Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Commute on 9/3/09

I was pleasantly surprised this morning on my way to work. Within a mile of home I saw two different scooterists apparently on their way to work also. Both were dressed in full armor and full face helmets. .
One was on a Honda and the other on a Vespa GTS. Got a nice wave from the guy on the Honda, the other guy probably didn't see me because of where he was in traffic. .
The reason for the surprise was how they were dressed. Around here there are a lot more motorcycles than scooters and I am always surprised at the number of riders that are not careful about what they wear, many not even using helmets. I fully admit that I haven't always been as careful as I am now about wearing gear. But I think I have learned. .
There is no scientific basis for my opinion, but it sure seems to me that scooterists around here are a maybe just a bit better about protecting themselves while riding than motorcyclists on a percentage basis. Not that I don't see some scooterists with shorts, t-shirts and flip flops, but I am constantly amazed at how many motorcyclists wear almost no protection at all. .
I sometimes feel that, because I try to wear ATGATT, that I am by far the exception rather than the rule. Maybe I should not be surprised. There is no helmet law here and If they ever bring it up at the state legislature, people scream bloody murder about infringement of our civil liberties. .
Last weekend I went to the bookstore to pick up a book that I had ordered. It is Mark Richardson's book "Zen and Now" that was recommended to me by Steve Williams at Scooter in the Sticks. I had recently made a comment on his blog that I had just finished reading Pirsig's book, "Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance". Like a lot of people, I enjoyed Pirsig's book, but was a little confused by some of it. Steve, in a comment back to me, recommended the book as a good way to follow up on Pirsig. .
As I was walking into the store, I noticed a very nice BMW 1200 motorcycle in the parking lot. What a beautiful piece of machinery it was. Yellow in color, shiny and looked fast and ready to rock and roll! As I was looking at it, my wife picked my tongue up off the ground and convinced me to get my butt into the store.
As we approached the entrance to the store, there sitting on a bench near the entrance, were 2 men. One was decked out in Joe Rocket full gear with a helmet sitting beside him on the bench as he talked with the other man. I thought to myself that this guy had to belong to that BMW, or vice versa, and this guy has it figured out. .
I didn't want to interrupt the conversation he was having with the other man, but If I had the opportunity, I would have tried to engage him in conversation to tell him how much I admired his machine. And to tell him that I admired his decision to wear ATGATT. .
I am sure I would not be able to convince everybody that ATGATT is a good idea; But I do know that my little mishap, now a little over a month ago, would have been a lot worse than it was if I hadn't had my gear on. In my opinion it is likely that I would have broken my collar bone without that pad being there. I might have broken a hip also. There is no doubt that I would have had a severe head injury if I hadn't been wearing a helmet. As it was I was only severely bruised. I do not even want to imagine dealing with the road rash in addition to what else happened to me. .
I do not care how hot it is outside. I will put on the jacket and pants. Always! It just provides more motivation for me to keep riding because as long as I am on the scooter and moving through the air, the heat does not seem to be a big factor. .
I am very thankful that I spent the money to purchase the gear and I think my family is also. And that is maybe what part of it is all about. .
If you do not want to wear gear to protect yourself, that certainly is your prerogative. I would be the last person to tell you how to live your life, but you might just want to consider your loved ones when you make that decision. They might have a different thought in mind. .
Sent from my BlackBerry® smartphone with SprintSpeed


  1. Jim, your experience definitely adds a dose of reality to the ATGATT idea. Next on my list is a full face helmet - I'm looking for an orange one, as I have read that this is one of the most seen colors.

  2. These comments/blogs/articles will have little impact on how people feel about helmets and gear but I am always interested in how people came to their decision. I always wear a (fullface) helmet but ATGATT Doesn't make as much sense. Sharon from Sojourners Moto Tales is an ATGATT rider and her mishap last year resulted in some injury and some pain. I can recover from broken bones and road rash but without my head/brain in good shape I would be pretty worthless. Dave from Cincinnati

  3. Lance,
    I went for a year with a half helmet. It protected me fine in my little mishap. Not entirely conviced that visibility is the most important feature in a helmet, but IMHO every little bit potentially helps. My new one is certainly a bit obnoxious in colors.
    Thanks for stopping by and take care,

  4. Dave in Cincy,
    I did not mean to come off as preachy about ATGATT. The intent was just to express some feelings that I have had. Helmets make definate sense. Lots of statisitcs to back that up. And I guess I am a bit of a numbers person. If nothing else, then ATGATT makes me feel a bit safer and confident and that is worth something. I am very glad I had it on when I had my accident, and am only more determined now to keep wearing it.
    A significant part of my riding is the daily commute in lots of traffic, so I think my chances for something bad happening are increased. I suppose I might have a different opinion if most of my riding was out in the country with little traffic.
    Appreciate your comment. I probably have some bad riding habits but continue to strive to improve myself. ATGATT is part of that.
    Take Care and Ride Safe,

  5. Jim,

    Ride your own ride. Lead by example. Well done.


    Folks often say they can survive broken bones and road rash. Really serious injuries that might not be fatal can become so if also accompanied by peripheral injuries. Like broken bones and road rash. From a medical standpoint, the resources available to a human body to deal with injury are finite. Like a fixed income.

    The body doesn't know how to budget expenses in this regard. It is programmed to heal everything. Resources that might be used to recover from a really serious injury will be used to work on the less serious stuff at the same time. In some cases the budget gets exceeded. The bank account is then closed permanently.

    Just food for thought.