Monday, December 10, 2007

Motorcycle Safety

What is with the motorcyclists who refuse to wear protective gear? I can understand to some extent the young squids who think they are immune from death and serious injury. They are young, probably haven't lost many friends to death, can't imagine that dying is something that happens to anyone who isn't ancient, like 30 years old. But what about the others? When I ride around I see a lot of middle aged folks, both men and women who ride in jeans, tennis shoes, no jacket, no gloves, no helmet. A lot of these people are professionals in the community. So where is their responsibility? They claim they have the right to wear whatever they want, whenever they want, and that they aren't hurting anyone. But their claim is false. Someone has to pay for the cleanup when they wreck and are injured. There is a lot more to it than them having insurance. What about the cost of police, and ambulance crews? We pay them out of our taxes. What about tying up emergency room personnel with preventable injuries? What about feeding the statistics that say that motorcycles are dangerous and anyone who drives them is a trouble causing danger to society? A lot of the negativity legitimate riders face every day is a direct result of people seeing the few who refuse to act responsibly. I read another newspaper article this morning on requiring more restrictions on getting motorcycle a license, and about how larger high performance bikes should be illegal. I so strongly disagree, but I can understand the feeling by those who don't ride.

What is responsibility for a motorcycle rider? Going through an MSF class and actually putting the techniques you learn to play every time you ride. That means riding ATGATT, All The Gear All The Time. And yes, I mean every time. I have three daughters who desperately want to ride who have never been so much as allowed to ride behind my husband or me one time around our cul de sac. Why? Because they don't have gear. Wearing a too large helmet and jeans isn't good enough. They know that if they ride, they will ride appropriately geared. If all kids were taught from a young age to have respect for motorcycles and to appreciate them as an environmentally responsible, not to mention unbelievably fun, mode of transportation, there would be fewer car/motorcycle accidents as these kids get behind the wheel. But school health classes don't teach motorcycle safety because it is too alternative. The schools think their time is better spent telling kids not to eat pizza while they watch tv at night. Of course when the kids go to get their hot lunch what is on the menu? Pizza, cookies, and chocolate milk.

Motorcycle safety is the responsibility of every rider. It is the responsibility of every parent who has a child who may someday want to be a rider. It is the responsibility of every person who gets behind the wheel of a car that shares our roads. But before we can ask car drivers to care about our safety, we have to demonstrate that we care. And until we put on our gear, it's not going to happen.


Anonymous said...

All the gear all the time? Hmmmm!Everyone has their opinion I guess. Most people I have come across that have taken these so called 2 day safety course needs a rude awakening. All that gear will not protect you if you are broad sided by someone doing 40mph or if you go down doing 65-70mph. Best protection you will ever have are your eye's, ear's and the common sense to know when to back off or when to speed up. I have more miles on the road then most instructer's have. I have driven in everything. I have driven cars, Semi-Truck's, Motorcycles. Knowing how to look at traffic and assessing how to drive or ride in it takes years of practice. Knowing the habits of other drivers and what to expect is half the battle. Why do you think there are so many deaths on motorcycles? People need extensive training in speed management, observation and just plain common sense.

Stephan said...

I see anonymous is in the bunch that tries to justify the unjustifiable. I fall into the all the gear all the time crowd. Gear may not help in the 40 mph broadside scenario BUT not wearing it will definitely make it worse. I really have never heard a good argument for not wearing gear. Most people who don't are lazy and I hope they never live to regret not wearing the gear.