Safety Gear Report
Scientists Discover Corona Tank Top Safer Than Leather
Monday July 7, 2003
By IAN JOHNSTON, Staff Reporter
SANTA MONICA, California - In a startling report, scientists and researchers with the National Institute of Highway Safety today announced the results of a five-year study, which concludes that motorcyclists wearing Corona tank top shirts are better protected in a fall than wearers of any other garment. "We were amazed, really," said lead researcher Randall Garcia. "We went into this study pretty sure in our belief that leather riding gear provided the best protection in a motorcycle accident."
The landmark five year study, which included analysis of accident reports, as well as empirical tests of different materials in simulated crash conditions, is causing an uproar in the motorcycle safety community. "I'm utterly outraged that they dared publish this report," said noted motorcycle safety expert Daniel Hough. "I've advocated full leather riding gear for years, and here they're claiming a tank top can prevent injuries?" Hough claims to have seen the results of numerous motorcycle accidents over his 30+ year riding career, and without variation, those people wearing clothing such as t-shirts and cotton pants fared worst.
"Actually, that's the surprising thing," said Michael MacConnor, one of the materials scientists who contributed to the report. "We were positive that the statistics were incorrect, so we did some testing on different materials." MacConnor explained that the study included simulated abrasion tests on a variety of different materials--lightweight cotton, heavy cotton, nylon, leather, kevlar, etc. The materials testing, he said, confirmed that leather displayed the best abrasion-resistance characteristics, followed closely by kevlar-reinforced nylon, a popular alternative material.
MacConnor continued, "the abrasion tests showed what we expected, but it was when we went to actual real-life crash scenarios that we got our surprise." That surprise, as detailed in the report, was that the Corona-branded tank tops actually did provide better protection to the rider in a crash, according to detailed crash reports. Several different brands of tank top and t-shirt were researched. "I mean, the Coors shirt, the Michelob shirt, the Miller Lite shirt, none of them had a chance," explained Garcia. "The Corona shirt had absolutely unexplainable powers of protection, but only when worn by the rider."
"The best riding outfit we found, the best combination, was the Corona tank top, cutoff jean shorts, white sneakers and a backwards-facing ball cap," explained a bewildered-sounding Garcia. "The rest of the clothes didn't seem to have any brand-influenced attributes, but the real 'magic' ingredient was the Corona shirt," he continued.
Although the scientists are at a loss to explain their conclusions, they are working on the problem. Garcia reports that they are conducting a follow-up study that will focus on the amazing protective properties of the Corona tank top, trying to determine exactly what it is about the shirt that provides this "near-invincible" protection to the wearer, in Garcia's words, yet provides almost no abrasion resistance under controlled test conditions.
"To think of all the times I cringed at those guys, riding around in their Corona shirts," lamented Garcia. "They were probably laughing at me."
The Corona brewing company did not respond to requests for comment for this story.