Body Armor ?
Date: Monday, January 19 @ 14:17:00 EST
So, what about that Body Armor you just bought?
Well,it's just after Holidays and you're thinking of getting some Body Armor for the upcoming riding season.Yes,so did I! But first, I thought, I would skim thru the websites and see if there are any deals to be had. Did I find some? Sure did, but then I was looking at anything from $25.00 to $3000.00!Wait a minute,why do they vary so much in price?Ah,more expensive is better? Or is it brand names over non-brands that is making
the prices fall all over the place? I decided to dig deeper into this to come up with some answers finding good equipment regardless of the price.
Well,I got started and boy,do I find out Standards and Approved Equipment is what the doctors say.....what is safe and what their level should be.There are two types of testing and, depending on who you ask the question, different types of certification on your equipment. I’ll tell you that according to different sources, it can be from a piece of cardboard that is the best thing on the market, to one of the best that are gel and foam filled inserts, and anything in between.
So,I've used some information from a great web site where you can read about each type of testing and how items are tested, and the companies that produce equipment that meets or exceeds the standards.See link below:
I think we'll start with some of the clothing that we wear while riding, which can be broken into three groups:
• Non-protective--Outer clothing constituting a barrier to the elements:heat, cold, wind and rain.Claims for any other form of protection breach the PPE Regulations,UK law,and industry and riders’ groups’ agreement with the European Commission.
• Non-protective supplied with CE impact protectors--A non-protective outer garment,as above,fitted with,for example,accredited shoulder,elbow,knee and back protectors bearing CE marking.
• Protective--Jackets, trousers,one-piece or two-piece suits, boots and gloves claimed by the manufacturer to be protective.Tested according to the European Standard (or the Cambridge or SATRA standards)and bearing CE marking.Garments must be fitted with CE marked protectors.
Where CE-marked protectors are fitted to a non-protective garment (typically a textile jacket,but equally applicable to leather jackets, trousers and suits),some retailers are misinforming consumers,claiming that the whole garment is approved.It is not,and retailers who provide such information circumvent,for example,the Sale and Supply of Goods Act and the Trade Descriptions Act.
Some such garments feature a “CE” label sewn to the lining,but in fact this refers only to the status of the fitted protectors.This is misleading--do not allow yourself to be misled.
Finally,how has the manufacturer or distributor described the garment in their advertising?What did the clothing salesperson at your local motorcycle shop say about the clothing as he tried to sell it to you?The European Commission’s agreement with industry and riders’ groups is quite clear in this regard, and the following advice has been issued:
“If a manufacturer explicitly claims, or implies in sale literature and /or advertisement, that a garment offers protection because of specific additional features, these additional features shall be qualified as “PPE”. As such, they must comply with the provisions of the PPE Directive.
“The specific features may materialize in e.g. impact protectors for limb and/or back, pads for elbow and /or shoulder and protection from cuts and abrasions (not exclusive listing of examples)”
So now you start to see how confusing it becomes and how they determine the safety levels.To make it a little simpler,again it gets broken down into three levels. Take a Spine Protector,CE BACK PROTECTOR standard is labeled EN1621-2.The test is performed with a 5kg “kerbstone” dropped from one meter to create the test impact force of 50 Joules.The standard contains two levels of energy transmission performance.18kN passes LEVEL 1 "basic" compliance and 9kN passes LEVEL 2 "high performance" compliance.So LEVEL 2 protectors allow 50% less energy to reach the spine. .
4kN is the medically recommended level of transmitted force, but is NOT actually required by the current CE back protector standard EN1621-2 LEVEL 1 or LEVEL 2,and most protectors cannot provide this level at the 50 Joule impact level.
Now you are getting to understand some of the information that is available out there today.It looks like the doctors want more than the requirements are,but then on the other hand it’s better than having nothing at all.Then, on the other hand,there are other doctors that will get into a heated discussion over a direct hit to the spine,or several impacts to the spine during a crash,or down to distribution absorbed and redistributed away from the impact area.
I have to say after reading all that there is out on the web and for the health and well-being of the rider today it makes one wonder just why don’t the standards get attached to the item you are looking at.Marking it is as easy as putting on a tag;attach a supplement to the article that explains how to take care of it, and include instructions for what one should do with the item if it was damaged during an accident. Is there a repair or is the item trash?Seems to me some of the spine protectors might be repairable(but I wouldn't wear it after being damaged in a crash!) while others would be trashed.Many of us will not replace a helmet if it was dropped onto the concrete,and never stop to think if the fiberglass just cracked from that drop.Did we just fracture the integrity of the helmet,if so,we keep wearing it,hope that it never happens,but do go down with a semi-safe helmet?Myself,I try to update my riding gear every two years or less,if required.
I guess what I would like to say is that there is a lot of great safety equipment out on the market--and then there is a lot of junk out on the market,too!If you are thinking about buying body armor,take the time to read the link before you go shopping and try not to end up with something that really isn’t going to protect you.Yes,there are deals out there on great approved and good looking safety items--I have taken the time to read it. Then I found that I,myself,had to return one item that wasn’t up to what had been promised.There was only a foam pad inside that was not a CE approved insert.I would have had to buy another insert that was CE-approved and install it in place of just the foam pack.
From the web site about half of the way down where you see the motorcycle drawing,you will find that they have listed several manufactures.When going to their web sites,you will find all types of safety equipment to textiles that are very safe to use.
Hope this will provide some insight before you're going out to buy. Ride safe & keep the rubber side down!