If you have ever shopped for motorcycle clothes already, you have most likely heard the abbreviation PPE, or at least CE. So what do they actually mean and which role do they play when choosing motorcycle clothes?
PPE stands for "Personal Protective Equipment” and is a classification that indicates that a garment can be used to protect you while performing certain activities. Since 2018, all motorcycle clothing is now classed as PPE. This means that if clothes are meant to be sold as protective motorcycle apparel, they should be tested by an authorized body and comply with the strict set of standards.
The compliance with standards is marked as CE. The CE mark is kind of a declaration - a proof - that a product meets the requirements for protective motorcycle wear that are set out in certain directives and standards.
The letters “CE” are the abbreviation of the French phrase “Conformité Européene” which literally means “European Conformity”, and indicates that the garment complies with the EU safety, health, and environmental protection requirements.
However, it is not enough for clothes to simply have a CE marking on them. It is also important what kind of CE marking it has - or in other words - according to which standard a certain product has been tested. In motorcycle gear case it is important that the gear is tested up to the standards that are for motorcycle apparel and equipment, and not for... gardening for example :)
So are manufacturers obliged to CE test and certify their products? Not really.
Generally, these standards are a voluntary tool for manufacturers to use, and therefore, you will still find many clothes that do not have CE marks. However, even though this means that clothes can still be produced and sold, they cannot be sold as “protective motorcycle gear”.
What about the consumer? Is wearing a CE-certified garment mandatory?
The minimum requirements vary depending on countries and regions and in most cases you are not legally obligated to wear the certified gear (with some exceptions, e.g. helmets). However, it is always a good idea to do so :)
So in a nutshell, when purchasing protective motorcycle clothing, it is important to know whether the garments you're considering are produced to at least a minimum CE standard.
So which CE standards should you know? About this - in another post.