Rating system targets motorcycle safety

A world-first star-rating system developed by Deakin University researchers is set to improve motorcyclist safety and comfort across Australia and New Zealand.

The Motorcycle Clothing Assessment Program (MotoCAP) will provide reliable, scientifically-based information to motorcylists about the safety and comfort of specific items and brands of clothing. The launch of the program was announced on 17 September by the NSW Minister for Roads, Maritime and Freight, the Hon Melinda Pavey MP.

“The Motorcycle Clothing Assessment Program aims to give the motorcycle community more information when making choices about the clothing they wear while riding,” Mrs Pavey said.

Road safety organisations around Australia and New Zealand joined forces to establish the rating program and improve safety for motorcyclists. Clothing is a key factor in accident outcomes for motorcyclists, with the transport mode having a much poorer safety record than motor vehicles. In Victoria alone, in the past 10 years, more than 10,000 riders and pillions have been seriously injured on Victorian roads. This represents 17 per cent of hospitalised vehicle accident claims, yet motorcycles represent only four per cent of registered vehicles. In some states of Australia the hospitalisation rate is as high as 25 per cent.

“Motorcycle and scooter riders are susceptible to significant injury when involved in a crash and we know that wearing the right gear when riding, including jackets, trousers, gloves and footwear, can reduce the risk and severity of crash-related injuries,” said Mr Matt Hanton, Road Safety Communications Manager at the Motor Accident Commission in South Australia.

MotoCAP will give clothing two separate star ratings – one for protection and one for comfort.

The program is the culmination of over a decade of effort from a number of collaborators, including researchers at Deakin’s Institute for Frontier Materials (IFM), led by Senior Research Fellows Dr Liz de Rome (Motorcycle Safety) and Dr Christopher Hurren (Fibre Science and Technology).

The Deakin team has developed a rigorous protocol for random selection and testing of clothing from the market to measure motorcyclist safety and comfort.

“We’re hoping that MotoCAP will not only benefit Australians, but that it will be taken up internationally within three to five years,” said Dr Hurren.

[testimonial_text]Many of the clothing brands used in Australia are also used by motorcyclists around the world. Like the improvements brought about by the Australasian New Car Assessment Program (ANCAP) star ratings introduced 25 years ago, we expect to see long-term improvements in motorcycle clothing safety and comfort.[/testimonial_text]
[testimonial_picture name=”Dr Christopher Hurren” details=”Deakin Institute for Frontier Materials (IFM)”]

Deakin will initially oversee the project for three years, conducting clothing testing on equipment purchased and purpose-built by the IFM for textiles research.

The protection star rating considers performance in abrasion resistance, seam strength and impact protection, while the comfort rating is based on how comfortable the clothing is when it is worn in the Australian climate. Ten leather jackets and ten pairs of denim pants have been tested in the initial stages, with more clothing to follow as the year progresses. In the early stages of the program there will not be many five-star garments. However, wearing a one or two-star garment is better than riding unprotected.
MotoCAP is run by a consortium of government agencies, private organisations and motorcycle stakeholders. Current members are:

  • Transport for NSW
  • State Insurance Regulatory Authority (SIRA)
  • VicRoads
  • Transport Accident Commission (TAC)
  • Royal Automobile Club of Victoria (RACV)
  • Department of Transport and Main Roads (TMR)
  • Motor Accident Insurance Commission (MAIC)
  • Lifetime Support Authority (LSA)
  • Motor Accident Commission of South Australia (MAC)
  • Western Australian Police: Road Safety Commission
  • Department of State Growth
  • Insurance Australia Group (IAG)
  • Australian Motorcycle Council
  • Accident Compensation Corporation (ACC)

For more information on MotoCAP ratings visit:

Published by Deakin Research on 18 September 2018

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