Let's face it, if you want to guarantee that you will never be injured in a motorcycle accident (as a rider), don't ride. Obviously everyone on this forum has decided the rewards of riding, especially meeting other riders, are worth the risk. Once one has made that choice there are some basic considerations that can minimize one's risk of injury:
- Training and practice, including learning from others
- Ride within one's ability and comfort level
- Ride defensively. Respect weather and traffic conditions. Consider all other motorists guilty, until proven innocent, of doing the wrong thing
- Wear the gear. Each of us will make choices as to how much risk we are willing to take with respect to gear. Many of us don't own gear that provides maximum protection. This could be due to budget, aesthetics or other reasons. Some of us don't wear all of our gear all of the time, probably for convenience or enjoyment.
None of us would be participating in this thread if we didn't appreciate that reducing any of the above increases one's risk. I am more comfortable, under most conditions, wearing all of my gear (I've crashed my bicycle a few times, at relatively low speeds, and didn't enjoy the results!). Having said that I am headed out the door to drop off the motorcycle for servicing and will basically be wearing street clothes, as I will then walk to transit service and continue on to work. It is only 6 blocks away (I know, most accidents occur within two blocks of home), but I plan to ride very conservatively and my route has little traffic. I consider the risk very low and worth the convenience.
It is interesting to note that in Vancouver there seems to be a tremendous increase in speed-governed scooters (gas, electric, pedal-assisted, governed to under 50 or 60 kph) and I have not heard of, or seen, any accidents involving these machines. No doubt it happens, but considering the number of them, the rate must be fairly low. I've got to think that this is because they aren't fast and the type of person that rides them is, generally, a cautious rider. Few of these riders wear any protective gear other than a helmet. No special licence is required, hence it is unlikely many have ever received any training. Anybody have any contrary knowledge or stats on this? I'd be interested to know.
Anyway, safe riding to all of you out there!