Recently I was reminded of the role of safety gear by one of my readers and fellow adventurers who happened to be with me on this trip. I did not take the opportunity in the story to emphasize my opinion on the importance of safety gear. (I SHOULD HAVE) When pushing the limits of equipment and skill the only thing standing between you and a life altering injury is your safety gear and a little bit of dumb luck. This is only my opinion…everyone has one…
We should always plan in order for things to go right and to be prepared for when they go wrong. We set out on adventures with the hopes that all our planning, studying, practice, prepping, and thoughts towards a successful trip are enough to stave-off ‘pulling the short straw’. I have been placed in position of ‘rescuer’ for those who have pulled a short straw as well as assisted in first response and the recovery of those who pulled the ‘final straw’. It is not good for anyone involved. So know thy safety procedures and gear.
Ok enough of the preaching. Here is the full story behind how myself and a rider operationally tested our safety gear on the Motorcycle up Plaskett Road near Big Sur.
Contributing factors – Tired, weather threatening, soft rear brakes (?), riding beyond the capability of the bike and rider; with a fully loaded bike given all these other circumstances.
Gear in use – Helmets, Jackets, gloves, boots.
Injuries prevented – Broken hands/feet, head trauma, shoulder trauma, Elbow trauma, and road rash on all parts listed.
Gear not in use – Riding pants.
Injuries sustained – bruised hips/thighs, 4 inch round road rash on my knee.
It is pretty evident that the injuries sustained were only to parts of the body which were not properly protected; Legs. Even though they were minor injuries (and everyone handled working through the soreness for the rest of the trip like champs) they were preventable.
The accident occurred at very low speed 3-5mph, was instantaneous, and tossed both riders into an uphill dirt/stone wall. Both of us hit our heads on the uphill wall enough to put scratches on the helmets, shoulders and elbows of the jackets. When a heavy bike goes down it is never pretty regardless of speed.
This message is not motorcycle specific. We have safety considerations in the kitchen, at home, when traveling, boats, work, and in any other kind of activity we engage in. Have you ever done Yoga in jeans? I am pretty sure it would be uncomfortable for most….downright dangerous for ‘your boys’ (if you have them). Maybe a bad example but you get the point. One should wear/have the proper equipment for the task. If you really know what you are doing you also will have the requisite understanding of safety.
Be safe… Go outside and play!!
Not convinced? Here is another story about motorcycle and safety gear that might change your mind. Short rides with no gear are just as dangerous. The woman in this story is a beast for going through this and still continues to ride. That takes a truly amazing person.