Injuries to motorcyclists lead to permanent disability more often than injuries to car occupants (10 percent versus 6 percent). The use of helmets has decreased the risk of head injuries. Other injuries leading to permanent disability are currently concentrated on the extremities (about 70 percent). Almost all are due to fractures located in joints where knees, elbows, shoulders, and ankles are the modest common spots.
In a study based on 200 motorcycle accidents, it was shown the existing protective clothing had no effect on the incidence of fractures to knees, elbows, and shoulders. Based on that knowledge, a new motorcycle suit was constructed. The main goal was to find a shock-absorbing material to protect knees, elbows, and shoulders in an accident. Confor Foam, a medium-density urethane foam, was tested and found to possess relevant characteristics. The material was tested under experimental conditions and found to be sensitive to dampness and temperature with an optimal shock-absorbing effect of +10° to +30°C. Experimental studies on the protective effect of different kinds of leather indicated the importance of continuous tests of leather when manufacturing motorcycle suits. The protective effects of the safety suit have been studied in real-life accidents during a 2-year period. A preliminary study showed the number of fractures decreased significantly.