Title:
Aerodynamic ventilated protective garment
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
An aerodynamic ventilated protective garment particularly for wear by operators, occupants, and passengers of sports motor vehicles, such as motorcycles for example, includes a garment body which may be configured as a jacket or coat, and which includes a ventilated aerodynamic aid on the back of the garment immediately behind the wearer's head. Ordinarily, the wearer of the garment will also be wearing a helmet during operation of the vehicle, and the aerodynamic aid of the garment both improves and smooth airflow transition from the wearer's helmet and over the back of the garment when the vehicle is in motion at speed, as well as providing a welcome ventilating airflow into the garment. Further, the garment may include an especially configured vent structure at sleeves of the garment, which vent structure provides for selective opening of a vent passage, while also insuring against the sleeves sliding up the wearer's arms in the event of a fall from the moving vehicle followed by a tumble and slide on gravel or pavement.



Inventors:
Golde, Paul (Tustin, CA, US)
Application Number:
10/060000
Publication Date:
07/31/2003
Filing Date:
01/29/2002
Assignee:
GOLDE PAUL
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A41D27/28; (IPC1-7): A42B1/06
View Patent Images:
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20090288242OPENING/CLOSING DEVICE AND HELMET HAVING THE SAMENovember, 2009Kato
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20070194072Button down shirt purse or bag with necktie, belt, or material as strapAugust, 2007Irwin Guzinski
20050125872Front vented swimwearJune, 2005Hobbs et al.
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Primary Examiner:
LINDSEY, RODNEY M
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Terry L. Miller (24832 Via San Fernando, Mission Viejo, CA, 92692, US)
Claims:

I claim:



1. An aerodynamic protective garment, said garment comprising: a garment shell having a front panel and a back panel cooperatively providing a neck opening, a pair of sleeves, one for each of the wearer's arms, a generally vertically extending opening dividing said front panel into two parts and allowing ingress and egress from said garment; and an aerodynamic hump structure carried on said back panel and defining a ventilation passage extending between ambient and the interior of said garment shell.

2. The garment of claim 1 wherein said aerodynamic hump structure carries at least one scoop member, said scoop member defining a scoop opening forwardly to receive ram air during forward motion of said garment upon an open-air vehicle, and said scoop member defining a scoop passage communicating with said ventilation passage.

3. The garment of claim 1 wherein said ventilation passage is divergent in a direction from ambient toward the interior of said garment.

4. The garment of claim 2 further including a screen member spanning said scoop opening.

5. The garment of claim 2 wherein said aerodynamic hump structure carries a pair of scoop members in lateral side-by-side array, each scoop member of said pair being forwardly disposed and arranged to receive ram air rounding a respective side of a helmet worn by a wearer of said garment.

6. The garment of claim 1 wherein said aerodynamic hump structure and said garment shell cooperatively define removable fastening structure for allowing said aerodynamic hump member to be removed from said garment back panel.

7. The garment of claim 6 wherein said removable fastening structure includes a peripheral slide fastener circumscribing at least a portion of a periphery of said aerodynamic hump structure, and said slide fastener including respective portions securing both to said hump structure and to said garment back panel.

8. The garment of claim 7 wherein said garment back panel defines a ventilation opening communicating with said ventilation passage and opening into the interior of said garment, and said garment further includes a substantially flat closure member configured similarly to said hump structure in plan view, and said closure member also including removable fastening structure securing to said closure member and cooperable with a portion of said removable fastening structure which secures to said back panel, and allowing said closure member to secure to said back panel in substitution for said hump structure in order to close said ventilation opening of said back panel.

9. The garment of claim 7 wherein said aerodynamic hump structure includes an outwardly extending flexible peripheral flange, said peripheral flange extending outwardly beyond said slide fastener and in a first position in which said peripheral flange lies substantially parallel with said back panel substantially concealing said slide fastener, said peripheral flange being manually movable resiliently to a second position revealing said slide fastener.

10. The garment of claim 1 wherein said aerodynamic hump structure is disposed on said back panel immediately behind a wearer's helmet, when a wearer of said garment wears a helmet while upon an open-air motor vehicle such as a motorcycle, said hump structure defining a forwardly disposed surface confronting said helmet and engageable by said helmet in order to offer assisting support to the wearer's head and neck.

11. The garment of claim 10 wherein said forwardly disposed surface of said aerodynamic hump structure is concave arcuately in order to receive the wearer's helmet in order to offer said assisting support to the wearer's head and neck.

