Why Do Motorcycle Cops Really Wear Leather Jackets?

Everybody knows motorcyclists wear leather clothes because it makes them look tough. And cool.  This goes for motorcycle cops too.  But are these the only reasons motorcycle police officers wear leather coats?

The reality is that they wear leather jackets for protection.  When it comes to riding a motorcycle, the risk the driver is exposed to during an accident is magnified significantly, and in most cases, the most significant expected cause of injuries is from the sudden stop of a crash. However, an unexpected spill from a motorcycle at any speed can shred skin and clothing, adding to the injuries suffered. A study of motorcycle accidents conducted by the George Institute for Global Health confirmed that among those motorcyclists who do not wear a protective jacket such as a leather motorcycle jacket, roughly 92% of those involved in an accident will suffer injury, and of those, 57% suffered abrasion injuries and 43% suffered bruising. Among those wearing a protective jacket, the number injured drops to 78% from 92%, with only 26% suffering from abrasion injuries and 39% suffering bruising. While it is clear that a motorcycle jacket cannot protect against all injuries, it is also clear that a leather jacket can reduce injuries and their severity significantly for any motorcyle rider.

Further studies have been performed on the durability of fabrics in the event of a motorcycle accident to measure their protective benefits, and have concluded that animal hides (particularly deerskin and elkskin) are superior at resisting the abrasion damage caused during a high-speed scrape against the pavement compared to cottons and most synthetic fabrics. Leather jackets are comfortable to wear and can easily be removed when not riding, whereas full-body suits tend to be more uncomfortable and as such are only beneficial when one is earnestly expecting to ride under hazardous conditions or for extremely long periods of time.

Motorbike police across the world have different standards for protective gear and requirements for their law enforcement officers. In the United States, the requirement for safety gear varies by jurisdiction. In general, it is recommended that a motorcyclist wear abrasion-resistant pants and jacket, knee protection, gloves and helmet. Full-body motorcycle suits are most practical in terms of safety, but can also limit maneuverability when the motorcycle cop needs to leave his vehicle, and can drastically reduce comfort for a motorcycle officer if he is not moving for long stretches of time, especially in warmer weather. The reliable leather motorcycle jacket is often an acceptable tradeoff with enough padding and durability to provide protection without being overly burdensome, and does not restrict access to a policeman's duty gear when necessary. Many law enforcement departments have specific styles of leather jackets commissioned to meet their exacting requirements for performance and appearance, as well as to provide a uniform professional appearance in their daily activities. One of the leading leather motorcycle jacket brands in the U.S. is Taylor's Leatherwear, which makes a variety of styles worn by motorcycle police departments across the U.S.  Some popular examples are leather jackets worn by the Los Angeles Police Department and the California Highway Patrol, the New York Police Department, and the Boston Police Department. And yes, they look cool.