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Written by Ketzal Sterling    Friday, 01 February 2008 13:04    PDF Print E-mail
Rider Safety
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Please take the time to read the following article, it may save your life. After I've explained the risks of riding I've listed the best methods of avoiding an accident in the first place. Hopefully they'll prove valuable and you'll enjoy incident free scootering for years to come.

From a recent motorcycle/scooter accident study:

The likelihood of injury is extremely high in the most common scooter/motorcycle accident-98% of the multiple vehicle collisions and 96% of the single vehicle accidents resulted in some kind of injury to the motorcycle rider; 45% resulted in more than a minor injury...

Now this may come as a complete surprise to some scooter riders but the following is actually true…scooters can be dangerous. What you say? A scooter, dangerous no way…you lie, it’s a scooter, it’s a cute little wee thing. Well folks I hate to be the bearer of bad news but when you crash…you will break.

No matter how many times people are told this…they simply don’t get it. I have decided to explain the perils you except every time you ride in well…rather a unique way. Hopefully it sinks in…if you’re already a super safe rider, well done, obviously you have either already crashed or are simply very smart. Okay…read on at your peril…I will apologize just once, for only the facts remain.

I’ll warm you up before the fun begins with this simple stat; in Italy scooter accidents are the number one cause of death for people aged between 14 and 25. NUMBER ONE…nothing else kills more young people. That alone should be enough for you to read on…

Imagine the following scenario; you stand approximately fifty meters away from a brick wall (color is irrelevant), you are wearing either a t-shirt and shorts or a singlet/tank-top and skirt depending on your gender, you take a deep breath then run as fast as can into the wall. (Stop a second and really think about this…imagine the fastest you’ve ever run…straight into the wall, no hands out in front, nothing, just your kisser right into the brick). As you can well imagine, this will hurt…a lot. In fact I doubt anybody with a correctly functioning brain would do this for any reason. If you are a very very fast runner you will reach approximately 40kph causing a rather violent impact. Your face will be mush; it’s also possible the impact could actually kill you due to skull fractures and head trauma. You may have many broken bones…generally things will be bad in your world.

Now if you repeat the same run while wearing an open face helmet the outcome will be much the same except your head trauma will be lessoned and you will most likely…not die. However, your face will probably still be mush as it is highly likely it will strike the wall to some degree.

Finally, we now repeat the test wearing a full complement of safety gear; (we’ll assume you can reach the same target velocity even though you will be wearing a lot of safety gear and a helmet…and well, you’ll also look pretty silly running in all this kit) you’ll be wearing a padded and approved motorcycle/scooter jacket, pants and gloves and a FULL FACE HELMET. The impact will still be very violent, you will possibly still break bones…but almost certainly you will not die and your lovely face will still be…lovely.

Now we step it up. This first test approximately simulated hitting a stationary car at 40kph, which is by far the most common accident for motorcycle and scooter riders. (Car driver doesn’t see the scooter; they pull out then see the scooter and panic stop directly in the path of the hapless rider) First let’s assume the accident is sudden (like most are) and you simply have no time to brake. (Usually it’s less than two seconds to avoid the car or stop) We’ll use 60kph as the target speed as it is the velocity most riders travel at in the average city. The outcome at this speed is far more severe, at this speed there is a high likely hood of severe injury and possible death. The likely hood of injury and death is still MASSIVELY reduced by wearing protective clothing and a FULL FACE HELMET.

Finally we’ll move up to the big smackaroonie, that wall is no longer stationary. It is traveling towards you at an equal velocity of 60kph; giving you a combined impact speed of 120kph. Put simply…if you crash into a car, bus, truck…pretty much any vehicle including another scooter at his velocity; it will be a miracle if you DON’T DIE. Those are the facts.

The other common accident is simply a small and what should be a relatively miner skid along the tarmac. Most often it is a wet road, an unseen obstacle, pedestrian or another vehicle that causes the accident. Let’s use a person. You’re happily cruising along on a beautiful summer’s day; a pedestrian steps out without looking, you panic brake and turn, the front wheel slides out from under you and you and the bike go down together. Now let’s assume you were traveling at 60kph, you hit the deck and quickly decelerate to 0kph. If you were wearing the appropriate safety gear you’ll most likely be a bit battered and bruised but you’ll probably be more concerned with your bike than yourself as often you’ll be just fine after this sort of accident.

Now the scary bit…what if you weren’t wearing the safety gear? Well if you were wearing…say shorts, a t-shirt and an open face helmet, then things could be very bad. You won’t just get up and walk away, you won’t care about your scratched up bike as you’ll likely be missing a lot of your skin.

Ask anybody…anybody who’s been down at a reasonable speed without protective clothing. The road is like a cheese grater, it literally grinds your skin off…down to the bone…THE BONE. In motorcycle circles open face helmets are called FACE GRINDERS or CHIN GRINDERS, and for good reason. If you’re face hits the tarmac…it will come off. I’ll make it simple here…I know open face helmets are great on those beautiful sunny days, I love wearing them too…but beautiful sunny days are better when you actually have a face.

Riding in a t-shirt and shorts is simply idiotic, in fact it should probably be illegal. Go ahead if you like…it’s your skin. Quote me on this though…one day you’ll regret it. You may end up regretting it the rest of your life.

If you haven’t already done it make sure you get yourself a modern totally mesh summer jacket and at least wear that on hot days. We also totally recommend a pair of Draggin Jeans as they function just like a regular pair of pants but contain Kevlar protection in case of an accident. They will save your skin…they are simply the best product available for bike riders of any sort. Buy some today. You can do it online if necessary at Draggin Jeans

Last Updated ( Thursday, 05 June 2008 22:41 )


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