Do I really need to wear a bike jacket if I'm doing tops of 30mph?

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Do I really need to wear a bike jacket if I'm doing tops of 30mph?

Hello all, I appreciate this is perhaps a stupid sounding title but let me explain.

I use my bike (WeeStrom) for a multitude of biking fun.  Often many a trip down the motorway and I always wear proper protective gear all over.

But there have been many times where I've wanted to pop to town (less than a couple of miles) on my bike on 30mph roads (that you can't or don't speed on).  The prospect of putting on my biking jacket is getting to be a real turn off for these journeys.

My thinking is if I was going on my mountain bike reaching the same speed (in some sections) I wouldn't have a biking jacket on, nor would I if I was some dozy chick on a vespa.

So why do I feel compelled to wear my armoured jacket when on the WeeStrom?  

I'm toying with not wearing any armoured jacket next trip (I'd of course have biking gloves, and helmet).  My thinking is that it is most likely that even if I did come off, I could or would slow the bike (and hopefully me with it ) down to below 30 before I came off, so wouldn't expect the gravel rash to be too severe.  

I guess I run a greater risk of impact damage on elbows and spine without armour.  Maybe I should compromise with those lightweight armour suit things (that has a back, elbw and shoulder armour on a mesh T-Shirt).

 I'm based in Sydney, so the heat from the jacket is a real distraction at these sort of speeds (insufficient speed to generate air flowing enough to cool down).

 Any thoughts or experiences that would help me make up my mind?

Thanks for your time.

I can see where you're coming from here, but there are two things that worry me about your reasoning.  Firstly

David Dickinson wrote (see)

My thinking is if I was going on my mountain bike reaching the same speed (in some sections) I wouldn't have a biking jacket on, nor would I if I was some dozy chick on a vespa.

I don't want to sound like your Mum, but just because someone else does something doesn't make it right.  Also cyclists and scooter riders are not immune to being killed or seriously injured, so I don't see how the above comparison makes it any safer for you IYSWIM.Secondly

David Dickinson wrote (see)

My thinking is that it is most likely that even if I did come off, I could or would slow the bike (and hopefully me with it ) down to below 30 before I came off, so wouldn't expect the gravel rash to be too severe.  

I don't see that you can plan how or when an accident would be taking place.  Also, the speed thing might be a bit of a red herring.  On Sunday I met a nice chap who's recently returned to biking after a long spell in hospital - he was travelling at very low speed when he was squashed up a stone wall by someone in a van.  Bad things can still happen at low speed.All that said, you might not have any accidents at all, then the jacket won't have been necessary.  It's just the luck of the draw, isn't it? That probably doesn't help at all, does it?  Sorry.

Re gravel rash...

I fell of twice on the same stretch of road, some twenty years apart. In both cases I was wearing denims and in the first a leather jacket and in the second a fabric jacket with body armour.

In the first case, the trousers came apart from waistband to below the knee and I had nasty grazes from hip down my thigh, a chunk of skin torn out from my knee area (permanent scarring), and chipped the bone in my hip which has left a lump on it.

In the second, the trousers held up with nothing more than a bit of "bleaching" where the material had slid.

I didn't have a mark on me above the waist in either case.

FWIW, I recall an article in a US mage about an American guy who jumped on a moped to ride to the shops wearing swimming shorts and helmet. He fell off, knocked himself out, the bike slid on top of his leg and ground his skin off down to the bone, then the exhaust burned him across his thigh. He died from blood poisoning in hospital some days later.

My own choice would be a lightweight, vented jacket/trousers - you can get "air" jackets with plenty of mesh and vents.

And incidentally as well as the odd +90F day here in the UK and Europe, I've ridden in 115F-plus temps in the States wearing an Aerostich... hot, yes... but bearable, unlike the two piece Nankai leathers I used to wear. The biggest problem with the 'Stich was when I got off the bike!

Answer to your thread title?  No of course not.  If you don't fall off you won't have a problem.If you are paranoid I'd rather suggest that you make a compromise.  Get yourself a 'stout' jacket and wear that for your short, round town, trips.

