Cops push mandatory boots and gloves

Lane filtering police bikes

Gloves and boots should be subsidised to encourage riders to wear them, rather than mandatory, says the Victorian Motorcycle Council.

Victorian Police have deployed a fleet of nimble motard patrol bikes for a road blitz on riders and are also calling for boots and gloves to be mandatory for riders in response to the 28 rider deaths so far this year.

Victorian Motorcycle Council spokesman John Eacott says they support the use of all protective equipment.

“But we do not support mandating riding gear,” he says.

“With any mandating you have to have a standard and the background in creating standards in Australia isn’t stellar.

“The whole helmet issue has been a fiasco and any repeat of that would be pretty awful.”

John says he would rather see education and encouragement of riders to wear the appropriate gear.

“That would be a proper use of our $70-a-year MSL (motorcycle safety levy) for starters,” he says.

“Why can’t the TAC (Transport Accident Commission) use the levy to give a discount on gloves, boots and gear to make them more attractive?”

VMC chairman John Eacott against mandatory gloves and boots
John Eacott

He says the Motorcycle Graduated Licensing Scheme now means it costs about $1000 for a rider to obtain a learner permit.

“That means they have that much less money to spend on safety equipment.”

Of the 28 deaths this year, 10 have been unlicensed riders, unregistered bikes or stolen bikes.

John says there may be such a high incidence of unlicensed riders because it is so expensive to get a licence.

“We’ve got the issue where the cost involved can dissuade a motorcyclist from spending money on the right gear and investing in training.”

John says the police calling for mandatory gloves and boots in the wake of the fatalities is a “red herring”.

“None of those riders died from not wearing boots and gloves,” he says.

“In fact, it is well documented that above 59km/h the chances of serious injury or death is 100% for a rider so it doesn’t matter what you are wearing. That statistic is even used by the TAC.”

John says mandating gloves and boots would take years to pass the laws and get the appropriate standard, whereas offering better training and education and a discount on gear would be done overnight.

46 Comments

  1. Safety levies, endless pointless legislation, reducing speed limits, traffic calming…I hate this mindset and the people behind it. I ride motorcycles. I have ridden them for decades. I understand the risks involved and accept them. I CHOOSE to wear the correct gear 99% of the time, but on the very rare occasion that I don’t, I don’t expect some overzealous copper to issue me with a fine “for my own good”. It’s a very slippery slope. This type of pointless nonsense demonstrates the existence of way too many pointless politicians and pen pushers in this country.

  2. All protection should be mandatory as the amount of motorbike riders I have had to scrape off the road is unbelievable.You never know when someone will pull out I wear all my protection all the time boots gloves elbow gaurds knee gaurds helmet and of course a camera to catch it all.

  3. I totally disagree with making this mandatory as it will be the start of a slippery slide to fluro jackets helmets etc.
    The problem is with a small minority of riders, maybe we can encourage them by advising that any injuries on exposed areas i.e. hand, arms and legs will not be covered by any for of health insurance or Medicare.
    Also, it would be of great assistance if the police conformed to this.
    I have seen a number of motorcycle cops riding without gloves, jackets and with flip top helmets open, BMW state that their safety rating does not apply when the lid is up i.e it is not a legal helmet.y do not. When I raised these matters with motorcycle cops usual response is a threat to book me or more often ‘Fuck off’

  4. Saying that gloves and boots shouldn’t be mandated because they will require a standard is silly. The “standard” can be as simple as leather gloves with enclosed fingers and leather boots with enclosed toes and ankle length. That’s it. Sure some will perform better than others but ALL will perform better than exposed skin. Mandatory gloves and boots is a no-brainer, like mandatory helmets (where ironically you get to keep your brain!)

    1. Hi Roger,
      How can police tell whether a glove is real leather, fake or “pleather”?
      What about high-quality textile gloves?
      And what about gloves with a combination of textile and leather? How much leather should they have and where?
      How far up the ankle should boots go? Over the top, or just up to the point of the ankle?
      What about Wellington boots? They go way over the ankle!
      Unfortunately as soon as they make something mandatory, they have to be explicit, otherwise you leave it up to the discretion of a roadside copper who might be pissed off with you!
      Cheers,
      Mark

      1. It doesn’t matter. You can’t legislate for stupid. Plus as we have already seen with very specific standards for helmets or any traffic legislation there always remains grey areas which will be tested in the courts. That’s just life. The point of mandating boots and gloves is that people have to wear something and in MOST cases these will comply with the spirit of the law. This very act will go a very long way to reducing serious injury. I just don’t agree with the premise that trying to do something positive to reduce injury should be put in the too hard basket. Lucky we didn’t do that for helmets hey? The standards and the law for helmets may have been imperfect but there can be zero doubt that overall mandating helmets has made a massive difference for the better.

