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Safety Gear

Discussion in 'New Riders and Riding Tips' started by Sir Skuffy, Dec 11, 2008.

  1. Safety Gear on a bike..... :eek:

    Many discussions for newbies are associated with Safety Gear - Helmet, Gloves, Jacket, Boots and Pants..... Great..... But, lets take a good clear look at what is defined as safety gear. But, before we go into details, let me share something. :)

    I was driving home in my 4x4 and was watching other riders doing "silly" things. And what ran through my mind was how naked we really are. Many of us ride quite agressively with 1.4mm of leather with some armour on the knees, shoulders and elbows. Some people look at back protectors and kneck protectors are now slowly coming into function - has been in MX and SX for some time but is now becoming more aparent in Road-bikes. :eek:

    Now, lets analyse some things.
    - Bike protection is primarily designed for race-tracks and not eveyday life
    - They are designed for high-sides and low side accidents where other obstacles are typically not involved.
    - Bike gear was never designed for instant stops, trees, cars, etc etc...... nor was the body.

    So, with that said, what is the primary role of the equipment we utilise when we ride? I will assume people are wearing full leathers, boots, helmet, gloves and a back protector.
    1). Keep body parts confined and intact - seriously
    2). Provide a surface, other than skin, to slide along the road with
    3). Body armour is not designed for large impacts, but for "knocks and bumps"
    4). backprotector is not cushioned and does not crumple to absorb impact.
    The only thing with significant absorption is the helmet. So, we can safely say that the gear is designed for moderate speeds with no impact with imovable or larger objects. That is great - for the race track - but not for the weekend Black spur warrior. :shock:

    So, to my point, riding advise and learning to ride faster in a more controlled fashion is great, positive and we all do it. But, dont escape the one real truth in what we do and what surrounds us - we are unprotected projectiles that are hard to see and more often that not in the wrong place at the wrong time. This does not infer we are doing anything wrong, merely the situation we have chosen to exist. :cry:

    Now, to all my fellow riders. Give yourselves a pat on the back and look upon your reflection in the mirror whilst brushing your teeth and say - I am a warrior. :)

    But also, remember one thing, we truly are naked as the day we are born and it is the day we are born that we are truly alive.
  2. I think you misunderstand the key role of a back protector.
    The distribution of force is one element (Note distribution not cushioning) the second element is to stop hyperextension of the back.
    But yes we are fundamentally unprotected from roadside objects or multi ton ballistic missiles
  3. Thanks Skuffy for making me actually THINK about the gear I wear and it's purpose.

    I'm not a full leathers man, leather everything but pants, but I never truely thought about the limitations of the gear I wear and different scenarios that could come about in a crash.

    This was a good post, and I've taken away from it an attitude that I need to be even more safety minded regarding my actions and enviroment than I was before, not that I was hoon! :LOL:
  4. Thanks, great post!

    Next time i suit up in my singlet, boots and thong I'll look myself in the mirror and say it!

    "You are a Warrior Mr Darcy! You sir are an absolute warrior!" :LOL:
  5. Great post, too many people don't consider what gear is actually designed to do. Heard too many times people say they use it in racing so it's designed for impacts at over 200km/h. The worst of these being people justifying not replacing a helmet because it was only a low speed impact and it's designed for much greater speeds, not realising that the greatest portion of the impact is actually the fall from head height while riding to the ground and is just as bad if you fall off while the bike is stationary as it is at 300km/h because you still fall the same distance, the difference is how far you slide.

    The other example I can think of hearing is people telling me motocross gear is better than road gear because it designed for bigger impacts. They forget that it's designed for lower speed slides on a far less abrasive surface. I use motocross gloves for cycling and they where just enough to save my hand in an off at about 50 km/h. The palm of the glove wore right through to leave a hole about the size of a 20c piece, hate to think how my hand would have been if it was at say 100km/h.
  6. Excellent post with a different perspective, Skuff.

    Here's something to add about Leathers...

    We all think of them as something to slide on, most of the time...A skin and bone protector to prevent the grinding and blood curdling ripping of flesh as we slide along.

    But there is another side to leathers that I can speak of personally which is actually just as important.
    Their restrictive nature...

    Leather WILL go a long way to prevent breakages of bones by helping to prevent or withstand the forces that occur to your limbs when you crash, that might otherwise have caused one of your limbs to snap in half.

    In a sense...their restrictvie nature help keep your body parts together, attached, and hopfully in one less piece - because it's all about minimizing the effects of forces on your body....and Leathers help to do that immensly.

