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thoughts on protective gear

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I am a newer member of thumpertalk. What a great forum. I recently decided to upgrade my protective equipment and have researched my choices thoroughly. You can go dizzy reading all the posts! But, in the end I believe I have made some decent selections. One thing I noticed while researching was how committed and defensive people are about products and their position on whether to buy them or use them. With that said, I just feel compelled to make the following statements.

I have been a rider for about 25 years. I feel fortunate that I am still able to ride as I have been hurt seriously several times in my life. When choosing gear, I tend to take a common sense approach to it. First, I make my own choice about what gear is most important "to me". I tend to put the most research and money into those items that I feel are more likely to prevent death and/or paralysis. For me, first and foremost is head and neck. So, I bought a decent helmet (not top of the line) and a neck brace (also not the most expensive model). I figure in the majority of crashes, these two items will prevent most major catastrophes. I also realize that no piece of gear will prevent the "big" one. I know there is no real hard data on the brace, but to me, it makes more sense to have one than not to have one. And that's based on no "expert" opinion other than my own. And, if the guy next to me doesn't want to wear one, thumbs up for him! That is his choice. As for the broken collar bone, I'll take anyday it if it saves me a spinal injury. Next, is boots. I want something comfortable so my mind's on my riding instead of the buckle that's diggin in. I want something that has good feel so my mind's on my riding and not on how frustrated that I am that I can feel the lever. And, when my mind's not on my riding and I eat it, I want a boot that protects me sufficiently. Plus, your feet are hanging out all the time and getting hit by bikes, people, plants, rocks, hot exhausts, etc. The number of times your feet/ankles/shins are at risk seems to be many. Next are my knees. I've read so many things about femur breaks with braces. But again, I have to take a common sense approach on this. It just seems to me that blowing a knee would require much less force that breaking a femur. The kind of force that knees are often subjected to every time we ride, even at slow speeds. I suppose any femur is subject to break if the stars align, so my response is: If your that consumed by a femur break, buy the knee braces that have crumple technology to minimize the potential for that injury or take your chances with another type of knee injury. The question is, What are you willing to live with? For me, I'm not willing to live with any injuries. But if you ride a motorcycle, that's absolutely not realistic. I can tell you, my worst injuries have come when I wasn't racing or screwing around. I just made a mistake.

So, in the end, I kind of view protective equipment like I view air bags in cars.

I think most people would agree that they are effective and save lives. But, if your face is in front of the bag when it deploys, there is a possibility you could have your nose broken. And, if you don't want the broken nose from the air bag....... Don't drive a car with airbags!

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