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i recently started wearing a Level IIIA ballistic vest while riding. The material is claimed to resist punctures from ice picks, knives, etc. Any thoughts about the benefit of this vest for trauma in a motorcycle accident?
 

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I'm no expert but I am under the impression that head bangs are the biggest killer, even with a helmet. But, in general, motorcycle crash injuries are from blunt-force trauma.

So, if you wear the vest on your head...
 

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Monkey with a Football
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I've been in a few bike wrecks and I can tell you that arms, shoulders, hands, elbows, legs, hips, knees, feet, head and butt took nearly all the damage every time.
I only wore vests for warmth.
 

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Well, it won't hurt you to wear it and it might save you from broken ribs or the off chance of something that would puncture your torso.
 

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Monkey with a Football
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Well, it won't hurt you to wear it and it might save you from broken ribs or the off chance of something that would puncture your torso.
True, like handlebars or broken windshield. And the occasional knife or other vehicle debris.
 

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I agree that there might be sharp things sticking out during a crash, but the clothing recommended by the MSF doesn't seem to have a "puncture resistant" breast plate. Some of the high-end suits have spinal impact protection but mostly they want to protect shoulders, elbows, butt and knees from impact and abrasion.

In your climate, I think I'd be concerned about the heat being trapped by an insulated vest.
 

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Those vests would be too dam hot to wear in Florida for my liking. As stated earlier, your "joints" are the most common injury points so consider a "Good Quality" jacket with internal "armor" for shoulders, elbows and back. Hi-Viz might be a good idea too (IMHO). Combined with the "safest" helmet you can find , , , you're good to go.
 

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I have Tourmaster padded mesh pants.
CycleGear ballistic padded mesh jacket.

The high temps are more comfortable with my jacket and pants than without.

Sun on your skin is bad, period.
Wetting the jacket and pants helps when the temps get over 100+
 

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A ballistic vest is designed to take the pin point force of the bullet and spread it over a larger area. It is also designed to slow the speed of that bullet, hopefully reducing the damage to vital organs. Armor designed for riders, including racing, is designed to spread the blunt force impact and spread over a larger area so the force is lessened over bones and joints. The suit or "leathers", also help keep limbs and joints from pulling apart on impact.
 

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The ballistic vests manufacturers are more than willing to claim a life saved statistic for motor officers wearing their vests in a crash. Certainly the vest can provide protection from penetrating and traumatic injuries. Yes they are hot but certainly there are thousands of these vests worn every day in warm/humid environments.

But if I were to spend money I would lean toward one of the inflatable vests. Alpinestars has just released their street version (which requires a new jacket as well) and Hit-Air looks promising if you can find one.
 

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As a retired Law Enforcement officer that wore a vest every day, you are much better off having your protection in a jacket. I worked in the So Cal high desert and the vest was so hot in the summer. But, my life was more important than a little discomfort. Your body core will get warmer because it can not cool itself. We had tubes that hooked up to our AC vents in the vehicle to blow cool air under our vests.

As others have said, get a good jacket with armor in the arms, shoulders and back and you will be much more comfortable. Your body will thank you. You will have the protection from the more common injurie areas that have been talked about.
 

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Generally, injuries from a bullet or knife aren't the same as you'd sustain in a bike wreck. It's comparing apples to oranges. It it were me getting armored up for riding, I'd rather sweat off my behind in something made for a bike wreck - breaking/bruising the knees, hips, elbows, shoulders and spine with a whole big bunch of protection from road rash. Sliding down the road is fun for about the first one tenth of a second and after that it's pain. Been there, done that...and a ballistic vest IMHO isn't going to cut it in a bike wreck. The probability of a ballistic vest actually doing what it's intended to do in a bike wreck is minutely small. So it would make more sense to prepare for the things that will most likely happen.
 

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I think you gain very little actual protection tbh. But a spinal protector and a neck brace can help a lot.

Neck brace especially is a bit much for a casual cruise though, but that's just me.
 

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Having also worn those vests for years I could not imagine doing it on a bike. You still want some protection on your arms/shoulders/etc which means you will probably also wear a jacket. Ballistic vests do not breath for squat. As others have said, a riding jacket is much more reasonable.

Not to mention that some folks are not even allowed to possess ballistic vests.

I have my old vest in my locker at work, my current vest is getting replaced within the next couple months. Can't imagine even the newest iteration being comfy enough to ride in. Less than 5 years to go...
 
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