At any speed skin dissapears at a rate of about 1mm per metre when it hits tarmac ,try running as fast as you can ,lets say 8mph ,then fall over and tell me it wont hurt!!!!! at 30 mph you will travel at least 5 metres before you stop thats 5mm of skin  .down to the bone on hips knees and elbows.. of course this does'nt count if your a fat bastard

Blue Edge (not verified)

You could always get some cheap CE armour bits and velcro them with a glue into the needed areas or a cheap denim jacket or something mate.I did this for just such purposes, those short jaunts down the high street ( I don't drive 4 wheels unless towing a trailer with my bikes on it for an even).I can appreciate the heat issue in Oz mate (you lucky bugger) but you someday I reckon you'd regret not wearing some form of padding to go to the shops.All it takes, as we all know, is an idiot to have you off, or even for you to loose concentration, and you've got months, m o n t h s count 'em!!!!, of pain, misery, stiffness, and scarring, for what? A bottle of wine, or packet of smokes?And you'd feel even more pi$$ed off especialy since all of us had recommended you to try something else other than the t-shirt and shorts kit lol

The fact that you're asking the question says to me you know you're safer wearing proper gear.I never ask about wearing shorts and T-shirt.Any way if it's less than 2 miles WALK ya lazy git!

An all mesh jacket would be my first choice if I lived somewhere hot enough to use one. My fave jacket is one of those multi layered jobs, with the liners out the mesh panels in it really help. 'Course I appreciate that Australians tend to be a bit more macho than Brits, so if that looks too ghey maybe you might consider a denim number with kevlar inserts? Draggin' are Australian, aren't they? Hth

You dont dress to ride you dress to crash

photoman wrote (see)

You dont dress to ride you dress to crash

You "go out to crash"??Please post your route next time you're out.

Hey guys, thanks so much for your point of view... I'm loving the  "You dont dress to ride you dress to crash" quote by photoman... Right, I'm off to look at armour on mesh shirts....

Mate in Adelaide swears by his armoured mesh jacket - he uses it to commute into work (Adelaide Hills down into town).  Probably be your best bet.

typical cockroach cant think to save your own hide.i think you shuold try what baldy brent said and then show us the pics.

FJSRiDER. wrote (see)

Answer to your thread title?  No of course not.  If you don't fall off you won't have a problem.If you are paranoid I'd rather suggest that you make a compromise.  Get yourself a 'stout' jacket and wear that for your short, round town, trips.

You cannot account fully for other road-users errors.Might be helpful to him if you defined 'stout jacket'. Nylon bomber jackets won't help a great deal in a fall/slide.-edit-  A jacket i'd wear would have to be 2mm leather or if its textile - cordura, it won't shred in a slide, yes you're doing no more than 30mph, but thats plenty to get hurt. Designer leather jackets are no substitute, they are typically thin and single stitched meaning the panels are easily pulled apart over double or even triple stitched. This may sound like you'd end up paying a fortune for a jacket that meets these few points, but it's not the case- £100 could protect you nicely but not seem excessive on the armour side of things. Personnaly (and it is just that-> my opinion!) I feel wearing armour does not make me feel invincible and take unnecessary risks, but it's gear I wear and forget. It is there just in case. Why risk the horrendous injuries? -edit-

JohnBob wrote (see)

You cannot account fully for other road-users errors.

Indeed it does depend on just how bad a rider you are. 

JohnBob wrote (see)

Might be helpful to him if you defined 'stout jacket'. Nylon bomber jackets won't help a great deal in a fall/slide. 

 A USAF 'Alpha MA1' bomber jacket 'protected' me fine when I came off a Gold Wing at urban speeds back in the '80's.  Also I slid and rolled down a road, through a hedge and into a field in a Barbour waxed cotton jacket after centre punching some stupid dog at 60-70 on an Elsie and walked away from that one too.  Both jackets were trashed and I was bruised.  In the second incident I grazed my elbow too.  Of course the novice, paranoid and scared riders will need to wear 'more protection' to save them from themselves.

