Hands are often the first thing to sustain impact during a motorcycle accident and must be fully protected with motorcycle gloves that cover the fingers, palms, back of the hands and wrists. It is also advisable to have a significant overlap between the gloves and jacket, ensuring that no area of skin is exposed and to prevent the ingress of rain and wind.
In the event of an accident, it is vital for gloves to stay in place. If gloves can be easily pulled off, they would likely not stay-on. Wrist retention straps are therefore an essential feature of any motorcycle glove. Thereafter, the next essential motorcycle glove feature is its ability to resist abrasion. In respect of abrasion-resistance, some motorcyclists consider leather to be a minimum standard. Further abrasion-resistance can be achieved through design of stitching and with the addition of armour and materials such as Kevlar.
In respect of armour, whilst most gloves include armour protection for the fingers and knuckles, it is considered more important to protect the scaphoid bone (on the palm), as this is often fractured through riders making contact with the road using as outstretched hand.
Operating the controls
With layers, armour and other features, it is critical to ensure that motorcycle gloves do not restrict operation of a motorcycles controls. There is a balance to strike between maximum protection and retention of maximum control, so riders should ensure that their gloves do not overly restrict movement of the hands.
Whilst summer gloves tend to be more light weight in their design, they must still resist abrasion and carry adequate armour. During the winter, however, there are the added complications of temperature extremes and water ingress. Cold, wet hands can be a significant distraction and safety risk. It is therefore imperative for winter gloves to have good thermal and weather resistant qualities, along with the already mentioned feature of ‘cuff’s that extend beyond the jacket sleeves.
A critical test for motorcycle gloves is that they must be comfortable to wear. They cannot be too tight, too restrictive and should not chafe against the skin. A poorly fitted, uncomfortable pair of motorcycle gloves can cause misery and a distraction that increases motorcycle safety risk. Motorcyclists should take their time to choose a comfortable, functional pair of gloves that fulfils the above advice.
CE LABELLING The European Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) Directive 1989, requires any clothing or personal equipment sold to provide protection from injury, for example motorcycle clothing, to comply with the relevant European Standard. To comply, the gear has to be independently tested and certified. The manufacturer is then issued with a CE (Conformité Européenne) label which shows that the motorcycle clothing conforms to the relevant European standard. The clothing or gear must carry a permanently attached CE label with the number of the Standard.
Boots – CE EN 13634
Motorcycle jackets, trousers and suits – CE EN 13595
Impact protectors and body armour – CE EN 1621
Helmets (sold in the UK) – British Standard 6658: 1985 or ECE Regulation 22.05
'Think' essential guide
Do some research online or ask fellow bikers what gear they’d recommend. Remember we’re all different shapes and sizes, so what fits someone like a glove may not be good for you. Whether it’s a new pair of gloves, boots or full leathers, trying them on when on a bike is very important so you can see if they get in the way at all. Don’t leave yourself exposed to the elements or to injury. Make sure every part of you is covered up as seamlessly as possible. Remember if something is even slightly uncomfortable, it could cause chafing over a long journey and end up becoming a dangerous distraction from the road. Bear in mind wearing bright and fluorescent colours during the day and reflective elements in the dark can help improve your chances of being seen by others.