        1. Roger and Mark
          You are both correct, however if more people made a simple effort to wear simple safety gear this wouldn’t have come up in the first place. And as for the “I’ll wear as little as I want because its my choice” crowd, its only your choice until your injured then it becomes the tax payers problem.
          Aren’t we lucky we are such a well organized and united group supporting and promoting the joys of motorcycling.

  5. rossi 801 duo boots are the go, australian made too, nothing better, just need to get another pair here in Tamworth for they are the best, gloves are a personal preference but rossi 801 duo boots rule.

  6. OK, here are links to the datasets used by the government to quantify their premise that impacts >60kph have serious injury/fatal outcomes. My earlier link was passed on while I was out on the bike, apologies for the pedestrian-centric reference.

    http://www.camerassavelives.vic.gov.au/home/road+trauma/speed+and+road+safety/ has a graph and detail about the chances of survival and risk of death for pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists. This is data used by the government and we are referencing it to make the point. If you disagree then raise your disagreement with them, not us!

    Further references:
    http://www.who.int/violence_injury_prevention/publications/road_traffic/world_report/en/
    http://www.rms.nsw.gov.au/saferroadsnsw/speeding_and_crashes.pdf
    http://acrs.org.au/files/papers/19%20Bellion%20Safer%20Speeds%20for%20Rural%20Undivided%20Highways.pdf
    This one uses US data without helmet use, so has debatable veracity: but is still being referenced by TAC/Spokes:
    http://www.spokes.com.au/the-latest/safety-campaigns/current-campaigns/further-information

    With all this confrontation about my use of the reference to impacts above 59kph, what is YOUR position? Do you want mandatory boots and gloves with associated standards? Or do you want the recommendation of PIMS to use education and encouragement?

    The VMC position is quite clear: we endorse and encourage the wearing of protective clothing at all times, but do not believe that mandating their use is warranted.

    1. Being hit by a car at any speed hurts and can cause permanent injury or death.
      But the choice to wear protective clothing or not should be a choice not accompanied by a fine. I have lost a glove and had a pair of boots loose their soles should I be forced to have a taxi take me to and from a cycle shop so I can ride home? No!
      There will always be idiots and super heroes why should their stupidity result in my getting a fine if I wear the wrong shoes for some reason or forgo my gloves because it’s too hot.

    2. In 2006, as President of the Motorcycle Riders Association of Australia “MRAA” I met with the incoming Minister for Roads & Ports Mr Tim Pallas MP.
      We spoke about the Motorcycle Safety Levy aka “The Bracks Tax” & how if it should be resumed after the sunset clause had expired.
      We were told it would remain to benefit riders.
      However, I suggested to the Minister that a 10% refund should be given to riders upgrading their PPE as an incentive which would encourage & that mandatory measures to make riders cover up would be seen as another measure to remove riders’ rights.
      This was over a decade ago & still the talk feast goes on with the agencies that could have made vast improvements when we put forward this measure MRAA had it right over a decade ago.
      VMC should refer to our documents about this as they hold these files.
      Regards
      Dale Maggs
      Former President MRAA

  7. Vicpol don’t get it. Your policies are not working!!! When this operation fails, what next? Will the fools who make this crap up be held responsible? me thinks not. Go and target your known motor vehicle thieves. When the courts let the thieves off with a slap on the wrist the prosecutors need to grow a pair and appeal the courts decisions.

  8. Since when did the police give a stuff about our injuries
    Helmets, gloves,boots. next jackets and pants.They will
    have you undressing on the side of the road so they can check
    your labels just more harassment .Just ducking round the corner to pick up
    the paper ,no gloves? cop a fine.
    This will kill the scooter market, who in the hell wants to be changing boots
    just to run 5km to work. We must be the only country in the world that
    puts up with this crap.

  9. I have to disagree with John Eacott; not wearing gloves and boots is absolutely crazy, as the hands and feet are probably the most susceptible, after the head, to injury. I would like to see the wearing of gloves and boots made compulsory, as well as having arms and legs covered (tee-shirt and shorts is also crazy).

