Project: Leg Protection for Motorcyclists

Reference: S101B/VD

Last update: 12/12/2003 11:59:35


The project objective is to assertain the benefits of leg protection for motorcyclists in an accident.


A leg protection device, designed to protect the rider's legs in various impact configurations, has been developed at TRL and extensively tested on the Kawasaki GPZ 500S motorcycle. Evaluation of the leg protection has previously been performed. However, the recent introduction of an ISO standard for the testing and analysis of rider protection devices fitted to motorcycles (ISO, 1996), has prompted further testing and analysis of the leg protection device.


TRL Limited
Crowthorne House, Nine Mile Ride, Wokingham, Berkshire, RG40 3GA
+44 (0)1344 773131

Contract details

Cost to the Department: £2,782,200.00

Actual start date: 01 March 1992

Actual completion date: 31 December 1997


Paper. Leg Protection for Motorcyclists. ESV conference Melbourne 1996
Author: TRL Ltd
Publication date: 01/03/1996
Source: Brian Chinn at TRL 01344 770613, or Contact

Summary of results

  1. Two sets of paired tests (with and without leg protection), were completed according to the ISO draft standard. The test configurations involved the motorcycle, travelling at 30 mile/h, impacting the front door of a stationary car at 90 degrees and impacting the front wing at zero degrees (offset front). The results from these tests are reported here, along with results from previous test programmes for comparison. The impact configurations chosen, represent the type of accident where high levels of injury to the riders head and legs are most common (EEVC, 1993).

    The leg protection device reduced the Head Injury Criteria (HIC) value substantially in all except one test comparison against a standard machine. In this test pair the HIC was very low for both cases. In the ISO tests at 90 into the side of a Ford Mondeo the head injury potential, measured using GAMBIT (the ISO criterion) showed a considerable reduction when leg protection was fitted.

    Leg injury measures were also reduced when using the leg protection device, except in one case, 90 side impact test, where the OPAT dummy with injury indicating legs was used. However, an overall assessment using the ISO injury cost calculation for the four ISO tests (two pairs) shows that the potential injury costs were reduced by 42 % when leg protection was fitted. This is a clear and encouraging indication of the likely benefits of leg protection. It has also been found that the neck injury level measures, which are not included in the ISO cost calculation were dramatically reduced when the motorcycle was fitted with leg protection.