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- Riding Safer
- (1) Information
- (2) Biker ED
- (3) Driver ED
- (4) Conspicuity
- (5) Ready to Ride
- (6) Ultra Defensive
- (7) Evasion and Mitigation
- (8) Injury Mitigation
- (9) Rider Down
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Risk Hierarchy: Information - Rider Ed - Driver Ed - Conspicuity - Bike Defect - Ultra-Defensive Riding - Crash Avoidance - Injury Mitigation - Crash Scene
If we have to put our motorcycles down, our equipment might help us reduce the level of injury. We plough fearlessly through the many strong opinions on the matter, recognizing the right of bikers to reject this option in many states.
We were planning to wait until we see the report from the new OSU study on crash causation, but the study will be done in a helmet-law state, California, and the study organizers are careful to state that 'helmet use is not a major factor in crash causation' and they are not looking to deal with the issue.
As OSU is unlikely to decide the issue in the US, we went ahead and studied a couple of papers covering helmet outcomes in three studies (Pre-helmet California, helmet-wearing Europe and partly helmetless Thailand).
Equipment breaks out into several areas. Wikipedia's Motorcycle Safety Clothing is a good place to start. The MSF Basic Rider Course manual, pages 10 to 14, has a reasonable overview. In our opinion, Lee Park's book, Total Control, which we review here, has some of the best material on protective gear we have seen, and we refer to it constantly.
the equipment you wear has three important safety features:
- Comfort in the current riding situation. You have to be protected from the elements to stay safe.
- Conspicuity, which is a part of passive conspicuity
- Protection in the event of a crash
Here's our statement on the helmet controversy, and here's our disclaimer, which has a warning about hubris. Your gear can't guarantee you'll avoid injury in an accident. Even with the best gear, you need to consider all the sections in our safer riding guide, and work hard to avoid accidents.