  7. :LOL: :LOL:
    crack up! :LOL: :LOL:
  8. Yet, I've seen many a rider (already) wearing loose leathers ... is my novice thinking right in that, loose leathers (or textile for that matter) are not as proctective as described above, as leathers that fit more closely or firmly??
  9. I doubt the ability of leathers to prevent broken bones, as even when skin tight there is more flex in the material than what would be required to cause a fracture. Tight leather will hold broken bits together and less mobile though so nursing a broken leg beside the road may be more comfortable in tight leather than in textile pants.

    With any ride gear you choose, tighter is better because it reduces the number of folds in the material. If you have folds in the material it creates an uneven surface and the road will tear into it more easily (this applies for leather, cordura, denim, anything). The real advantage of leather over other materials is it's better abrasion resistance. Leather is stronger and can slide for longer at any given speed before the road grinds though it. The more abrasion resitance you have, the longer you can slide (or the more shorter slides you can have) before you wear out your protection.

    Tight leather is better than loose leather, but loose leather is still a lot better than tight denim. Just remember to make sure you don't go so tight that your control of the bike is restriced. :)

    At road speeds >130 odd kph (and definately >100), most textile gear should provide enough abrasion resitance for at least one good slide with minimal road rash as long as it fits well.
  10. There is a limit to what leathers can do with respect to minimizing breakage, but they actually do assist in reducing the opportunity for breakage due to the nature of it's reduced "give".
    I know from personal experience, mate...

    I don't want to be misunderstood though...Leathers are not some kind of magical exoskeleton, but they do make it harder for limbs to be broken or torn off.
    (Eurgh!..that's not a happy thought.)
  11. Thanks Seany, thanks Raven, just as I thought ... not bad for a novice, eh? (gives self a little pat-pat on shoulder) :grin:
  12. Spot on mate, thats what makes it fun and dangerous.
  13. yeah but tight leathers are bad for sperm count.

    think of the greater good. whats one less biker if he manages to spout of a few good (future tax paying) kids
  14. Years ago, a mate was unfortunate enough to suffer a compound fracture of the femur when his knee hit a car at 100 km/h. He was wearing denim jeans at the time and the result was that his femur acted as a digging stick in the mud of the road verge, filling the wound with shit and resulting in two years worth of fighting infections.

    The consensus of medical opinion was that, if the damage had been confined within leathers rather than his trouser leg disintegrating, his physical injuries would probably have been about the same but his recovery time would have been halved.
  15. That's another good point, PatB...
    The Leathers have a better chance of containing your body parts..as Seany alluded to earlier...if they (the leathers) had held together in your mates accident, he may not have suffered the infections...possibly had less dameage from the breakages as well...ouch!

  16. In the few months that i have been riding, all of the 'offs' that i have seen on the way to work (sydney cbd) have resulted in relatively minor injuries (i guess). These injuries (mostly road rash) would have been less severe had the riders worn full protective clothing.

    Last one i witnessed was a rider that was turning left onto druit street from george st; bike slipped out because of some crap on the road and he landed on his side with his elbow down. Because he was wearing a proper leather jacket with armour his arm and upperbody were fine, but his leg was all bloody and had all sorts of crap stuck in the wound beause he was just wearing his work pants.

    Im yet to see someone hit some roadside furniture, or something that would result in minimal aid from protective clothing (thankfully!)
  17. A quick thought...

    In my last off, I was wearing a set of touring boots and sustained a sprain after having the bike slide with my leg under it... I fractured my foot and am still waiting on recovery.

    Had i been wearing walking shoes, I suspect my injuries would have been worse...

    I'm buying some race boots with some ankle support and a full set of leathers very soon :grin:

    I thought my boots were quite sufficent, they did a good job but it gave me more realistic expectations of my gear.
  18. In my mind it has never really been in any doubt. Its not hard to figure out what will happen if you go sliding down the road in normal clothes.

    So I guess its a case of

    a) to dumb to know that road > cotton (in this case it might be better if they dont get gear and remove themselves from the gene pool)
    b) 'it wont happen to me'
    c) cant afford it (can you afford the hospital bills)
  19. Excellent post. :applause:

    And seeing as though it's bound to come up, Leather shits all over Kevlar lined anything. The End.
  20. A point though.... While everyone can imagine, until it happens or you see it happen it generally doesn't factor highly in the decision making process. I did bother with a fair bit of gear when i first started out because i do think long term but i do have quite a number of buddies that never bothered... one's given up riding and don't ride with the other asphalt warriors anymore...