Safety Standards for Gear
When choosing motorcycle clothing and helmets, make sure everything conforms to accepted safety standards.
Standards in New Zealand
There’s no point a country of New Zealand’s size trying to have its own standards for motorcycle safety gear. Little is produced here, with most coming from big international brand names that are comprehensively tested in other markets.New Zealand uses a mix of international standards, mostly from the European Union, the USA and Australia.
New Zealand endorses three international standards for motorcycle helmets: US Snell (M 2000), European (ECE 22.05) and Australian (AS 1698).
Make sure your helmet meets at least one of these standards. There’s also a UK Government initiative called SHARP , the Safety Helmet Assessment and Rating Programme, and British and Japanese standards that can involve approval for motorcycle racing (e.g. ACU Gold). It’s worth taking things like this into account but make sure the helmet you buy has Snell, ECE or AS approval.
Jackets, pants and leathers
There is no recognised standard in New Zealand for these garments, and international standards are a muddle. In theory, the European Standard for “protective” motorcycle clothing is EN 13595 Parts 1-4. In practice, garments so-labeled are rare.
Many manufacturers don’t bother with EN 13595 certification. They’ll fit CE approved armour and label it as such. Buyers might think the whole thing is CE certified but it’s not.
That doesn’t mean it’s not good, just that it’s not certified. If you do find EN 13595 certified clothing, great. Otherwise, use our guidelines on choosing gear, favour well-known brands and make sure what you buy includes CE approved impact protection.
Look for standard EN 1621 displayed on slip-in armour for shoulders, elbows and knees. There are three levels of protection. Level 3 (Extreme Protection) absorbs twice the energy of Level 1 (Basic) before transferring the same force.Back protectors should be labeled EN 1621-2. There are only two levels under this standard, and the maximum force transferred is approximately half that of joint protectors. Standards here, though, are not the whole story.Although slip-in back protectors might pass the impact test they are nowhere near as effective as the ones you wear separately, like a vest. These go right around the back of your rib cage and some shield your coccyx.Although chest protectors have been part of Motocross kit for years, they’ve only recently appeared for road and track riders. A standard similar to the EN 1621 test should emerge.
Gloves and boots
Gloves should meet CE standard EN 13594, boots should be EN 13634.