Modes of Transportation – On a Motorcycle

Motorcycle Helmets and Protective Gear

Motorcyclists’ protective gear, helmets and accessories are the only protection they can count on to avoid injuries or reduce their severity in the event of an accident or a fall.

Helmets: mandatory and compliant with standards

Under the Protective Helmets Regulation, every person riding on a motorcycle, a moped or a motorized scooter, an all-terrain vehicle or a snowmobile must wear a protective helmet that complies with one of the following manufacturing standards:

  • DOT FMVSS 218 (United States Department of Transportation)
  • Snell Memorial Foundation
  • ECE Regulation 22 (United Nations Economic Commission for Europe)
  • CAN-3-D230 (Canadian Standards Association)
  • Specifications for Protective Headgear for Vehicular User Z90.1 (American National Standards Institute)
  • British Standards Institute
Useful information

Law enforcement officers may request to examine your helmet

If a law enforcement officer asks to examine your helmet, you must comply with the request.

Compliant helmets

Businesses specialized in helmet sales or rentals must supply helmets that comply with current manufacturing standards.

To ensure maximum safety

Helmets must be equipped with visors. If the helmet does not have a visor, the driver must wear protective goggles.

Furthermore, your protective helmet should:

  • cover your entire head (full-face helmet) to offer the best protection against impacts, poor weather and wind
  • be perfectly adjusted yet comfortable:
    • it should not squeeze your head or forehead, and should be able to move only a few millimetres
    • it should be well ventilated to allow proper airflow and prevent fogging up
  • be constructed from fibreglass fibre, carbon or composite materials
  • allow you to properly see blind spots
  • ideally, be light coloured, have reflective or fluorescent patterns, etc.
Useful information

Do not buy a used helmet!

Buying a used helmet halfway through its lifespan for 50% of the cost of a new helmet is not a bargain! In addition to normal wear, there could be damage that is invisible to the naked eye.

Eye protection: mandatory

Drivers must wear eye protection. If the helmet does not have a visor, the driver must wear protective goggles. This requirement applies when the driver is travelling in a zone where the maximum speed limit is over 50 km/h.

For safe protection, the visor or protective goggles must be:

  • shatterproof
  • designed so as not to restrict your field of vision
  • clean and maintained regularly
  • designed to adapt correctly to the helmet or, in the case of goggles, to the contour of your eyes

While not mandatory, it is highly recommended that passengers wear eye protection as well.

Protective gear

Jackets and pants

For maximum protection, your jacket and pants should, among other things:

  • be well adjusted
  • preferably be made of leather or anti-abrasive material, such as Kevlar or Cordura

Gloves

Your well-adjusted gloves should be made of leather or anti-abrasive material such as Kevlar, and completely cover your hands and wrists.

They should also:

  • be supple so they do not interfere with your manoeuvres
  • have adjustable wrist straps

Watch out for synthetic materials!

Avoid pieces of clothing made of or having a liner made of synthetic materials, because they can burn the skin in a fall. Jeans should also be avoided.

Footwear

It is important that your boots cover your ankles. They should also:

  • be specially designed for riding a motorcycle
  • have grip soles and flat heels
  • be water-repellent
  • be made of leather or other anti-abrasive material and have reinforced tips and soles

Important: Avoid steel-toed boots.

PROTECTIVE ACCESSORIES

JACKETS OR VESTS EQUIPPED WITH A SAFETY AIRBAG SYSTEM

A safety airbag system, worn as a vest over the jacket or directly integrated into the jacket, is a trustworthy way to effectively protect the upper body, especially the cervical, thoracic and lumbar spine, as well as the rib cage and abdomen.

The airbag is equipped with a compressed gas cartridge and a trigger. Once inflated, the airbag absorbs the energy from the impact. The layer of gas absorbs and reduces the impact. Contrary to airbags in vehicles, the motorcycle vest’s airbag remains inflated for around ten seconds and gradually deflates, thereby protecting the motorcyclist in case he or she slides down the road, which may take several seconds.

IMPORTANT!

You should not wear a backpack over an inflatable jacket or vest, as it can stop the system from inflating normally and render your level of protection ineffective.

In addition, you should avoid placing any hard or sharp objects between your body and the inflatable vest or jacket. These objects, such as a cell phone or keys placed in an interior pocket, could injure you when the jacket inflates.

BACK AND CHEST PROTECTORS

Motorcycle gear that protects riders from lacerations and abrasions during a fall may not necessarily prevent fractures. Safety accessories, such as back and chest protectors and protective armour, can ensure additional, optimal protection.

Back and chest protectors worn together effectively protect the thoracic and lumbar spine, rib cage and abdomen, especially in the case of an impact with a fixed structure or a pointed or sharp object that could pierce through protective gear or inflatable vests.

Back protectors are the best protection against spine injuries, and therefore the best way to avoid complete or partial paralysis.

IMPORTANT! The foam protection that comes with your gear is often ineffective. However, more and more equipment manufacturers are incorporating quality back protection in their high-end gear. If your gear came with foam back protection, you should replace it with a higher-quality protective material.