12. A ventilated coat, said coat comprising: a shell having a front panel and a back panel cooperatively providing a neck opening, and a pair of sleeves one for each of the wearer's arms; said front panel, back panel, and sleeves being formed of a substantially air impermeable material; a generally vertically extending shell opening dividing said front panel into two parts and allowing ingress and egress from said garment; a ventilation structure of said coat including at said back panel an aerodynamic hump structure, said hump structure being disposed on said back panel immediately behind the head of a wearer of said coat, and said hump structure defining a ventilation passage opening between ambient and an interior of said coat in order to allow ventilating air flow along said ventilation passage.

13. The ventilated coat of claim 12 wherein said shell at said back panel defines a ventilation opening, said ventilation passage communicating with said ventilation opening, and a closure member configured for substitution on said back panel in replacement for said hump structure, said closure member spanning and closing said ventilation opening.

14. The ventilated coat of claim 12 further said back panel and said hump structure each having cooperable portions of a fastener device, said fastener device including a slide fastener circumscribing a peripheral portion of said hump structure, and said slide fastener allowing said hump structure to be removed from said back panel.

15. The coat of claim 12 wherein said ventilation passage is divergent in a direction of passage extension between ambient and an interior of said coat.

16. The coat of claim 12 wherein said hump structure defines a forwardly disposed engagement surface, said engagement surface being arcuate and concave to receive therein and provide supporting engagement for a helmet of a user of said coat.

17. A method of providing both ventilation to an operator of an open-air sport motor vehicle while said operator is wearing a protective coat, and of providing exigent support to the head and neck of the operator in the event of an accident by providing rear support to a helmet of said operator, said method comprising steps of: providing said coat at a back panel thereof with a hump structure having a forwardly disposed arcuate concave engagement surface disposed sufficiently close to said helmet of the operator that the helmet is engageable with said engagement surface to be supported against excessive rearward movement of the operator's head and neck in an accident, and providing said hump structure with a through ventilation passage opening at an outer end in a forwardly disposed ventilating air flow scoop, and extending inwardly of said coat through said hump structure.

18. The method of claim 17 further including the step of configuring said ventilation passage to diverge as it extends from ambient toward an interior of said coat.

19. The method of claim 17 further including the step of configuring said hump structure and said coat back panel to cooperatively allow selective removal and replacement of said hump structure from said coat.

20. The method of claim 19 including the step of providing a closure member configured to close said ventilation opening when said hump structure is removed from said coat.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

[0001] 1. Field of the Invention

[0002] The present invention relates to an aerodynamic ventilated protective garment which may take the form of a jacket or coat. The garment is especially configured and structured for wear by individuals who are riding on or operating open-air sport motor vehicles, such as motorcycles, dune buggies, ATV's, ATC's, and perhaps even open-air aircraft, such as ultra-light aircraft. These operators and passengers are subjected to the elements, need physical protection for their person, desire to not be buffeted or to have their garments “balloon” or to flap in the high speed air flow caused by movement of their vehicle, and also desire an adequate ventilation air flow during warm-weather and hot-weather conditions. Also, these operators and passengers of open-air sport motor vehicles generally desire to obtain the best possible performance from their sport vehicles, and reducing aerodynamic drag is an important consideration in realizing this desire. Further, such operators and passengers in many cases will be wearing a protective crash helmet, and the airflow caused by the movement of the vehicle will flow about this helmet. In many cases, the airflow about a passenger's or operator's helmet and outer garment causes turbulence, which undesirably buffets the person and increases aerodynamic drag.

[0003] 2. Related Technology

[0004] Operators of motorcycles and other sports motor vehicles have long sought to protect themselves from injury in the event of a mishap, such as a fall from a moving motorcycle and subsequent slide on gravel or pavement. Thus, it is seen that protection from impact and abrasion are both important to operators of such sport motor vehicles. Competition motorcycle riders have commonly worn full “leathers”, which are a full cover-all type of leather suit, many having built in panels of cushioning or protective body armor, or abrasion resistant panels. Such a full leather suit can provide good protection from both impact and abrasion.

[0005] However, in cool weather, a leather motorcycle riding suit can be chilly to wear. Leather by itself does not provide very good insulation. On the other hand, in warm weather, the full leather motorcycle riding suit can be very warm to wear as leather does not allow much ventilation by itself. Consequently, for warm-weather wear, such “leathers” made to include perforated leather panels have been available. But, leathers made to include perforated leather are not at all suitable for wear during cold riding conditions. Consequently, these “racing style leathers”, are generally made for the particular conditions under which they are to be used, and are not practical for wear by the street motorcycle rider and for other operators and passengers on open-air sport motor vehicles who encounter widely varying environmental conditions.

