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Protectors: The "crumple zone" for bikers
Protectors are rather like a car's "crumple zones" in that they are designed to absorb the energy of an impact.
No professional racer would take to the race track without protectors. And it's even more important for newcomers to biking. So when you take your practical riding test, you will be expected to have at least a basic set of protectors:
- Your jacket must have shoulder and elbow protectors, and your trousers require at least knee protectors. Hip protectors are also highly recommended and can be retrofitted to many trousers.
- A back protector is also obligatory for the riding test. It can either be inserted into a pocket in the jacket lining or worn separately under your jacket.
- Back protector inserts are very reasonably priced and easy to use, but they are significantly shorter than your spine, which they are designed to protect.
- Separate back protectors are considerably longer and provide protection from neck to tailbone. They are also less likely to slip in the event of an accident.
Important: Protectors must be tested and approved in accordance with the EN 1621-1 standard (for joint protectors) or EN 1621-2 (for back protectors).
The alternative to integrated protectors: a protector shirt worn under your jacket.
The regulations leave it largely up to us bikers how we choose to protect ourselves against cold, wet and the possible consequences of an accident. The main exception is Paragraph 21a of the German Road Traffic Regulations (StVO), which states that we must "wear a suitable protective helmet while riding on public roads".
It is a slightly different situation when you take your practical motorcycle test. Appendix 7 of the Driving Licence Regulations (FeV) states: "Candidates taking class A, A1, A2 and AM tests must wear suitable protective motorcycle clothing, comprising a properly fitting motorcycle helmet, motorcycle gloves, a close-fitting motorcycle jacket, a back protector (if not integrated into the motorcycle jacket), motorcycle trousers, and motorcycle boots with adequate ankle protection."
In the following pages we show you what exactly constitutes a suitable protective helmet and what motorcycle gear approved for taking your practical test actually looks like.