- Facts About the JMCA
- Awareness of the importance of wearing chest protectors needs to be improved going forward
- JMCA-recommended chest protectors are also eligible for high level safety standards of Europe
- A motorcycle accessory shop manager discusses signs of chest protector popularization according to purchasing trends
According to an announcement by the Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department, the primary part of the injury for motorcycle fatalities was the head over the past 5 years until 2020. This was followed by the chest and abdomen, which collectively accounted for 37.8% of motorcycle fatalities. Therefore, chest and abdomen injuries also cannot be ignored.
According to the Motorcycle Fatal Accident Statistics (2020) released by the Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department, more than 80% of motorcycle fatalities were as a result of injuries to the head, chest and abdomen.
Therefore, it is extremely important to wear not only a correctly-fitted helmet correctly fastening the chin strap, but also a chest protector in order to reduce injuries during an accident.
The Japan Motorcycle Accessories Association (JMCA) is continuing to promote the wearing of chest protectors under its original “Chest Protector Recommendation Scheme.” Taking this opportunity, we spoke to JMCA Representative Director Matsubara about initiatives to establish safety standards and the importance of chest protectors.
Facts About the JMCA
This association was formed by aftermarket parts manufacturers, wholesalers, and retailers of motorcycle parts and accessories in order to promote the healthy growth and development of the motorcycle industry. The association has received guidance and collaboration from various related ministries and organizations such as the Ministry of Economy, Trade, and Industry, the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism, ,and the National Police Agency with the aim of promoting legal quality products (eliminating poor or illegal quality products), eliminating illegally modified vehicles and tackling social and environmental issues.
Participating members are mainly manufacturers of mufflers or helmets and the retailers of motorcycle parts and accessories.
The “JMCA Chest Protector Recommendation Scheme” was launched on August 17, 2016. This scheme aims to promote the spread of recommended chest protectors, improve usage rates and reduce motorcycle fatalities.
Awareness of the importance of wearing chest protectors needs to be improved going forward
According to a statistical survey by the Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department, the usage rate for chest protectors was 8.6% in 2021, a slight increase of 0.2% compared to the previous survey.
According to riders who attended a lecture such as safety training, wearing chest protectors were recommended at riding schools, and many people purchased their own chest protectors and brought those with them to the safety training (chest protectors must be worn when participating in safety training offered by the Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department.)
Although usage rates are still not at a high level for riders overall, motorcycle accessory shops are expanding the lineups of protectors each year, and the usage of chest protectors is being promoted throughout the entire industry.
JMCA-recommended chest protectors are also eligible for high level safety standards of Europe
*One star: Equivalent to level 1 on European standards, two stars: equivalent to level 2 on European standards
*More stars is proof of greater security (cited from JMCA website)
According to JMCA Representative Director Matsubara, the JMCA chest protector standards are based on the EN standards (symbolized by CE mark), a unified standard throughout Europe. JMCA conducted various testing such as collision testing with dummies, shock resistance and protection range testing by dropping hard objects onto the protector from the designated height.
After repeated collision testing, it was ultimately concluded that the own standards must be equivalent to the EN standards. The JMCA Chest Protector Standards Scheme was adopted in accordance with the EN Standards.
As the motorcycle culture is more entrenched in Europe than in Japan, safety awareness there is also very high. Jackets cannot be sold as motorcycle jackets unless they contain protectors that conform to the EN standards.
In Japan, chest protectors that meet the EN standards are given the “JMCA Recommended Chest Protector” mark, and the lineup is expanding each year. This suggests that products that meet the EN standards are becoming more popular.
A motorcycle accessory shop manager discusses signs of chest protector popularization according to purchasing trends
We spoke to Store Manager Harushima of motorcycle accessory shop “RICOLAND Tokyo Bay Shinonome” about chest protector purchasing trends.
Many types of protectors for various needs are available in the store, ranging from jackets containing detachable protectors, stand-alone protectors, and protectors made of hard or soft materials. According to Store Manager Harushima, sales has been increasing every year and it makes him feel that actual usage must be also increasing.
Recently, motorcycle jackets with built-in protectors, which are relatively affordable, are gaining popularity.
There are two types of motorcycle Jackets with built-in chest protectors. The separate type that is more popular so far, has chest protectors simply fitted to the left and right sides inside the jacket, and the joint type has the left and right protectors which can be engaged with each other behind the front fastener.
According to JMCA Representative Director Matsubara, “Joint type jackets offer ideal protective function as there is no uncovered space in the middle chest area and protection range is wider.”
As the risk of motorcycle accidents rises in proportion to usage frequency, the number of accidents is naturally higher during commuting to work or school than touring. However, few riders wear chest protectors when commuting to work or school because they let their guard down when riding on familiar roads and consider it troublesome to put on the chest protectors.
As a statistical survey by the Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department showed that primary injuries to the chest rank second as the most common cause of motorcycle fatalities, JMCA Representative Director Matsubara said, “We want all riders to know about the importance of wearing chest protectors and to make a habit of wearing chest protectors at all times when riding their motorcycle.”
“The most effective way for riders to make a habit of wearing protectors whenever they ride their motorcycle is finding the optimal chest protectors (or motorcycle protector jacket) for their personal preferences.
Like helmets, riders have diverse fitting preferences for chest protectors because they are an important piece of protective equipment that needs to be worn during each ride. Rather than simply relying on information from the Internet, we recommend that riders go to an accessory store and try out a few protectors before making their purchase.”