been wearing footwear even a cheap but protective boot, then the chances are that the rider would have made a full recovery and would probably still be serving to this day.
The rider in question was me!
Case Study 3
A young man was out riding his motorcycle (not me this time ) one sunny summer afternoon, wearing a pair of jeans and training shoes. He was travelling at a speed when the bike lost power despite the fact that the engine was revving quite freely. The rider coasted to a halt at the side of the road in order to investigate the problem. As he stopped, he put his left leg down to support the machine and promptly fell onto the floor with the motorcycle falling on top of him.
The mechanical problem was due to the final drive chain snapping. As it broke, it smashed its way through the left hand engine casing and then sliced through the riders lower left leg like a knife through butter.
As it had happened so quickly and suddenly the rider had not felt his lower limb being suddenly amputated and had tried to stop normally. His foot and ankle were found some 250 yards back down the road still wearing the training shoe and a rather bloodied sock.
The surgeons were unable to reattach the severed foot, but they went onto confirm that had the rider been wearing a good quality leather boot, it would have been unlikely that the chain would have managed to penetrate the leather, although he would have probably been very bruised, but! His foot would have remained attached to his left leg.
On the subject of gloves, for you then
A rider wearing proper protective clothing and lightly padded leather motorcycle summer gloves is travelling down a main road, when another motorcycle in front throws up a loose sharp stone chipping from the back wheel, hitting the following riders middle finger. The rider flinches at the initial impact but gives it no further thought until he arrives home an hour or so later, although he did find it increasingly difficult to operate the clutch lever.
On arriving home he notices that his middle finger is becoming quite painful and swollen, and severe bruising is starting to appear. Examination of his glove reveals a razor sharp cut from just below the knuckle of the middle finger to the tip of his finger with the cut extending through the full layer of leather and the lining, although the skin on his finger had not been broken.
The finger took about 10 days to heal properly, but the question is still asked to this day, how much more severe would the injury have been had the rider not been wearing gloves, motorcycle or otherwise.
Heavily padded gloves would have made no difference at it was the section from the knuckle to the tip of the finger that was injured
In another case relating to helmets
A Police motorcyclist with over 20 years operational experience (Not me I hasten to add, but a good friend) attended his annual audiometric test, only to be told that his hearing was at least 30% defective at certain frequencies.
During his service, he had never worn any form of ear defender, and in the days of issue open face helmets, no noticeable degradation of his hearing had been recorded, although he had been wearing a flip style helmet for the previous 3 years.
Because of the type of helmet, his helmet radio earpiece volume varied according to the type of riding. The two tone horns/sirens required the radio volume to be louder than would normally be expected, the wind noise passing through this particular style of helmet also increased the wind noise level well above that accepted as a safe level.
He was subsequently suspended from riding and his condition was recorded as an industrial injury.
It was then made a condition of appointment to the motorcycle wing that all riders must wear some form of ear defender, and flip front helmets were withdrawn from service.
The rider who first raised the problem is now retired and is currently in the process of suing his force for his disability which was ignored by health and safety experts within the force.
On the subject of riding without any protective clothing on at all.
One hot summer afternoon, a young female provisional licence holder who rode a 100cc machine decided to nip down to the local shop on her motorcycle for a packet of cigarettes. Rather than change into suitable clothing, she decided to put on her crash helmet as was required by law, but otherwise she was dressed in nothing more than a bikini.
about a mile into her journey, she was travelling at about 50 MPH on a national speed limit road. A car pulled out of a minor road into her path causing her to brake and lose control. She fell from the machine and slid for about 100 feet rolling over and over as she went. On arrival at Hospital it was found that not one part of her body had escaped being either torn, burnt, bruised or otherwise damaged. For three years after the accident she was admitted to Hospital on a regular basis for plastic surgery and skin grafts.
It is probably fair to assume that had she been wearing clothing a little more substantial than her bikini, whilst she may still have been injured, the long lasting damage would have been far less severe.
I attended this accident, and I have to say that the young lady had a body to die for, she was drop dead beautiful prior to the accident (and I don’t mean this in any sexist way, it is just a fact). I still see her from time to time even now and she still bears the scars of that horrible day.
Not surprisingly she has never ridden a motorcycle since, but before the accident she was a bike nut, but was one of those who believed that accidents always happened to other people, she learnt the hard way.
All too often riders will spend large amounts of money on the latest high specification motorcycle and pay scant attention to the equipment they wear. many times a rider may have nothing more than a plastic shell on his head, covering his body with a pair of jeans, trainers and a lightweight jacket.
Too many riders think that the helmet and jacket are the most important items of kit, rather than recognising that head, legs and feet are the parts of the body that receive 90% of all serious injuries, not the upper body.
It should perhaps be remembered that a motorcycle can be repaired or replaced, but your skin is a dam site harder to put right.
The advice should always be,
Buy the best quality at a price you can afford, not because it is a fancy label.
Ensure that it fits correctly.
If it becomes damaged or worn, replace it straight away.
If you have friends or family considering taking up motorcycling, then advise them to consider buying their protective clothing first, and then use the balance of their budget to buy the bike rather than the other way round."