Thursday, May 19, 2011

May is Safety Month - ATGATT or overkill? You decide.....

Driving a two wheeled vehicle today whether a scooter or a motorcycle still doesn't seem to garner much respect from our car driving brethren.  I think motorcycles have come a long way from the greaser in the 50's and the easy rider days of the 60's & 70's.  There has been a certain cachet associated with motorcycling over the years.  The most phenomenal change and growth has been with an upswing of female riders, our numbers are growing bigger every year.  We are making the motorcycle industry think "woman" and asking for more to accommodate our style of riding whether it be on a scooter or a motorcycle.  Gear is finally coming out that appeals to our fair gender, it fits us better, there is more choice and actually style. I can remember when I first started dating motorcycle man back in the early 1980's there wasn't much out there for me to choose from, it always was too big and had a boxy look to it.  I usually ended up wearing something of motorcycle man's, rolling the legs up and I looked like a kid playing dress-up.  

During those heady days in my 20's I admit to not following my current philosophy of ATGATT.  Yup I was the doofus (albeit a cute doofus) clinging on the back in my little shorts and t-shirt and probably wearing a cute little shoe. (I had tons of ice-mist on my hair when I took the helmet off my hair was still perfect!) I wonder how we made it so far with our skin intact!  The #1 reason was luck #2 motorcycle man is a good driver #3 luck.  Back in the 80's ATGATT consisted of helmet, jeans and leather jacket, sneakers or boots.  Things were slowly changing in the gear industry with the introduction of better fabrics and design.  Motorsports were taking off with a new emphasis being placed on safety.  

I still see the "cute doofuses" straddled on the back of their motorcycle man's ride, gear-less with the exception of their helmet, going blindly down the road without a care in the world.  This attitude doesn't usually change until there has been an accident or the age with wisdom thing happens.  After my daughter came along I hardly went riding on the back of motorcycle man's bike, I knew that one of us had to make sure we were there for her, that may seem fatalistic but for me it was reality.  As I matured I put my "wild" side away in a drawer for a little while.  I pull it out now and then just to remind me of how I used to be in the glory days, but now I make the choice to wear full safety gear.  I admire the women motorcyclists and scooterists who wear full gear because they are taking care of themselves and the ones they love by doing this.  

Interpretation of what ATGATT means will vary from rider to rider, type of 2 wheeled vehicle, gender and of course age.  To some ATGATT means just a helmet, to others it is the whole bag of chips; helmet, armored jacket & pants, gloves, boots, or full leathers.  Its ironic how we make sure our helmets are DOT approved, but then forget about protecting the rest of our body. When we are young we think we are invincible.   When we are older we know that we aren't and we do dent.  We just wish to take the moment in time back when we got hurt.  Even little falls/crashes can be enough to change our daily lives with mobility issues or just plain old pain. Seriously I am not an old lady, I have just seen too much working in the medical field and my personal experience.  

A large percentage of motorcycle accidents do not have good outcomes, they are catastrophic and instantaneous.  Invariably there is someone left dealing with loss of their loved one, or the person not coming out of it whole and irrevocably changed forever.  

Whether you practice ATGATT or not, all I am asking is that you have an open mind and try on some gear. Anyone who has had an accident will tell you that the cost of ATGATT in the grand scheme of things is relatively cheap. It's not about being cool or projecting an image, quite simply it is giving you the survival edge and by driving a 2 wheeled vehicle that edge is very fine indeed.  

If what I am projecting is that I am a geek scooter rider wearing full motorcycle gear in heavy traffic all I have to say is "Hey thats okay with me because I need every advantage I can get while driving beside several thousands of pounds of rolling death." 


Circle Blue said...

I wear the gear. Even when it is over 100F degrees I wear helmet, Tourmaster Mesh Jacket, hi-vis vest, riding pants, knee pads, boots, good gloves, and most often a back protector and full hip pads . . . and, I ride a Symba :-)

I know I get the looks, but when I started to ride I promised my sweetie I would do everything I could do to be safe and gearing up is something I can do to improve my odds of keeping my skin where it belongs and not on the road.

Thanks for the share,

Dar said...

Hi Circle Blue

Good for you! I agree with you completely & I don't care if I am known as the geeky scooterist that's geared up. Been there & done with a wipe-out & once was enough for me. IMHO it doesn't matter what you ride motorcycle or scooter, if you are hit by a car, fall or crash it all hurts the same and for me it is all about coming out of it 'whole' or as close to it as possible. Pavement and car bumpers don't discriminate when you are tumbling across it or being run over by it.

Keep the rubber side down!


hi vis safety vest said...

Well, as per my knowledge a large percentage of motorcycle accidents do not have good outcomes, they are catastrophic and instantaneous.