[0006] Further, operators of high performance competition motorcycles have long used aerodynamic aids on their motorcycles and on their racing apparel to reduce buffeting and to improve air flow over the rider's helmet and leathers. These aerodynamic aids have included such things as various configurations of fairings on the motorcycles (even extending to the full “dust bin” type of motorcycle fairings), fins, scoops, and winglets on the motorcycle fairings, and also fins and air scoops on the rider's helmet.

[0007] In particular, one aerodynamic expedient or aid that has been used on the apparel of competition motorcycle riders is an aerodynamic “hump structure” disposed on the back of the rider's leathers and immediately behind the rider's helmet when the rider is in the position occupied when at speed on the motorcycle. This aerodynamic “hump structure” helps reduce aerodynamic drag, and reduces buffeting of the rider by smoothing airflow over the helmet, and by smoothing airflow rearwardly from the helmet along the back of the leathers at speed. Such an aerodynamic “hump structure” has not heretofore been used on apparel for street motorcycle riders.

[0008] Particularly, the competition type of aerodynamic hump structure, while advantageous aerodynamically, is very hot for the rider in warm weather. That is, there is no ventilation provided, and the smooth airflow over the rider's helmet and leathers may actually make it more difficult for the rider to achieve adequate ventilation, and to remain cool, dry, and mentally fresh during warm riding conditions. Consequently, competition riders have complained of being sweaty, over heated, and fatigued because of such lack of ventilation of their racing apparel. But, competition riders still continue to use this apparel because of its advantages in competition.

[0009] For the street motorcycle rider, such considerations would rule out the use of the aerodynamic hump structure on the rider's apparel. Nevertheless, street motorcycle riders have favored various leather jackets and coats because of the abrasion resistance provided by the leather in the event of a spill from the moving motorcycle. Many of these jackets traditionally do not have any form of body armor for the rider. Some have no particular provision for ventilation to the rider in warm and hot weather. Particularly in hot weather, leather apparel can be uncomfortably warm to wear. However, even in hot weather some motorcycle riders endure the discomfort of a leather jacket, not because it is needed for protection from the elements, but because of concerns for personal safety and survival in the event of a spill from the street motorcycle at any speed.

[0010] On the other hand, in hot weather some cavalier motorcycle riders partially or fully open the front zipper or snaps of their jacket in order to allow the moving air stream to rush in. Such an expedients decreases the effective protection level afforded by the leather jacket of coat. That is, this expedient is very unsafe because it allows the jacket to billow or whip in the air stream, possibly compromising the rider's ability to control the vehicle, and certainly contributing to rider fatigue after a period of being subjected the whipping leather jacket. Fatigue and the resulting decrease in the rider's situational awareness may be a contributing factor in many motorcycle accidents. Importantly, in the event of a spill, an open jacket or coat is more likely to slide up the wearer's torso, and provide little or no protection against abrasion. And, an open front zipper can allow stones to enter the jacket during a fall and slide.

[0011] Some motorcycle jackets even include cuff openings on the sleeves, and some riders leave these openings unsecured during warm weather in order to obtain some ventilation. Open cuffs are also very dangerous because the sleeves of the jacket of coat may slide up the forearms during a fall and slide, allowing the forearms to be badly abraded by the gravel or pavement along which the individual may be sliding after a fall from the moving vehicle.

[0012] So to, street motorcycle riders generally wish to enjoy the maximum possible performance from their motorcycle, while still being able to ride in a widely varying environment encountered by the street rider, and not having to purchase a wide variety of different garments for wear under varying conditions. Thus, the designer of apparel for the street rider is faced with a daunting set of requirements.

[0013] Over some time in the past, leather and fabric jackets and coats with provisions for ventilation while closed and still providing adequate protection to the wearer have been developed. Examples of leather coats and jackets which are conventional are seen in U.S. Pat. No. 4,608,715, issued Sep. 2, 1986 to Richard Miller and John Wyckoff; in U.S. Pat. No. 5,105,715, issued Apr. 21, 1992 to Paul Golde, and in U.S. Pat. No. 5,507,042, issued Apr. 16, 1996 to Michael van der Slessen. German patent publication No. DE 3818-566-A1 published Dec. 7, 1989, provides another example of this conventional approach to providing protection and ventilation to riders of motorcycles. U.S. Pat. No. 5,845,336 provides an example of a fabric jacket or coat that well suits the wide range of requirements for a street motorcycle rider.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0014] In view of the deficiencies of the related technology, a primary object of this invention is to avoid one or more of these deficiencies.

