15 September 2010


Where to begin here?
I've actually seen folks out riding like those in the photo above. And I've also loaded victims of both motorcycle and car accidents who have found themselves sliding down the road at speeds MUCH faster than you can run. It's painful just lookin' at those wounds.

Gimme a chance to do a practical exercise with the gal in that picture...
Nevermind the idiot at the controls of the bike. He's improperly dressed too, but if he falls he has no one to blame but himself. He's also responsible for her well-being and he's failed miserably, hasn't he?
I'd like to talk to her and give her a piece of coarse sandpaper.

You wouldn't take a piece of heavy grit sandpaper and scrub your thigh with it for several seconds, would you? But the effect of falling off that bike onto the pavement will be several orders of magnitude worse than that. Falling off the bike at speed can scrub off flesh all the way to the bone...
And then bone begins to be ground off too.
Yes, I've seen it many, many times.
That's the chance those two are taking.

So yesterday we started preparing for our Fall "Pizza Bike" rides and went shopping for gear.
We heard of a store that has quality merchandise for discount prices and stopped there first. There we found a nice leather jacket with removable lining for Sara Jean. We also found a set of cute "Harley Davidson" branded lace-up boots at a surprising price. We bought matching reinforced leather gloves with zippered backs.
As we were making our way to the cash register one of the workers from the store who had seen our motorcycle gear said, "It's probably not a good time to go out right now."
"Because some lady just ran a red light in front of the store and clobbered a guy on a bike. His leg was up around his head."
Thanks for the warning.

Sure enough, driving out of the store we saw a Harley Davidson dresser alongside the road in the dying cockroach position. The ambulance with the critically injured dude was already on the way to the hospital and another ambulance was still attending to the gal that ran the light and struck him.

We drove on to the Harley shop where we bought two helmets, a full-face for me and an open face for SJ, and a flat shield to fit hers. SJ also found another pair of boots there... ($149.88!!)
"They're just SO cute!". (Of course they are!)
Her response gave me two thoughts:
1. I've created a monster.
2. At least she wasn't so put off by the horribly mangled Harley that she won't get on behind me.

I know, once again I'm rehashing here...
I can mitigate, but not completely eliminate the risk of riding. Riding like you're invisible is part of it. And protecting important body parts just makes good sense, doesn't it?
...Helmets to soften the blow to the skull.
...Protective jackets, gloves, heavy trousers, and boots to insure the first thing making contact with the industrial-grade sandpaper is not our flesh.
We've literally got it covered and are ready to go when I've got license in hand.

The gal (and guy) in the picture above?
(... Shakes head in amazement.)
I may meet 'em during my next shift.
You could easily read about 'em some day.

More information as I publish:
My company flew the guy involved in the accident I mentioned above.
He apparently wasn't wearing a helmet.

He died.


jinksto said...

I used to take a lot of ribbing from the guys that I ride with because it took me a few extra minutes to "gear up" anytime we got on the bikes. I was a little bothered by it but never gave up the practice of wearing everything.

Now I just offer to show them my old full face helmet which looks like it's been clobbered by a baseball bat. I haven't even cleaned the blood off of it. I explain that every dent in that helmet SHOULD have been a dent in my noggin. No thanks.

MEL for me is full face helmet, gloves and boots. For anything further than a 3 mile trip to the convenience store it includes a full leather jacket with armor. For Cross Country or trips longer than 50 miles one way it also includes leather chaps.

I've lived through one trip to the emergency room with "only" moderate head trauma. I intend to live through the next one too.

CJ said...

Seems to me you're in an excellent position to preach what you're preaching - as a rider and as someone who deals with the idiot riders.

I know they don't listen but keep on telling 'em, GB.