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FIM & ACU Body Protection New Rules 2018 - what do they mean?
Following the new 2017 ruling from the FIM, UK's ACU have confirmed increased body protection requirements for the 2018 season. Here's Masters of MX summary of the new compulsory requirements for next year:
THE NEW ACU HANDBOOK ADDITION:
It is compulsory that riders/passengers wear, as a minimum, back and chest protectors, incorporated within the suit or worn separately. It is advised that all riders and passengers should wear a body belt/kidney protector"
So what does this mean?
The ACU have decided, in the long run, to adopt the ruling from FIM that chest and back protection must be worn and has to meet International Standards EN1621-3 (for chest) and EN1621-2 (for back). For the 2018 season the ACU have not made these International Standards compulsory, however all participants must wear a form of chest and back protection. This applies to all riders (youth and adult) and also sidecar passengers. The protection must be worn during all practice and race sessions at ACU events and will be checked both at sign on and prior to each outing to the track.
The ACU have not yet confirmed the timescale of when they will introduce the International Standards to match the FIM, but we'd imagine there will be a push to have this in place for the 2019 season.
Kidney belts have also been advised by the ACU to be worn for added protection - but this is not a compulsory rule.
YOUR QUESTIONS ANSWERED:
I already have body protection, do I need to buy new protection to race in 2018?
No - ACU have stated you can participate in race events with existing protection or protection that doesn't meet the standards. We would however advise you to consider your protection's age and condition. If it's a few seasons old and looking a little tired, it may be time for an upgrade! If you are looking to buy new body protection, invest in a product that meets International Standards EN1621-3 (for chest) and EN1621-2 (for back), otherwise you'll only find yourself having to buy again when the ACU does make these standards compulsory.
But I don't like wearing chest and back protection. What if I won't wear it?
Likelihood is you will be turned away and not allowed to participate in the event. These are the new, compulsory rules which are implemented for everyone's safety. The key is to find a suitable, comfortable protection piece that suits you and fits well...
I'm on a tight budget, I don't think I can afford protection.
Don't worry, there are some really affordable products available. It's a sound investment and a one off cost. Spend your money wisely and invest in the adequate protection now, rather than having to fork out again in a years time.
Why have the FIM & ACU introduced this new rule?
Rider safety. The same reason that helmet standards were introduced - a rule to attempt to reduce internal injuries, or worse still fatal injuries.
How do I find out if my existing protection meets the standards?
It should be noted or labelled on your protection item, along with the CE level (see examples below). Manufacturers have a legal obligation to label their products with these safety standards. If your labels are worn or ripped out contact the manufacturer or your local motocross shop for advice.
I've seen a standard called EN 14201 for chest protection - is this the same?
No, this is standard related to roost/stone protection NOT impact protection. It will not satisfy the FIM current rule or ACU future rule of EN1621-3 standard.
If I buy new body protection, how will I know it meets these standards?
If you are buying from your local motocross shop/store and they know their products well, they should be able to advise you on which body protection meet the standards. They will also be able to fit you properly with the correct size. If you are purchasing online, check the item description, it should be noted there. If in doubt contact the retailer or manufacturer.