Motorcycle Safety : Clothing

A Quick Ride – What WILL Go Wrong

Quite a few years back I was getting ready for a Sunday of riding. To be clear, I was a total tenderfoot and motorcycle safety was something that worried me. But what I worried about was crashing into someone who wasn’t watching ME. Forget about me watching them. That went without saying.

So, back to the story. My girlfriend and I were waiting for some friends to come to our house. From there we planned to take off on half day ride. I was watching TV when my girlfriend yelled to me that we needed to get some drinks for the ride.  Great idea. She was going to take the car but I said why don’t we just take the bike. We did.

Just as we were approaching the convenience store two of my friends passed us from the opposite direction. I instinctively waved and turned to see if they saw us. As this was going on I had started a right hand turn into the parking lot. In the curb was some sand. And yep, we went down.

I got by with some scrapes on my hands and a bruised ego. My girlfriend wasn’t as lucky. She fell under the bike. She had multiple scratches and cuts but the worst part was that when the bike fell on her she the exhaust pipe fell on her leg and pinned her down momentarily. Several people ran to assist and the bike was back up in a matter of less than two minutes. But the damage was done. You could smell the burned flesh.

I won’t bore you with the details of what happened next. Let’s just say, it wasn’t fun for anyone.

Motorcycle Safety. What Was Wrong.

  1. We weren’t wearing protective clothing. She was wearing shorts, a tank top, and sandals. I was wearing jeans, tee-shirt, and sneakers. We were both wearing helmets.
  2. I took my eye off my intended path. Even if just for an instant.

What We Should Have Worn

  1. Wear clothing designed to protect your body. Jeans are maybe not the best but ok. Shorts are not.
  2. Wear a jacket. Leather is one of the best materials. Any jacket made for motorcycling is better than nothing. It should be long sleeved and buttoned up.
  3. Wear riding boots. You don’t have to spend a fortune if you don’t have it. Work boots are fine. Any boots that protect the ankles and legs as well as the feet. Steel toe boots are great.
  4. Wear Gloves. Sturdy gloves. Hell, work gloves from the hardware store will work fine. No excuses
  5. Don’t ride your bike if you are not dressed properly. Even if it’s just for a ride around the block.
  6. Never, never, NEVER take your eyes off where you are going especially if you are turning.

The Aftermath

My girlfriend still has a scar on her leg. The pain immediately after and the next week or so are hard even for me to recount. Although I didn’t get hurt badly I was out of work for a few days. They had to pick sand out of my hand with tweezers. Karen’s scrapes and burns kept her out of action for several weeks. She would never get on a bike with me again.

The proper clothing would not have eliminated all the injuries but none of them would have been severe. This was just a short mile and a half, spur of the moment, short ride.

It happens. It happens fast. Even when you least expect it. Wear the right clothes every time you get on your bike. Unless of course you are just admiring the speedometer.

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