[0015] More particularly, it is an object of this invention to provide a protective garment for wear by operators and occupants of sport vehicle, which will provide physical protection to the wearer, provides adequate and adjustable ventilation for fair and hot days, and also has provision for smoothing the airflow over the rider's helmet and along the rider's back at speed.

[0016] Accordingly, the present invention according to one aspect provides an aerodynamic protective garment, the garment comprising: a garment shell having a front panel and a back panel cooperatively providing a neck opening, a pair of sleeves, one for each of the wearer's arms, a generally vertically extending opening dividing the front panel into two parts and allowing ingress and egress from the garment; and an aerodynamic hump structure carried on the back panel and defining a ventilation passage extending between ambient and the interior of the garment shell.

[0017] Accordingly, the present invention according to another aspect presents a method of providing both ventilation to an operator of an open-air sport motor vehicle while the operator is wearing a protective coat, and of providing exigent support to the head and neck of the operator in the event of an accident by providing rear support to a helmet of the operator, the method comprising steps of: providing the coat at a back panel thereof with a hump structure having a forwardly disposed arcuate concave engagement surface disposed sufficiently close to the helmet of the operator that the helmet is engageable with the engagement surface to be supported against excessive rearward movement of the operator's head and neck in an accident, and providing the hump structure with a through ventilation passage opening at an outer end in a forwardly disposed ventilating air flow scoop, and extending inwardly of the coat through the hump structure.

[0018] A better understanding of the present invention will be obtained from reading the following description of a several preferred exemplary embodiments of the present invention when taken in conjunction with the appended drawing Figures, in which the same features (or features analogous in structure or function) are indicated with the same reference numeral throughout the several views. It will be understood that the appended drawing Figures and description here following relate only to one or more exemplary preferred embodiments of the invention, and as such, are not to be taken as implying a limitation on the invention. No such limitation on the invention is implied, and none is to be inferred.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWING FIGURES

[0019] FIG. 1 provides a perspective frontal view of a motorcycle rider wearing a garment in the form of a coat embodying the present invention;

[0020] FIG. 2 is a fragmentary side elevation view of the rider seen in FIG. 1;

[0021] FIG. 2a is a fragmentary side elevation view partially in cross section of a portion of the garment seen on the rider in FIGS. 1 and 2;

[0022] FIGS. 3 and 4 respectively provide rear and front elevation views of the garment seen in the preceding Figures;

[0023] FIG. 5 provides a fragmentary elevation view of an alternative embodiment of a garment embodying the present invention;

[0024] FIG. 6 is a fragmentary cross sectional view taken at line 6-6 of FIG. 5;

[0025] FIG. 7 provides a fragmentary side elevational view similar to that of FIG. 2a, but illustrating the alternative embodiment of the invention of FIGS. 5 and 6;

[0026] FIG. 8 is a fragmentary side elevation view similar to that of FIG. 7, but showing a closure member fitted to the garment;

[0027] FIGS. 9-11 are fragmentary views of the embodiment of the invention shown in FIGS. 1-3, and 4, with a venting cuff structure respectively shown in closed, opened, and ventilating configurations; and

[0028] FIGS. 12-14 are fragmentary views of an alternative embodiment of the invention, with a venting cuff structure respectively shown in closed, opened, and ventilating configurations.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF EXEMPLARY PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS OF THE INVENTION

[0029] Viewing first FIGS. 1 and 2 in conjunction, a motorcycle rider 10 is seen riding a motorcycle 12. Because of the speed of forward movement (indicated by arrow 14) of the motorcycle, the rider 10 is subjected to a moving air stream relatively moving in the rearward direction (as is indicated on FIGS. 1 and 2 by arrow 16). The rider 10 is wearing a helmet 18, and in addition to boots and gloves (not referenced on the drawing Figures) is also wearing a protective garment 20, which in this case takes the form of a coat or long jacket. It will be understood that the invention is not limited to its use by motorcycle riders, and that other operators and occupants of sports motor vehicles may benefit from the use of this invention. Further, the invention is not limited to embodiment in a jacket or coat, and may find embodiment in a full cover-all type of riding suit, for example.

[0030] In the particular case illustrated in FIG. 1, the rider 10 is also wearing protective gloves, boots, and a helmet 18 (not all of which are individually referenced in FIG. 1), and this protective apparel is important to the rider in the event of an unplanned fall from the moving motorcycle. The rider 10 may be wearing a pair of heavy denim jeans, leather pants, or other protective pants, as well. While this protective apparel is important to the rider 10 in the event of a fall from the motorcycle, it can also undesirably contribute to overheating of the rider during warm weather riding conditions, or even during moderate weather conditions. Thus, ventilation of the apparel of the rider 10 is an important consideration in providing comfort to the rider and in keeping the rider mentally fresh and well able to operate the vehicle 10.

