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A Technical Evaluation of Motorcycle Leg Protectors
Published November 04, 1991 by National Highway Traffic Safety Administration in United States
This paper summarizes the technical background, information and conclusions regarding proposed leg protection devices for motorcycles. Leg protector concepts researched over the last 20 years are reviewed, the general conclusion being that they tend to produce negative effects (i.e., transfer of injuries to the upper body and upper legs). In 1987 the United Kingdom proposed a national Draft Specification (UKDS) for motorcycle leg protectors, currently a prospective topic of discussion in the EEC. Although the UKDS concept is similar to earlier concepts, the motorcycle industry undertook an extensive evaluation of it, culminating in full scale tests in 1989. This paper discusses the results of the full scale crash tests and computer simulations of the UKDS, as well as observations concerning the methodologies used to evaluate it. One overall conclusion reached is that, for motorcycles, any leg protector involving a robust knee restraint~with or without external energy absorption, knee pads, or leg retention~inherently results in negative effects, and therefore is not feasible.