Hot bodies & cool winds!
So, Summer will be upon us in a few months and there will undoubtedly be many days when the temperatures get quite warm and there will obviously be the temptation to shed the clothes and show some flesh!
It’s easy to defend against wearing protective clothing…especially when the weather is warm and dry…or rather it’s easy to rationalise it. “Nothing will happen…surely!” “Look…I’ll be riding really slowly so even if something did happen I’ll be fine!”
For some, there will be nothing wrong with that argument…for others there will be complete outrage at the lack of personal responsibility. Just a couple of weekends ago, I was taking a family trip in the car, it was a balmy Sunday afternoon and typically I saw a number of riders on the road just wearing shorts and a t shirt.
Typically my young son piped up from the rear seat…”Look Daddy…He’s so stupid, it’s so dangerous, he’s not wearing anything!”
I quickly told him: “It’s only dangerous if he has a crash!…and how he’s riding!”
What I was thinking was less about the lack of protection, but more about the way in which they were riding. Riding erratically, screeching up to traffic lights, taking bends at speed and on inside lines whilst trying to get a knee down…without sliders…OUCH!…DOH!
In my working life, we talk about ‘Gold Standards’…in care given to patients, in performance, in delivery of service etc. Certainly the gold standard for motorcycling is to wear protective clothing and equipment, but a failure to do so can be compensated somewhat to achieve an ‘acceptable silver standard’ by modifying riding styles and practices.
Don’t get me wrong, I believe in freedom of choice but I also believe in personal responsibility and accepting the reality of consequences. The problem is I know exactly what the consequences can be as I see them regularly at scenes of accidents.
What I find difficult to accept is when I see riders of all experiences, but mostly of limited/learner experience riding around in warm temperatures with little more than a bit of cloth between their skin and the road, and riding without any real control or any comprehension of the errors they are making or the possible errors of others.
I could stand on the soap box and scream…”Wear some protection…Wear Leather…Put some gloves on!” etc but the reality is that the riders who ride like that may not have a full comprehension of what they are doing, possibly do not care or are so confident in their own abilities that they feel an accident will never happen to them.
Here’s the scoop!…Nobody starts a journey knowing they will or will not have an accident! I guarantee virtually every accident I have attended.whilst working on air ambulances in over a 10yr period…not one driver or rider thought to themselves…Today I’m going to have an accident!
Interestingly I would say most accident victims, when asked afterwards, would say they would not do that again…or would do something different. They would not go so fast, they would wear better protection etc.
I’ve sometimes asked accident victims afterwards, “Knowing what you know now…would you have done something different?”…The answer is almost always…”Yes!”
So if we have this foresight of what might happen and what problems we could have during an accident and how long it really does take to recover from injuries..if indeed we can recover at all…then are we in a better position to spread the word amongst our fellow riders to wear something…and if not then seriously modify riding styles and reduce speeds?
Collectively it is possible to change attitudes…and that is what this really is about. It is about attitudes to risk, attitudes to hazard avoidance and the realisation of potential consequence.
Some of course will dismiss this…and that’s ok!…some will carry on regardless, some will occasionally ride without protection and some will always ride with. It will be a matter of choice. We as riders can only lead by example and demonstrate gold and silver standards every time we ride.
Wear appropriate clothing, gloves and boots, wear a fastened helmet. There are lots of alternatives for lightweight/Summer riding. Ride with greater awareness of hazards, greater control & purpose & modified styles & speeds!
Still not convinced…Well…over to you & I wish you well this summer!