    As for the 100% certainty of death above 59km per hour, that is clearly ridiculous. I have come off above that speed in the dirt a number of times, as well as on the road in my much younger days. What I didn’t do however, was hit a kerb, a tree, a car on any other stationary object, so to the best of my knowledge and despite the “100% certainty of death”, the news of my death has been grossly exaggerated.

    1. Some of us are good riders and figure that the best way to avoid injury is not
      fall off in the first place. Its bad enough having the authorities dictating to us
      without people like you. Just because you think its a good idea why should it
      be inflicted on the rest of us

      1. No rider is so good that he can control what other road users do, or control dogs, cattle, children etc that are prone to run onto roads.

    2. Graeme, please read the link that I provided: and it is serious injury or death that is factored, not just ‘death’.

      This is a case of using the authorities stats to counter their own argument, not a matter of debating the efficacy of the stats. TAC, VicRoads, VicPol, local councils all rely on these statistics to justify their push for lower speed limits and the ‘Speed Kills’ mantra. It stands to reason that the same stats should be part of the debate into mandatory gloves and boots. Rob has explained earlier the physics behind the study and report.

      Be assured, the VMC completely and unequivocally support the wearing of all protective clothing at all times including boots, gloves, jackets and armour (helmets are compulsory anyway). We do not support the mandating of gloves and boots since this would require a standard to enforce, and creating a standard would both take forever, and historically AS did not create a good standard for helmets so what would they do for other PPE?

      PIMS dealt with this at length and recommended education and encouragement, which we support. Simply using the MSL to subsidise gloves and boots would be a start, and could be achieved in a fraction of the time that creating a standard and then legislating for that standard would take.

      John Eacott
      VMC

      1. John, please see my reply to your original comment below. The pages you have referred to, and misquoted, are all about PEDESTRIAN safety. They have nothing to do about motorcycle safety.

        1. Hi Nigel, I read your rant and despite the MUARC research referencing pedestrians, it’s context is about the human body, which I believe you have one yes? Every rider has one too don’t they?

          The human body impacting an object at over 59km/h and getting a full dose of that impact is going to be seriously damaged. It is the same as falling off a four storey building. Do you think you would survive a four storey fall even if kitted out in top flight onsie race leather?

          So put your outrage aside and comprehend the context of what is being said.

          Failing that there are other similar references which relate to the human body’s fragility, including the one on spokes harking back to 1975 data which was based on actual **motorcycle** fatality data. It has some confounds, but largely says, that gear or no, the faster you go the more damaged you will be if you hit something. Would you like to call bullshit on that basic idea?

          1. Rob, the point of my “rant” (as you incorrectly called it) is that people who quote facts and figures MUST quote them accurately and in context. ESPECIALLY when these people come from organisations that seek or claim to represent the motorcycle community.

            The point is that when people misquote (whether deliberately or accidentally) or quote out of context they both lose credibility and mislead others who may then go on to repeat or rely on what was said. If an “error” is requoted often enough it will become an accepted truth.

            When those people are representing the motorcycle community they can lead politicians to make poor decisions that affect OUR LIVES.

            The original quote was so patently incorrect in needed to be called out before it could be requoted and become an accepted truth. This is not “The Castle” and it is not “about the vibe” – it is about facts and facts are either true or not true.

        2. Nigel, in response to your pandering to semantics comment of the 23rd May, 2016 at 9:43 am, the reference was taken from the DoJ website which includes a graphic referencing “impact” speed and risk of death for vulnerable road users – the graphic references motorcyclists. The information it refers to is repeated in multiple other references. It’s about the HUMAN BODY’s ability to survive at various impact speed. You can argue all you like about the semantics, it doesn’t change the facts.

          The original quote was made in the context of a discussion. It wasn’t a sound bite in isolation, so please continue to pick the wings off this fly if you wish, meanwhile the rest of us will get on with the reality at hand that protective gear has limits and mandating it is NO PANACEA for motorcycle safety.

          Are we done?

          Thanks

          Rob

      2. I didn’t suffer serious injury in those falls above 59km per hour either, so the “100% certainty” is absolute rubbish.

        1. Graeme, clearly you didn’t hit something at that speed. The fact remains, hit a solid object at those speeds and the physics says you are going to be very seriously munted or dead, with the scales of probability tipped well over to “dead”. If you haven’t read my other comments, 59km/h is about the speed you will attain falling off a four storey building. What are the chances of survival falling four storey’s onto the deck below even if kitted out in top quality leather?

  10. But what were they wearing?

    A stolen bike did not kill the rider, nor did not having a licence or the unregistered bike.