[0031] As is seen in FIG. 1, and as is further illustrated and explained below by reference to FIG. 4, the garment (i.e., jacket) 20 includes a front panel 20f, which is in two parts, with the parts cooperatively defining a central generally vertical opening 20o. The central opening 20o is conventionally secured closed by the use of a zipper, and possibly by plural snaps as well (not referenced in the drawing Figures), thus allowing this opening to be opened to allow the jacket 20 to be put on and taken off. The garment 20 also includes a rear panel 20r, and is provided with sleeves 22r and 22l (for “right” and “left”) each having a cuff 24 with a cuff closure structure 24a, and an associated forearm sleeve ventilation structure 26. It is to be noted that the cuff closure structure 24a is similar to the opening 20o in that it can be opened to allow the jacket to be put on and taken off. Thus, the closure structure 24a may include, for example, a strap secured by snap, or secured by matching patches of hook-and-loop fastener material, as will be further explained.

[0032] In FIG. 1, and on the right sleeve 22r of FIG. 4, the sleeve ventilation structure 24a is opened, so that an underlying perforate (i.e., air permeable) panel 24b is exposed, and it will be understood that the air stream 16 drives ventilation air flow into the sleeve 22 of the jacket 20 via this open sleeve ventilation structure. That is, the forearm sleeve ventilation structure 26 is disposed on the inner forwardly exposed portion of the forearms of rider 10. On the left sleeve 22l of jacket 20 it is seen that the sleeve ventilation structure 26 is closed, as will be further explained. As is shown on both sleeves, the cuff closure structure 24a is closed, and the cuff 24 is thus secure against sliding up the rider's forearm in a slide along the ground. On the other hand, it is important to note the significance of the forearm location of the ventilation structure 26. Because of the forward location of the ventilation structure 26 along the forearms of the rider 10, that ventilating air that enters the structure 26 flows upwardly and rearwardly along the greater portion of the rider's arms, and provides significant cooling to the rider's arms. Further, this air then flows into the main body of the jacket 20, further contributing to cooling of the rider 10.

[0033] Further to the above, FIGS. 2 and 3 illustrate that the jacket 20 includes a ventilated aerodynamic hump structure 28 on the rear of the jacket 10 immediately behind the rider's helmet 18 in the position the rider occupies on the motorcycle 12 at speed. That is, viewing FIG. 2, (and is illustrated by the stream line arrows 16a) at speed, the air stream 16 flows around the rider's helmet 18 and flows rearwardly along the back of the jacket 20. The aerodynamic hump structure 28 smoothes air flow over the helmet 18 and smoothes the airflow transition from flow about the helmet 18 and onto the back of the jacket 20. This ventilated hump structure 28 defines a forwardly disposed arcuate recess 28a, disposed toward the rear of the rider's helmet 18, and in the position seen in FIG. 2, spaced only slightly away from the helmet 18.

[0034] Further, as can best be appreciated viewing FIG. 2, in the event of a fall of the rider 10 from the motorcycle 12, the presence of the hump structure 28 immediately behind the rider's helmet 18 can assist in preventing hyper-reflexion of the rider's neck. That is, the helmet 18 will contact the front of the hump structure 28 at the recess 28a, and be supported so that the rider's neck is supported in opposition to being subjected to hyper-reflexion.

[0035] FIG. 2a illustrates that the hump structure 28 is formed principally by a flexible but rather stiff and shape-retaining foam core 30, which is secured to the back panel 20r of the jacket 20. This foam core is covered with a similarly shaped portion of material 32, which material may be the same as or different from the material of the back panel 20r of the jacket 20. The material 32 is preferably secured to the back panel of the jacket 20 by stitching, not seen in the drawing Figures, and thus holds the core 30 in place as well. In order to provide for ventilation through the hump structure 28, this structure carries at least one forwardly opening scoop 34. The scoop 34 defines an opening 34a, which may be spanned by a fine screen 36 in order to prevent insects and small gravel from entering the scoop. The scoop 34 receives a portion of the air flow 16, as is indicated by arrow 16b. This scoop 34 also defines a passage 34b leading from the opening 34a toward the foam core 30. Aligning with the passage 34b of the scoop 34, the foam core 30 defines a through passage 30a, which is preferably divergent to provide diffusion of the air flow 16b to a lower speed and higher pressure as it moves along this passage. The passage 30a leads to a ventilation opening 20v defined by the rear panel 20r of the jacket 20. This opening 20v leads through the rear panel 20r, and into the space between the rear panel 20r and an air permeable liner 38 of the jacket 20. Thus, when the motorcycle is moving at speed and the rider 10 is in a position allowing the scoop 34 exposure to the air flow 16, a portion of this air flow is brought into the jacket 20 via the hump structure 28 and via the scoop 34, passage 34b, passage 30a, and ventilation opening 20v.

