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Original Article:
The American Culture of Motorcycle Safety

Please discuss the Motorcycle.com article The American Culture of Motorcycle Safety in our Motorcycle Forums below. Use the reply button to let others know your comments or feedback on the article. Constructive criticism is always appreciated, along with your thoughts and personal opinions on the bikes and products we have tested.
 

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Perhaps the points been missed

I would suggest that the point is: motorcycling without safety equipment is in it's self a social response by riders to our cultures obsession with making every aspect of the human condition without risk, pain, social cost, or even emotion.
I can't help but see the '60's picture of a Cowboy after OSHA. He literally can't do his job for all of the safety equipment.
So, in short for many you can't really ride a motorcycle and have the "motorcycle" experience and be 'geared up' for safety. Doing the one negates the actual experience and therefore negates the reason for riding.
Humans keep finding new ways to take risks and get the high associated with that risk. Your Brain chemistry insertion says it all. So the question becomes...Why ask Why?
As for society paying for someone who crashes and can no longer take care of themselves - our "take from the haves and give to the havnots" government has already decided to do that for everyone else. Why point a finger at bikers and say you can't ride as you choose because it may cost society. If I fall down a flight of stairs and can't work or take care of myself any longer society will see that I am taken care of. I could have used the elevator, stayed in and avoided the risk of the stairs, or even have everything delivered. But I risked the stairs.
So in conclusion, unless you require everyone to stay home and never risk a single crash, fall, or what-have-you, life is a risk at some level and always will be. Unless you wish to remove ALL risks don't pick and choose which risks some can and cannot take.
As to the point of logic and safety wear. It's not logical to place oneself on a giant roman candle and get shot into space just to find out what's there, and it sure isn't logical to place oneself in harms way for others that would limit someone else in their personal freedom.
By the way, I always wear full gear and a full face helmet. I hate the pain of skin grafts, and I want to leave a smiling face for the casket.
 

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Super Duper Mod Man
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This whole article talks about clothing and helmets. What about the bike itself? If safety and responsibility are really the issues, then why would anyone need a 175 horsepower bike that can top 190 mph? How about making sure each bike only has about 50 horsepower, which is more than enough, and speed limited to 100 mph? I bet that proposal won't go over big!
 

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The Toad
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All I can think of is Bertrand Russell, "One should respect public opinion in so far as is necessary to avoid starvation and to keep out of prison, but anything that goes beyond this is voluntary submission to an unnecessary tyranny, and is likely to interfere with happiness in all kinds of ways."

Mind your own business.
 

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The article talked about a plan to spend $3 to $5 million for another "Hurt" type motorcycle safety study, but they realized the funding really needed to be more than double that to achieve a meaningful result.

If you want to achieve motorcycle safety and get the best bang for your bucks, spend your money on training. A well trained rider is going to:

A) make better decisions on what to wear safety wise
B) make a better decision on which bike to get
C) avoid a lot of the stupid "noob" accidents that make up the majority of bike accidents
D) influence the people they ride with in a positive way

Because we like freedom and we have 50 states, each with their own laws, rider training gives everyone a baseline to start from without having to enforce intrusive legislation, either on the riders or the manufacturers. I'd like to be able to choose to pull my helmet off on A1A early Sunday am., and put it back on for the ride back down the coast on I-95 later in the day. Likewise it would be nice to have a RR bike to ride to the track for the occasional high speed ride and something more practical for the commute.

You can't bolt on skill, and there is no substitute for experience, but you can move people along on both fronts with quality training.
 

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Super Duper Mod Man
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"If you want to achieve motorcycle safety and get the best bang for your bucks, spend your money on training. A well trained rider is going to:"

Not fall down and not hit things. After that, it doesn't matter what they wear. Safety is between the ears.
 

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Because riders are not on the road alone, they can be hit by others, even if they are cautious and following all the rules of the road. (For example, you can be hit from behind.) So it does matter what you wear, and safety is not just between the ears.
 

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Super Duper Mod Man
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Because riders are not on the road alone, they can be hit by others, even if they are cautious and following all the rules of the road. (For example, you can be hit from behind.) So it does matter what you wear, and safety is not just between the ears.
Those are few and far between examples. I could slip and fall and kill myself getting out of bed, but it just doesn't happen that often, so I don't wear my helmet to bed. I look at it this way, if you are really worried about geting hurt, take up golf. Don't ride a motorcycle. Complete safety is nowhere to be found if I use your examples, because there are thousands of dead guys that got killed with full gear on, so I guess it really doesn't matter what you wear after all.
 

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I think you pays yer money and you takes yer chances. It's not like the old days when the only safety gear was a jean jacket and helmet, there's a plethora of choices now from armored mesh gear to full leather racing suits custom made to fit you available. It's up to the individual rider to chose the level of protection he or she is comfortable with.

My own choice is more weather driven than anything else and I prefer to ride geared up as much as possible, however if I'm going to be sweating like a horse to go for a nice ride around it takes away the fun, in those situations I'll wear jeans or even shorts and a shirt.

