Wednesday, June 1, 2011

ATGATT!


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.

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