[0036] Returning now to a consideration of FIGS. 1, and 9-11, it is seen that the sleeve ventilation structure 26 in this embodiment is formed by a single lengthwise extending slit 26a, running from the cuff 24 partially upwardly along the forearm portion of each sleeve 22r and 22l (only one sleeve 22l being illustrated in FIGS. 9-11, the other sleeve 22r being a mirror image), along the forward and inner aspect of these sleeves. The slits 26a are each selectably closed by a combination of the respective cuff closure 24a and a slide fastener (i.e., a zipper in this embodiment, although the invention is not so limited) 40 having a pair of oppositely disposed and acting zipper pulls (or slide members) 40a and 40b. The cuff closure 24a includes a strap or tab 42 spanning across this slit 26a at the cuff 24. The strap or tab 42 is secured to the opposite side of the cuff (i.e., on the opposite side of the slit 26a) by a securing member 44, such as by a snap or by a patch of hook-and-loop fastener, for example.

[0037] On the left sleeve 22l as seen in FIGS. 4 and 9, both the cuff closure 24a and the zipper 40 are closed (by having the zipper pulls 40a and 40b both at opposite ends of this zipper, so that ventilating air cannot enter the sleeve vent structure 26. On the other hand, on the right sleeve 22r seen in FIGS. 4 and 11, the cuff closure 24a is closed, but the sleeve vent structure 26 is partially opened by having the upper zipper pull 40b slid partially downwardly along the zipper 40 toward the lower pull 40a. This position of the zipper pull 40b results in the upper portion of slit 26a being allowed to gap open. This gapping open of the upper portion of the slit 26a is controlled however, and is limited in extent by a combination of structures. On the one hand, the lower extent of the slit 26a is closed at the cuff 24 by cuff closure 24a. The lower portion of the slit 26a is still closed by the lower portion of zipper 40, dependent upon the position of lower zipper pull 40a. And, the extent of opening or gapping open of the slit 26a is determined by a v-shaped, perforate, air permeable panel 46 spanning across the slit 26 and secured to the material of the sleeve 22 on each side of this slit. The panel 46 may be made of perforate leather, or may be made of a woven or knitted material having a sufficiently open mesh as to allow air to permeate therethrough. Alternatively, the panel 46 may utilize a fabric panel that is knitted or woven so at to provide plural evenly spaced openings in the form of a mesh. The v-shape of the panel 46 is secured to the respective sleeve 22 with a narrow end of the v-shape adjacent to the upper extent of the slit 26a, and with a wider portion of the panel adjacent to the cuff 24, so that this cuff can open to allow the jacket 20 to be put on and taken off, as is to be further described.

[0038] It will thus be understood that the forearm sleeve ventilation structure 26 can also be opened by partially or full sliding the lower zipper pull 40a upwardly along the sleeve 22 toward the upper pull 40b. This results in an opening being created along slit 26a from the lower end thereof. Thus, it will be understood that dependent on the wishes of the rider 10, the zipper pulls 40a and 40b can be slid partially or full toward one another along the slit 26a to open a lower extent, an upper extent, or both a lower extent and an upper extent of the slit 26a, with the zipper pulls either spaced slightly apart or being fully together somewhere intermediate of the ends of the slit 26a. In this way, the rider 10 has a great deal of flexibility and adjustability in the area and location of ventilation opening or openings created at the slit 26a on each sleeve of the jacket dependent upon the selected locations chosen for the zipper pulls 40a and 40b.

[0039] FIG. 10 illustrates that the upper zipper pull can be moved to the upper extent of the zipper 40 (closing the zipper), while the lower zipper pull 40a is also moved partially or fully up the zipper 40 (opening the zipper), at the same time that the cuff closure 24a is opened (i.e., by releasing the securing member 44). Thus, the cuff 24 is opened enough to allow the rider 10 to easily put on or take off the jacket 20. It is to be noted however, that so long as the cuff 24 is closed by closure structure 24a, and even with the vent structure 26 open, the rider 10 is protected against having the sleeves 22 slide up along the rider's forearms in the event of a fall and slide. This is the case because the cuffs 24 remain secured about the riders'wrists regardless of whether the vent structure 26 is opened or closed. Further, in the event that the vent structure 26 is open during a fall and slide, the perforate panel 46 both limits the extent to which the slit 26a may gap open, and prevents gravel from entering the slit. Understandably, the rider would not want gravel inside of the jacket with him during such a slide after a fall from the motorcycle.