FJSRiDER. wrote (see)

JohnBob wrote (see)

You cannot account fully for other road-users errors.

Indeed it does depend on just how bad a rider you are. 

JohnBob wrote (see)

Might be helpful to him if you defined 'stout jacket'. Nylon bomber jackets won't help a great deal in a fall/slide. 

 A USAF 'Alpha MA1' bomber jacket 'protected' me fine when I came off a Gold Wing at urban speeds back in the '80's.  Also I slid and rolled down a road, through a hedge and into a field in a Barbour waxed cotton jacket after centre punching some stupid dog at 60-70 on an Elsie and walked away from that one too.  Both jackets were trashed and I was bruised.  In the second incident I grazed my elbow too.  Of course the novice, paranoid and scared riders will need to wear 'more protection' to save them from themselves.

Is it really necessary to re-prove how much of a troll you are by slotting insults into everysingle post you make?If it makes you feel like a man then carry on. It's laughable really, considering what you're like in real life.

I'm not having a go FJS, but why the utter contempt for new or cautious riders? Preparing for the worst case doesn't necessarily make it more likely. (You don't have to repeat the risk compensation argument, like I said, I'm curious, not looking for debate. )

FJSRiDER. wrote (see)

 A USAF 'Alpha MA1' bomber jacket 'protected' me fine when I came off a Gold Wing at urban speeds back in the '80's.  Also I slid and rolled down a road, through a hedge and into a field in a Barbour waxed cotton jacket after centre punching some stupid dog at 60-70 on an Elsie and walked away from that one too.  Both jackets were trashed and I was bruised.  In the second incident I grazed my elbow too.  Of course the novice, paranoid and scared riders will need to wear 'more protection' to save them from themselves.

Yes, quite. More luck than judgement then.

Flo wrote (see)

I'm not having a go FJS, but why the utter contempt for new or cautious riders? Preparing for the worst case doesn't necessarily make it more likely. (You don't have to repeat the risk compensation argument, like I said, I'm curious, not looking for debate. )

What 'contempt'?  My remark relates to those who ride like a novice, are paranoid or scared who will be likely to choose a jacket that has far more 'protection' built in than necessary to ride at '30mph tops' (that is the title to this thread, in case you have forgotten) What do you really think will happen if you have an incident at no more than 30?  Sure dressing up like a paranoid, scared novice could save you a little gravel rash, but so what?  I really believe that people should 'pay' for their mistakes and a few scabs for a week or so are a small price to pay.  Who knows, they might even learn something!

Nothing more than gravel rash at 30mph?  How well do you think you'll bounce at that speed, especially if it's combined with something moving? - you're not alone on the road. Extract from Hurt report;16. The median pre-crash speed was 29.8 mph, and the median crash speed was 21.5 mph, and the one-in-a-thousand crash speed is approximately 86 mph.This speed is plenty to ruin the riders day. Broken joints, roadrash. It'll happen at that speed.

DD visit your local Ulysses Branch and ask them what they wear, snf how fast they travel and how safe other road users are!HTH mwah

FJSRiDER. wrote (see)

Flo wrote (see)

I'm not having a go FJS, but why the utter contempt for new or cautious riders? Preparing for the worst case doesn't necessarily make it more likely. (You don't have to repeat the risk compensation argument, like I said, I'm curious, not looking for debate. )

What 'contempt'?  My remark relates to those who ride like a novice, are paranoid or scared who will be likely to choose a jacket that has far more 'protection' built in than necessary to ride at '30mph tops' (that is the title to this thread, in case you have forgotten) What do you really think will happen if you have an incident at no more than 30?  Sure dressing up like a paranoid, scared novice could save you a little gravel rash, but so what?  I really believe that people should 'pay' for their mistakes and a few scabs for a week or so are a small price to pay.  Who knows, they might even learn something!