Not the safest choice? no I suppose it isn't. I always wear a helmet boots and gloves though, a good knock on the head could turn me into a cabbage, road rash on the palms of your hands means you can even wipe your own back side and your feet have a jillion tiny bones that all have to work together or you're a gimp. Yes road rash hurts, sweat is easier to wash off than blood and most accidents occure close to home....very well, on those occasions I chose not to gear up that's a risk I'll take. Around here the weather is cool enough most of the year that it's no problem to ride ATGATT, for the few short months it's not, well I just hope for the best and rely on my skill, my bikes braking and handleing and the grace of the goddess to keep me out of trouble
 

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The Toad
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Those are few and far between examples. I could slip and fall and kill myself getting out of bed, but it just doesn't happen that often, so I don't wear my helmet to bed. I look at it this way, if you are really worried about geting hurt, take up golf. Don't ride a motorcycle. Complete safety is nowhere to be found if I use your examples, because there are thousands of dead guys that got killed with full gear on, so I guess it really doesn't matter what you wear after all.
I think wearing the gear is a great idea. I just don't think it's anyone else's business. Not yours. Not the Govt's. Not Trent's. Not anybody's. These "studies"are always just excuses to interfere in your life.
 

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Super Duper Mod Man
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I think wearing the gear is a great idea. I just don't think it's anyone else's business. Not yours. Not the Govt's. Not Trent's. Not anybody's. These "studies"are always just excuses to interfere in your life.
I think it's a good idea too, but an unskilled moron is 100 times more likely to get killed or injured no matter what they are wearing. The really skilled and careful will rarely need their gear. I don't worry about it all that much. Government 'do gooders' scare me 100 times more than any car or 18 wheeler. I can avoid the vehicles. I don't think we can avoid the legislative a$$wipes.
 

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The Toad
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I think it's a good idea too, but an unskilled moron is 100 times more likely to get killed or injured no matter what they are wearing. The really skilled and careful will rarely need their gear. I don't worry about it all that much. Government 'do gooders' scare me 100 times more than any car or 18 wheeler. I can avoid the vehicles. I don't think we can avoid the legislative a$$wipes.
There just ain't no end to doin' good.
 

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As one who's been nailed from behind by a speeding suv, and paid the price, there are levels of safety you can achieve on a bike, but for the most part luck plays a big role.

I should have been dead or maimed long before it happened, from my obsession with 2 wheels and a motor. It just took a little longer to catch up with me.

You can wear a suit of inflateable armor, with proximinty devices and car seeking radar, but when you're number's up. That's it.

Cars hurt.
 

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I look at it this way, if you are really worried about geting hurt, take up golf. Don't ride a motorcycle.
GOLF? Jeebus Chrysler man, why not suggest taking up Russian Roulette? I mean - there are dudes out there swingin' around CLUBS, and have you ever had to dodge one of those feckin' BALLS as some divothead sliced the piss out of it just as you were ridin' through the tee-box?
 

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U know, when its your time to go that is it. On the other hand their are some basic things u can do that will help u out in a event of a minor get off.

I see a lot of flip flop wearing down here in FLA. I seen girls in skimpy bikinis running around on 600's before. I just cringe when i think about what could happen if they had a get off.

I guess because i grew up riding dirt bikes. I wrecked so much in my formative years that i have a healthy respect for what can happen if u don't have proper gear. Hell i ran into car's,tree's, even had a head on with another rider. All that before i was 10 :)

Each his own i guess.
 

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You know, as an Australian, this is a very interesting debate to observe.

In Australia, we have mandatory safety equipment, that is you have to wear a helmet. Further, we have limits on the power to weight ratio allowed in the early years of riding.

Seriously, I assure you we have not fallen apart and gone communist over it, it's just common sense. Like it or not, decisions regarding safety have an impact in terms of insurance premiums, hospital waiting times, emergency response time, all sorts of things. To me the need to wear at least a helmet sounds like a good compromise between saftey nuts and freedom nuts; wearing an open face helmet surely isn't going to suddenly ruin your ability to enjoy a motorcycle is it?
 

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Super Duper Mod Man
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"Seriously, I assure you we have not fallen apart and gone communist over it, it's just common sense."

Seriously, yes you have gone communist and a bit stupid as well. When the government of any country starts to make laws 'for your own good', then it has gone the way of the nanny state. I don't need anyone to tell me what is good for me. If you do, then stay in Australia where you can be ruled by many more 'common sense' laws.
 

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Snuggles
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You know, as an Australian, this is a very interesting debate to observe.

In Australia, we have mandatory safety equipment, that is you have to wear a helmet. Further, we have limits on the power to weight ratio allowed in the early years of riding.

Seriously, I assure you we have not fallen apart and gone communist over it, it's just common sense. Like it or not, decisions regarding safety have an impact in terms of insurance premiums, hospital waiting times, emergency response time, all sorts of things. To me the need to wear at least a helmet sounds like a good compromise between saftey nuts and freedom nuts; wearing an open face helmet surely isn't going to suddenly ruin your ability to enjoy a motorcycle is it?
Motorcycles are dangerous. Period. 'Common sense' safety would be to remove them from the market...kind of like how Australia did with firearms.
 
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