[0040] Turning now to FIGS. 5-8, these Figures fragmentarily illustrate an alternative embodiment of the jacket 20 that is the same as that illustrated and described above with the exception of the distinctions and differences illustrated and described below. Because of the similarities between the embodiment of FIGS. 1, and 9-11, and that of FIGS. 5-8, features which are the same or which are analogous in structure or function to those described above are referenced using the same numeral used above, and having one-hundred (100) added.

[0041] Viewing now FIGS. 5-8, and particularly FIG. 5, it is seen that the back panel 120r of a jacket 120 is illustrated. This back panel 120r carries an aerodynamic hump structure 128. Again, this hump structure 128 is formed principally by a flexible but rather stiff and shape-retaining foam core 130, which is in this case is removably secured to the back panel 120r of the jacket 120. The foam 130 core is covered with a similarly shaped portion of material 132, which material may be the same as or different from the material of the back panel 120r of the jacket 120. In this case, the material 132 is not stitched to the back panel of the jacket 120, but includes an outwardly extending peripheral flange or flap 48. This flap 48 extends in this embodiment entirely about the periphery of and is part of the aerodynamic hump structure 128. As is best seen in FIGS. 5 and 6, the hump structure 128 is secured to the back panel 120r of the jacket 120 by a pair of zippers 50 and 52 cooperatively circumscribing the foam core 130. That is, a first zipper 50 extends arcuately across a front aspect of the core 130 from a first end indicated by the arrow 50a to a second end indicated by arrow 50b. This zipper has elongate track or teeth portions that are joined when the zipper pull is at the location indicated by arrow 50a, and which are separable from one another when the zipper pull is moved to the position indicated by arrow 50b. Similarly, a second zipper 52 extends arcuately from a first end indicated by the arrow 52a to a second end indicated by arrow 52b. Again, and similarly, the second zipper 52 has elongate track or teeth portions that are joined when the zipper pull is at the location indicated by arrow 52a, and which are separable from one another when the zipper pull is moved to the position indicated by arrow 52b. As will be understood, one of the elongate zipper track portions or teeth portions of each zipper 50 and 52 is secured to the aerodynamic hump structure 128, while the mating portion of the zipper is secured to the back panel 20r of the jacket 20.

[0042] Again, in order to provide for ventilation through the aerodynamic hump structure 128, this structure carries at least one forwardly opening scoop 134. The scoop 134 defines an opening 134a receiving a portion of the air flow 116, as is indicated by arrow 116b. This scoop 134 also defines a passage 134b leading from the opening 134a toward a through passage 130a defined by the foam core 130. The passage 130a leads to a ventilation opening 120v defined by the rear panel 120r of the jacket 120. In this embodiment, the ventilation opening 120v may be quite large, so that ventilating air is presented to the liner 138 of the jacket over a considerable area. This wide area coverage of the ventilating air favorably contributes to keeping the rider cool without creating an uncomfortable “cold” spot.

[0043] However, as will be appreciated in view of the explanation above, the aerodynamic hump structure 128 is removable from the rear panel 120r of the jacket 20 by moving the zipper pulls of zippers 50 and 52 to the locations indicated by arrows 50b and 52b, and then disengaging the zipper tracks or zipper teeth portions from one another. This results in the aerodynamic hump structure 128 being removed from the jacket 120. The hump structure 128 is, of course, capable of being reinstalled on the jacket 120 by actions in the reverse of the removal actions just explained. However, it is also clear that once the hump structure 128 is removed from the jacket 120, this jacket is left with a rather large opening 120v through the rear panel 120r, and opening to the liner 138 of the jacket. In order to provide a closure for this opening 120v when the wearer of the jacket wishes to use the jacket without the aerodynamic hump structure 128, this embodiment provides for a closure member 54 to be zipped onto the jacket in the same way as the hump structure 128 would be. That is, the closure member 54 is shaped like the hump structure 128 in plan view (i.e., in rear elevation view of the jacket), but does not include a hump or ventilation openings. Again, in elevation view, as is seen in FIG. 8, the member 54 is substantially flat. This closure member 54 includes zipper tracks or teeth portions 54a and 54b just like those on the hump structure, which are engageable with the portion of the zippers 50 and 52 secured to the jacket 120, and are disposed under a covering peripheral flap 56. In this case, the peripheral flap portion 56 is a peripheral portion of the closure member 54 outwardly of the zipper portions 54a and 54b. When the closure member 54 is secured to the jacket, the opening 120v is closed by this closure member, and the zippers 50 and 52 are concealed by the flap 56. Preferably, the closure member is made to include matching surface colors and possibly matching graphics to the back panel 120r of the jacket 120. Thus, when the closure member 54 is in place on the jacket 120, the jacket appears much as a conventional jacket would appear from the back.