 Yeah, like if they'd had a mesh jacket on they wouldn't have a three inch gravel rash! The whole point of this thread is the OP doesn't want to wear a stout jacket on short, low speed hops. I can sympathise. I'm no riding god, I can see the possibility of me having a slow speed off, especially if I was distracted by a heavy jacket or the worry of not wearing a jacket at all! Why do you have such a problem with us mere mortals wearing appropriate safety gear? I promise I won't stand by and let some f*cker try to force you to wear the same.  

Flo wrote (see)

The whole point of this thread is the OP doesn't want to wear a stout jacket on short, low speed hops.

That is not quite how I read it.

 David Dickinson wrote (see)

So why do I feel compelled to wear my armoured jacket.....even if I did come off, I could or would slow the bike down to below 30 before I came off, so wouldn't expect the gravel rash to be too severe.   I guess I run a greater risk of impact damage on elbows and spine without armour.  Maybe I should compromise with those lightweight armour suit things....  I'm based in Sydney, so the heat from the jacket is a real distraction...  Any thoughts or experiences that would help me make up my mind?

So 12 days ago I posted MY thoughts and experiences in reply to the OP.

Flo wrote (see)

 Why do you have such a problem with us mere mortals wearing appropriate safety gear? I promise I won't stand by and let some f*cker try to force you to wear the same. 

I don't have  problem with people wearing whatever they want.  I suggested wearing a 'stout' jacket for short trips.  On the whole that will be more than enough for sub-30mph rides - even if you come a cropper.But 10 days after my comment that tedious bore (who is trolling me around the forum) questioned my reply.  I should know by now that there is no reasoning with these sad and boring dullards.  Clearly they are talentless individuals with no innate ability so they can only hope that 'protefctive' clothing (or DRL.  Or Hi-viz.  Or 'the grate I_AM') will save themselves from their own pathetic failings.

<< Yeah, like if they'd had a mesh jacket on they wouldn't have a three inch gravel rash! The whole point of this thread is the OP doesn't want to wear a stout jacket on short, low speed hops. I can sympathise. I'm no riding god, I can see the possibility of me having a slow speed off, especially if I was distracted by a heavy jacket or the worry of not wearing a jacket at all! Why do you have such a problem with us mere mortals wearing appropriate safety gear? I promise I won't stand by and let some f*cker try to force you to wear the same. >>

JOOC, what would you choose to wear on a bicycle?

You probably don't want to know, Kevin.  My brother died on a bicycle, hit by a car running late for a wedding. His injuries included severe gravel rash and a compound fracture to his offside arm (ie the side away from the impact). A motorcycle helmet would have saved his life, a bike jacket would have prevented or at least considerably reduced his other injuries. I don't own a bicycle, my children have to wear helmet and pads any time they go out on theirs. On a lighter note; FJS I meant it light heartedly. My advice to the OP was posted around the same time as yours, I just couldn't resist a little dig at your last post. No offence meant . Your views are always interesting, I've even put some of your advice into practice.

Flo wrote (see)

I just couldn't resist a little dig at your last post. No offence meant .

None taken at all!

Flo wrote (see)

 Your views are always interesting, I've even put some of your advice into practice.

Jolly good.

Sorry to hear that Flo...

no....simple answer to the question.gravel rash hurts....and it may go septic...then it feckin hurts

When I'm pedalling on my racing bike I often hit 30 mph. Down hill I've touched 63 and touched cloth. And only with the protective properties of lycra and a polystyrene helmet. Pathetic isn't it. BUT I wouldn't sit on my motorbike without full leather and a lid. Doesn't feel right. I suppose you wear the best protection you can that allows you to feel as comfortable as possible. Hence why I don't wear leathers while cycling.

Don't be Kevin, it was a long time ago. The funny (peculiar) thing is the number of people who try to convince me I'm suicidal or some kind of lunatic for riding a bike, then drive like a t*at or pedal into work without a lid .

Flo wrote (see)

..... the number of people who try to convince me I'm suicidal or some kind of lunatic for riding a bike, then drive like a t*at or pedal into work without a lid .

Bicycle helmets are surprisingly ineffectual and their compulsion has been shown to actually cause more incidents.

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