You get a lot of looks riding a motorcycle in a dress suit and your high top Converse chucks. I didn’t always used to ride like this though, like many riders, I went through an ATGATT phase once. All The Gear, All The Time. That was a long time ago. One day I realized it went against all of the reasons I love riding.
The Italian language has a beautiful word we don’t often hear on this side of the ocean: menefreghismo. It translates into don’t-give-a-****-ism.
When I’m riding I decompress. I don’t feel stress, pressure, or sadness. Riding is escaping from society’s conventions, its “norms”, its traditionalist ideals of white and black right and wrong. Riding is the break away from society’s definitions of what and how to think, feel, see, and be. I don’t want to live according to someone else’s fear propaganda of Murphy’s Law – that a motorcyclist will only crash when he or she isn’t wearing protective gear. I don’t care to subscribe to what major motorcycle manufacturers put out as the fashion of the sport. I’m proud to break every fashion faux-pas in the book.
Dress suit with sneakers? Check.
Full face Arai helmet on a cruiser? Check.
Possessing all of the gear from armored vest to armored knee and shin pads, yet wearing none of it? Check.
Speaking of helmets, Stu Seaton‘s latest article, To Wear, Or Not To Wear, in this month’s Motorcycle Mojo is about motorcycle helmet laws. I’ve written about Stu Seaton before. This time I thoroughly agree with his perspective. His article was about whether or not motorcycle helmets should be legally required.
We live in a world where same sex marriage is becoming legal for more people in more places than ever before. At the same time, the number of people and the number of places where smoking cigarettes is allowed is decreasing. Modern science tells us that second hand smoke is a greater threat to humanity than a Bridezilla or two, and I don’t mind.
As long as same gender couples are sensible, fair, stay out of my way, and drive with caution around motorcyclists, what they do is no business of mine. However, I’m sure they wouldn’t appreciate me unleashing a gassy BikerPup next to them at their next candlelit dinner, so they shouldn’t expect me to have to dine in the company of their cigarette stink. A little consideration to and from everyone keeps us all happy.
I think the basis of Stu’s article was that you should be free to live your life however you choose to as long as your choices don’t have consequences for others. He pointed out that in Canada we have a universal healthcare system, meaning that we all pay for each other’s healthcare. In the United States this isn’t the case. If Johnny America crashes, he pays for his hospital bills. If Jimmy Canada crashes, we all pay for his healthcare. If motorcycle accidents involving motorcyclists without helmets could be statistically proven to be more expensive to tax payers than maybe it stands to reason that Jimmy should have to wear a helmet in Canada. If Johnny down south is the only one paying for the consequences of his actions, why not let him make a responsible decision for himself?
There is plenty of information out there about the risks of not wearing motorcycle gear. This video shows what an accident with no gear looks like. I’m not advocating everyone throw on their wool suit and chucks and ride à la YouMotorcycle. We’re all on different motorcycles, on different roads, doing different speeds, in different places. I’m simply saying you should have the right to make an informed decision based on what makes sense for you.
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