[0044] Finally, turning now to FIGS. 12-14, taken in conjunction with one another, yet another alternative embodiment of the present invention is illustrated, and will be described in enabling detail below. This embodiment also shares many features with the embodiment illustrated in FIGS. 1 and 9-11 above, so features which are the same as or which are analogous in structure or function to those illustrated above are referenced on FIGS. 12-14 using the same numeral used above and increased by one-hundred (100). Viewing FIGS. 12-14 it is seen that the sleeve cuff closure 124a, and the sleeve ventilation structure 126, are in this embodiment are each formed by a respective and separate one of a pair of lengthwise extending slits 126a and 126b, one (126a) running across the cuff 124 and partially upwardly along the forearm portion of each sleeve 122r and 122l (only the left sleeve 122l being seen in FIGS. 12-14), and the other (126b) running from the cuff 124 upwardly along the forward and inner aspect of the sleeve. It is seen that the slit 126b does not open through the cuff 124. That is, the slit 126b is dead ended, and ends at one end at about the cuff 124, and ends at its other end intermediate of the length of the respective sleeve 122. The slits 126a and 126b are spaced circumferentially apart from one another.

[0045] The slits 126a and 126b are each selectably opened and closed according to the wished of the rider 110. That is, the slit 126a is closed by a respective cuff closure 124a including a strap or tab 142 and a fastening member 144, along with a slide fastener 58 (i.e., a zipper in this embodiment, although the invention is not so limited). This zipper 58 has only a single zipper pull (or slide member) 58a, which closes the slit 126a when it is adjacent to the cuff, and which opens this slit as it is moved fully upwardly along the slit 126a away from the cuff. As is seen in FIG. 13, when the cuff closure 124a is opened then the slit 126a is open along its length to allow the rider 110 to easily put on or take off the jacket 120.

[0046] At the other slit 126b, the sleeve vent structure 126 is opened or closed dependent upon the wishes of the rider 110. That is, the sleeve vent structure 126 is partially or fully opened by having the zipper pull 140a slid partially or fully along the zipper 140 toward the opposite end of the zipper 140. The zipper 140 may have the zipper pull 140 disposed either in the upper position when this zipper is closed, or the zipper pull 140 may be disposed at the lower end of this zipper when the zipper is closed. In either case, the rider 110 can partially or fully open the forearm sleeve ventilation structure 126 by moving the zipper pull 140a partially or fully to the opposite end of its travel. As is seen in FIG. 14, when the rider 110 opens the sleeve ventilation structure 126, the gapping open of the slit 126b is controlled by a perforate panel 146 spanning across this slit and secured to the material of the sleeve 122 at opposite sides of this slit. In this case, the perforate panel 146 is preferably canoe-shaped (i.e., with convergent or pointed ends) to allow the slit to open but to help carry stresses at the ends of this slit.

[0047] In view of the above, it is to be noted that the forearm sleeve ventilation structures disclosed above provide ventilation and air flow along essentially the full length of the arm of the wearer of the jacket. That is, if desired, the wearer can achieve ventilating air flow from just above the cuff of the jacket upwardly along the arm and into the body of the jacket. On the other hand, the wearer can shut off this ventilating air flow when desired by closing the vent structure. Similarly, the ventilated aerodynamic hump structure provides for ventilation of the jacket and both improves air flow along the back of the jacket to reduce buffeting, and also offers improved protection to the wearer in the event of a fall by offering support to the helmet so that the rider's head is less likely to be flexed backwardly to an excessive extent.

[0048] While the present invention has been depicted, described, and is defined by reference to a single particularly preferred embodiment of the invention, such reference does not imply a limitation on the invention, and no such limitation is to be inferred. The invention is capable of considerable modification, alteration, and equivalents in form and function, as will occur to those ordinarily skilled in the pertinent arts. The depicted and described preferred embodiment of the invention is exemplary only, and is not exhaustive of the scope of the invention. Consequently, the invention is intended to be limited only by the spirit and scope of the appended claims, giving full cognizance to equivalents in all respects.