    No where in any of the reports on the deaths of the riders has there been mention (to my knowledge) that the cause been a reported as a lack of protective clothing. It has been striking an an immovable object that has caused fatal injuries. That object has been cars, signs, trees, railing and other roadside furniture.

    The reasons for the actual collisions are many and varied whether it is single or multi vehicle.

    Back to the original question. I agree that riders should wear clothing that is protective, but that is always subjective. Is the protection required from the elements – sun, rain, cold etc,; or is it from the event of losing control of the bike and hitting the ground? Once again the quality and design of the clothing comes into question, depending on the requirements of the rider.

    I could continue breaking down different components to the discussion but i think that I have made my point in regards to the personal choice of sensible clothing. Victoria Police have bundled the rider death in with the debate on protective clothing, once again VicPol is typically looking at numbers, not causation, resulting in media hype and public outcry.

    Rider behaviour is the main cause of collisions or incidents, the next is car driver behaviour and then it goes down the list regarding road design, road quality, road side furniture, weather conditions and so forth. Rider behaviour covers a multitude of actions.

    Before the knee-jerk reaction by VicPol takes on unstoppable snowball proportions regarding clothing, there needs to be an extensive investigation into rider deaths examining the cause of the collision, actual injuries suffered and clothing worn. Only then a correlation can be drawn between fatality and protective clothing. I doubt that there ever will be such an in-depth study undertaken to truly reveal the reasons for rider collisions and outcome.

    Protective clothing does not protect against the severe impact that causes death, it protects against other injuries.

    Recently I saw a road safety poster stating “Dress for the slide, not the ride”. It does make sense. You will never see a poster stating “Dress for the high speed impact with a tree caused by the potholes on the corner that caused loss of traction”.

  11. I just read in another paper that Victoria is reducing the speed limit on marginal country roads in an attempt at reducing the road toll that has risen again despite their already low speed limits and covert speed cameras every few metres.
    When will they admit excess speed crashes have little to do with exceeding the limit.
    Most accidents on country roads are due to animals and stupidity. While many people may drive too fast on an unknown stretch of marginal road too fast can often be below even the new proposed limits.
    If a thousand crashes that are contributed to by excess speed occurred where a speed camera could photograph the accident how many would it capture?
    The answer is not 1000 as the revenue junkies would like us to believe!
    If you answered 100 you’d still be too high
    According to most statistical analyses from countries actually interested in saving lives not making money just two percent of excess speed accidents are the result of driving faster than the posted limit. And I’m sure that even fewer of those were the result of speed alone.
    Falling asleep and suicide make up a significant portion of fatalities where the speed was greater than the limit.

  12. Drop a stationary bike on your foot wearing trainers and see if it hurts? 6 weeks of not walking after getting my foot caught under a 125 I threw down the road at about 45km/h whilst wearing name brand “motorcycle boots” that really weren’t that strong (or waterproof) was enough to convince me to stick to boots certified as CE personal protective equipment, specifically Altberg police issue boots as they’re as they’re really strong and shrug off dropping a heavily laden cruiser on them. Cheap boots did make the difference between getting my leg sawn up by the chain and just some soft tissue damage though.

    I’ve shredded a glove in both actually quite minor offs. That would have been a big and painful chunk of skin, bone, tendon and ligament missing from my hand otherwise.

    Whilst I did not escape uninjured, i’d be a proper mess with gnarly scars and probably some functional impairment to my hands and feet if I didn’t have kit on. I like riding motorbikes too much to risk not being able to for the sake of a decent outfit

  13. Seems like bullying to be pulling over motorcyclists constantly to check their licence and vehicle registration don’t you think?

    Given the skill level required just to ride a motorcycle capably i’m sure they’d have better success randomly checking cars – and not just cherry picking the crappy old bombs – but also brand new vehicles.

    Some of us, like me ride every day for my work commute and getting pulled over all the time for ‘random checks” would get old fast just because I choose to ride instead of drive a car.

    1. Oops – i’d just read a similar article elsewhere which included information about a police crackdown in Vic where they plan to pull over motorcyclists non stop to check licence and rego information – the above comment isn’t relevant.

  14. The whole article is generally correct, wearing quality safety gear is a no brainer.
    What irks me is the headline on the news last night regarding this subject ” Police set out to save motorcyclists from themselves” yet another great anti motorcycle headline to discredit motorcyclists to the general public who knows no better.

