A Complete Guide to
PPE Standards


A – Helmets

It became a legal requirement to wear a crash helmet in 1973 when riding a motorcycle on the road, but it’s not compulsory to wear any other form of protective clothing whilst riding a motorcycle.

Interestingly, a crash helmet is not regarded as personal protective equipment (PPE) and does not fall under the PPE Directive or Regulation.

All helmets sold in the UK must comply with at least 1 of these:

  • British Standard BS 6658:1985 and carry the MOTOPPE (British Standards Institution) Kitemark
  • UNECE Regulation 22.06, replacing 22.05
  • any standard accepted by a member of the European Economic Area which offers a level of safety and protection equivalent to BS 6658:1985 and carry a mark equivalent to the MOTOPPE Kitemark


B – Earplugs (EN 352-2:2002)

There is a greater awareness of hearing damage from wind noise, many riders now wear ear plugs but whilst these plugs fall under the PPE directive, they are not specific to motorcycling.

C – Visors and goggles (EN 1938:2010)

Not specific to motorcycling but used by riders.  Visors or goggles must comply with either:

  • a British Standard and displays a MOTOPPE Kitemark
  • a European standard which offers a level of safety and protection at least equivalent to the British Standard and carries a mark equivalent to the MOTOPPE Kitemark (ECE 22-05)


D – Stone shields (EN 14021:2003)

Designed to protect off road riders torso from stones and small debris that have been kicked up by the tyres, either from their own motorcycle or from one that they are following.  A stone shield may not protect against the same mechanical impacts a chest protector may provide so there is a differentiation between the two.

E  – Body Armour (EN 1621 (1-4)

Body armour intended to be incorporated into a riders clothing (suit, jacket or trousers) is subject to the EN 1621 (1-4) range of standards.

Many of these standards refer to two levels of protection.

  • lower level of protection – that does not affect the ergonomics of the product allowing riders good movement in many cases
  • higher level of protection – that does affect the ergonomics as a compromise of added protection. However, anything that is considered too stiff or too heavy is not acceptable

(Clicking on any of the below, the viewer will be taken to the section within the Body Armour Standard)

1 – Back Protector (EN 1621-2:2014)

This standard accommodates three different types of back protector, which are offered to encourage the adoption of certified protection within the varied disciplines of motorcycling and the type of rider. These are ‘full back’, ‘central back’ and ‘lower back’ (lumbar) protectors.

2 – Shoulder Protectors (EN 1621-1:2012)

The lower the force that a protector transmits, the more protective a product is considered to be.

3 – Elbow Protectors (EN 1621-1:2012)

The lower the force that a protector transmits, the more protective a product is considered to be.

4 – Hip Protectors (EN 1621-1:2012)

The lower the force that a protector transmits, the more protective a product is considered to be.

5- Knee Protectors (EN 1621-1:2012)

The lower the force that a protector transmits, the more protective a product is considered to be.

6 – Chest Protector (EN1621-3:2015)

Devices designed to protect the chest from mechanical impacts

7 – Inflatable body-worn Airbags (EN 1621-4:2013)

Inflatable protectors can be worn over your clothing or incorporated into your clothing and are not visible. Activation occurs with from a strap that is attached to the motorcycle, in an accident the strap is pulled tight and activates the inflation. Other systems use sensors to determine whether an accident is occurring and activate accordingly.


F – Gloves (EN 13594:2015)

Motorcyclists’ gloves are intended to provide some protection to the hands and the wrists in accident. The PPE Regulation requires that design aspects of the gloves to be assessed to ensure that adequate protection is provided and that no additional hazards are being introduced operating the controls and switches.

The original version of this standard was first published in 2002, and had a scope limited to professional use. However, the 2015 revision removed this restriction and now applies to both professional and non-professional riders.  In France, it’s already a legal requirement to wear CE-approved gloves.

G –Footwear (EN 13634:2017)

Motorcycle boots are tested and approved to the CE standard EN 13634.  Boots, especially those for sport riding, include reinforcement and plastic caps on the ankle and toe areas.

Mandatory tests and six optional tests, there will be a motorcycle icon on the label, the designation of the test they’ve passed and then a series of up to four numbers. The numbers will be either a “1” for a level 1 pass or a “2” for a level 2 pass, which is superior.


H – Protective Clothing (EN 17092:2020 (1-6))

EN 17092:2020 was approved and published in March 2020

The UK and Europe currently leads the world in the setting of safety standards for motorcyclists’ protective clothing, and there is a technical committee that is devoted to this specialised work.   All bike clothing placed on the market will now be deemed PPE. You do not have to buy it, and if things stay as they are you won’t be forced to buy certified motorcycle gear.

These days though, most sensible bikers will ask about the safety, and generally buy gear based on performance level and class achieved.

Protective clothing standard, EN17092, has five test levels defined based on performance, covering three testing zones.

Protective clothing performance levels :


EN 17092-2

The highest level of protection specified by the standard. The highest level of protection with which to take on the highest level of risk. Garments classified as such offer maximum protection, but are also heavier and less comfortable to use.


EN 17092-3

These garments are expected to have lower ergonomic and weight penalties than class AAA. More suited to touring gear. The second highest level of protection with which to take on the wide range of risks that motorcycle riding presents.


EN 17092-4

Class A garments are expected to have the least ergonomic and weight penalties. Also, for Urban riding but including Impact Protectors. Is the third highest level of protection.  Garments are lighter and more comfortable to wear on a daily basis.


EN 17092-5

Where the level of protection against abrasion is equivalent to Class A, but without the impact protectors. Jeans without protection fall into this class for example.


EN 17092-6

Class C garments are designed to offer supplemental impact protection only. In the least protective class, we find so-called “protection containers” that resist impact but not abrasion.

Protective Clothing – Testing Zones

(EN 17092:2020 (1-6))

Samples are taken from each zone to be tested for seam strength and abrasion resistance, for instance. A company using the same materials and construction methods in two or more jackets, for example, could meet approval with one test, as long as the tested parts are put together in the tested way within the tested zones, and subsequent garments are added to the certificate. Once these materials and construction methods are approved, they cannot be changed, and that includes the specific supplier of the material.


Zone 1

Has the highest level of injury risk. These areas need impact protectors and highly abrasion-resistant material. The European standards for jackets and pants require a minimum of 4 seconds abrasion resistance: that is 4 seconds of sliding across the road surface before your gear wears through.


Zone 2

Also has a high injury risk and needs highly abrasion-resistant material but no impact protectors. Multiple layers are more likely to be effective than a single one.


Zone 3:

Has a lower injury risk and requires only moderate abrasion-resistant material


Protectors Care Guidelines


How to look after your body armour


It is a legal requirement that you receive a User information booklet with the gear you purchase, this will contain care guidelines.


Cleaning –

·      remove carefully each time you wash your garment

·      inspect for any tears

·      wipe clean with a damp cloth


Storage –

·      Protectors should be stored at room temperature

·      Keep in a ventilated dry place

·      Keep out of direct sunlight

·      It is strongly advised that you do not store protectors under heavy objects or

·      in extreme temperatures

·      Never fold your Protectors


Handling and packaging –

·      Care should be taken to ensure the shape of Protectors is always retained

·      Protectors should not be folded, bent, squashed, stretched, twisted or distorted other than during the integration of the products into a pocket.