Should You Wear the Gear?
Having ridden motorcycles for such a short time I have come to my final conclusions regarding the wearing of safety gear while riding. My “opinion” might surprise some, but in the end, you’ll have to agree with me 😊.
So, let’s start with wearing protective gear or not wearing protective gear has got to be an individual choice. Certain states require the use of a motorcycle helmet. In those state, you need to be wearing a helmet. Other than that, if you chose not wear a helmet in states where not required, don’t wear a helmet. I get it … the open air, the sense of “freedom” … the idea of being able to do what you want … you should have the right not to wear “safety” gear.
As I have looked around and observed what riders wear it seems that many wear a “uniform” of sorts. For example, you may see the Harley Davidson riders with maybe jeans, heavy boots, some kind of a leather vest, long chain attached to their belt loop and wallet, perhaps a colorful bandana and a helmet that covers the basic top of the head. The BMW guy/girl is in matching pants and jacket, full faced helmet, sitting up tall. The “crotch rocket” rider, they are a special bunch. I have seen them bent over their bikes in shorts, tank tops, tennis shoes and helmet splitting lanes at 70 mph and then others in full racing leather attire. I think it’s kind of cool that almost every rider has “riding clothes”, an individual style that works for them. Again, I think all should wear whatever makes them feel good.
Now, let’s talk about “my people”, the Gold Wing riders😊. Similar to the crotch rocket group. You see everything. Many wear the open faced helmet with dark sun glasses. They wear a dark colored vest with all kinds of metals and awards attached. The shirt under the vest is usually a bright color like red, blue or yellow. Most wear jeans and boots. If they have a rider, they usually match. Others wear a protective jacket, of course, matching the passenger.
Again, I feel each should ride with what makes them feel good! “Wear All the Gear All the Time” or not, whatever makes you happy. No one should judge another for what they wear. Just be sure to tease the Gold Wing rider with a one piece suit!
What do I do?
Let me just say it now and then justify my choice. I wear a full-face helmet (modular) and an Aerostich R3 suit with Tourmaster boots. There, now you know I wear a uniform. Let’s back up and let me share why I choose to wear what I wear. By the way, I am not paid by anybody to use these products.
When I started riding I researched all that I could about the “dangers” of riding. It seems like the latest US data is from 2015. There was something like 8.5 million motorcycle riders in the US. In that year approximately 5 thousand died in motorcycle related accidents and 40 thousand more were injured in a motorcycle accident. Based on those facts (approximate numbers), there is a 99.5% chance you will not be injured or die in a motorcycle accident. Or there is less than a half of one percent chance of being injured in a motorcycle accident.
With the statistics showing how few motorcycle riders get in accidents why worry about the gear? That is a great question! Here is my answer for me: motorcycle crashes and airplane crashes are similar in that when either happens there is often pain/suffering and often times death. For me, I choose to wear the gear to simply offer some protection from the unlikely fall or crash.
Road rash. This is often harder to recover from than a broken wrist, collar bone, arm or leg. Road rash can take up to a couple of years to heal. There is lots of pain, potential for horrendous infections, skin grafts, etc.. The pictures of road rash are atrocious! Google “motorcycle road rash” and look at the pictures … why not protect your skin? It just makes sense to me. Again, I feel each rider should wear what they want … choose your own uniform, whatever it may be. For me the Aerostich R3 provides great protection from road rash in case of a slide. There is other great gear that provides protection from road rash, I simply like the Aerostich suit.
Broken bones. I have read that there are a lot of broken collar bones in motorcycle crashes. The bike slides away and while hanging on to the grips you land smack dab on your shoulder and pop goes the collar bone. Why not wear gear that provides a type of shoulder pad to give you a chance to save the collar? My first riding jacket had a shoulder pad, however, it was very thin and weak … it might have helped. Again, not trying to sell the Aerostich, but, the pads in the R3 are substantial enough you actually believe they will protect you.
Pads in the elbow and knee area are also important. The knee and elbow seem to take a beating with almost every fall at speed. It just seems like a good idea to have some kind of padding in that area. I added hip pads to my Aerostich suit. Why not? Do you not hit your hip every time you fall? I also have the back pad installed. Maybe a bit of over kill …. It just makes me feel good to have this suit on!
Another reason why I bought the Aerostich is the idea of a one-piece suit. The R3 slips right over your clothes and takes 15 seconds to get on and off.
Let me conclude by reiterating that I feel every rider should wear whatever makes them comfortable. Riders should be free to choose to wear gear or not and that includes wearing a helmet. For me I feel super comfortable wearing all the gear (almost) all the time😊.
Let me know what you think … leave a comment.