    1. Just read the page you quoted, I nearly fell off the bog and died if not for the seat belt. Talk about boldfaced lies! The road toll will continue to clime until they tell the truth. If they are so stupid as to think more of the same will do any better they are criminally culpable for negligent homicide. If they know that what they are doing is wrong and continue to do it in the name of revenue then it is first degree murder and conspiracy to commit murder.
      If you read the bs from Monash with the help of a double talk interpreter you will learn that they actually say the excess speed that is a contributing factor occurs primarily below the posted limit. The wipe off five bs is a poor attempt to mitigate this fact.

  15. Politics, the act of doing nothing for no one (but yourself and or your mates) while appearing to do something.
    Safety policy, the act of revenue raising while appearing to do something that is either ineffectual or dangerous, but sounds good to the morons who think you are doing something.
    I could hear the cash register cahching from a mile off when I read this. Another thing they can fine us for and claim it’s for our own good.

  16. I’m sorry but I’m calling bullshit on this quote :

    “In fact, it is well documented that above 59km/h the chances of serious injury or death is 100% for a rider so it doesn’t matter what you are wearing. ”

    Ignoring the fact that 78.2% of all statistics are made up, either he was misquoted or the author does not understand statistics. A 100% chance means total certainty of the event happening without exception and I do not believe that every single crash at 60kmh results in death or serious injury. Every one without exception? No. Did every bike racer die the first time they crashed? Clearly not.

    Secondly, wearing proper safety gear has been proven to reduce the severity of injuries. So to say you will die regardless of what you are wearing is ridiculous and fosters a dangerous attitude. By this logic we can do away with helmets because they will be ineffectual above 59kmh!

        1. The page referred to http://www.camerassavelives.vic.gov.au/home/road+trauma/speed+and+road+safety/
          quotes a Monash University study (but does not link to it) titled “DEVELOPMENT OF THE VISIONARY RESEARCH MODEL APPLICATION TO THE CAR/PEDESTRIAN CONFLICT”. The document can be found here http://www.monash.edu/__data/assets/pdf_file/0006/216645/muarc229.pdf

          The entire research paper has nothing to do with motorcycles. It is about pedestrian safety!

          http://www.camerassavelives.vic.gov.au/home/road+trauma/speed+and+road+safety/ is a poorly worded and selectively edited piece of propaganda designed to prove a political point.

          What it is not is a discussion on the causes of, and means of preventing, motorcycle injuries.

          1. I have found the full quote that John was referring to. It is on page 25, fifth paragraph and reads …”At impact speeds of about 30 km/h, the risk of death to a pedestrian is around 10%. This risk climbs rapidly to around 25% at 40 km/h, 85% at 50 km/h and, by 55 km/h, the risk of death has reached 100%. “…

            …” the risk of death to a pedestrian”…

            …” to a pedestrian”…

            Pedestrians are basically stationary and standing upright when hit by a car and so they absorb all of the impact forces of the collision. To take this quote and then say that it applies to motorcyclists ALL OF THE TIME is patently false and misleading.

    1. About 4 years ago I fell off on the highway while doing 100 km/h. Does that mean I’ve been dead all this time sime since then? I feel fine, but then again I might not be in a fit state to judge. I had so much more I still wanted to do as well.

      1. Geoff, did you strike or impact an object at the full 100km/h or was it more of a glancing blow with the road and a slide?

        Do you know why the safe systems philosophy is all about the magical 30km/h? It’s because the human body will most likely survive an impact at 30km/h. As the impact speed climbs however, the probability of fatality and serious injury rises. It’s not bogus or bullshit. It’s physics. Above 59km/h there is sufficient energy in any direct to cause serious life threatening trauma or death.

        Good motorcycle protective gear isn’t going to stop the fatal level impact energies from causing deep trauma or breaking bones. It’s only a couple of millimetres of leather with composite rubber and plastic armour in strategic locations. It’s not a crumple zone, or occupancy survival cell.

        Good gear will save you from injury in annoying drops and from serious road rash and its complications in serious crashes. That alone will mean a shorter hospital stay if you survive the crash and quicker recovery as a result. That right there is an excellent reasons to advocate for the wearing of gear.

        1. I think a certain amount of the “volvo’ mentality goes with the safety gear.
          from my own observations the greater amount of gear [racing leathers ]etc
          the faster the speed and more inept the behaviour

    2. That is true. I know personally of two people that have crashed well over 60km/h and walked away. Well, may have had a broken bone or two, but didn’t end in a fatality.

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