Wednesday, June 1, 2011
It's that time of year again when the roads are filled with motorcycles. Of course, I hope everyone will be extra cautious. "Look twice and save a life!"
But, chances are, they won't. And afterwards, they will always say the same thing - I never saw the guy.
No, this time, I want to talk to the motorcyclist. The squid on the crotch rocket with a full face helmet, shorts and flip-flops. The guy on the harley wearing a beanie helmet the size of a small cereal bowl. The guy in SC with no helmet at all.
I know, individual freedom. Hey, this is America! Do what you want! And let's be honest, protective gear is made for low side get-offs at relatively low speeds, hitting nothing solid and taking a bit of a slide. Anything more than that, and you're dead anyway. I get that.
But, why ignore a risk you have some control over? Dress for the crash, and not the ride! ATGATT - All The Gear All The Time!
In October 2006, I was enjoying a leisurely ride on an '06 Honda ST1300. I had already put 12,000 miles on that bike in 4 months. That day, I was close to the end of a 2 hour ride, and was less than a mile from my house. I was forced off the road at 50 mph by an inattentive driver. Truthfully, I was riding a bit agressively, and was surprised and completely out of position when, without signals, he abruptly turned left into a driveway that I didn't see, so I'll share the blame. Light contact with the car, a high side into the road, then sliding off the road. I was wearing the helmet pictured above, armored jacket, armored pants and leather gloves. Doesn't look like much damage to the helmet, does it? Still, I got a concussion. Also, 7 broken ribs, a broken bone in my hand, a quarter-sized road rash where the elbow seam failed, assorted bruises and a friction burn on my shoulder. The synthetic material outside of the armor got so hot it melted the skin off my shoulder. Five years later, and I still have a white spot there roughly 2 inches in diameter. The ER doctor told Pam if it weren't for the jacket, I wouldn't have a shoulder. The bike was totaled.
I was lucky. No protective clothing will prevent broken bones. But it could have been so much worse. A couple of months in my recliner looking out the window, a few bottles of Hydocodon, and I was fine.
There are two types of riders - those who have crashed, and those who are going to crash. So, its your choice. ATGATT, or not. I will pass along a name the ER doctors have for the "or not" crowd - Organ Donors.