ATGATT – Do I believe?


I was looking around at some of the questions asked at Yahoo Answers. For some reason I get some sick enjoyment at the motorcycle section and see what is being asked at any given time. I try to answer questions when I feel like I have something to offer and keep my mouth shut when I don’t.

Last night I came across a question that for some reason I thought was interesting. It is as follows:
Question: Do you all believe in ATGATT?
The member who posed the question then followed up with this:

I have a lot of protective gear, the thought of getting into an accident and knowing that I left my protective gear in the closet bothers me more that the thought of having an accident.

This may be a left over emotion from chain sawing firewood and being reluctant to place all the protective gear on for just a small amount of exposure, I couldn’t do it! The thought of sawing through a leg or a shoulder and then having to deal with remembering that I selectively chose to leave my protective gear in my pick-up forced me to use every bit of gear in even the smallest exposure.

I had a past seasonal job (Winter) where I had to wear safety glasses 100% of the time. That forced me to adapt to cold wet weather and using safety glasses and I to this day do not expose myself to any eye dangers without wearing safety glasses all the time!

So with that history: I wear every bit of my protective gear that is rational to wear. The only exclusion is using my motorcycle to transit to work wearing less than full dedicated armored Sidi vertigo boots that are painful to walk for a motorcycling exposure of 4 miles.

The use or lack of use of protective gear is always a hot topic. People are very passionate about how and when they use protective gear when riding motorcycles. There is a wide spectrum of opinions and every camp is convinced they are right and everybody else is wrong.

Here’s what I think….

Do I believe in it ATGATT. Sure. Why not? It makes sense to be protected to the hilt every single second one is on a motorcycle. Do I personally do it ALL the time? Nope.

Everything in life is a calculated risk. Getting out of bed in the morning is a risk. Riding a motorcycle is a risk. How much risk a person is willing to accept is based on a lot of factors such as age, genetics, personality, etc. Just riding a motorcycle suggests one is probably at a higher than average level of risk that one will assume.

People who engage in high risk activities then have the choice to make as to how far they will go to mitigate the risk associated with that activity. People who ride motorcycles mitigate their risk by self-imposing rules as to what they will and won’t do. For example, some people won’t ride a foot on a motorcycle without a helmet but allow shorts and a T-shirt. Other will only ride secondary roads while others only race on the track. Others only ride dirt while other only ride street. Some strictly adhere to ATGATT. Others will ride butt naked at high speeds at night with no headlights. If we ride motorcycles we all consciously or unconsciously have a standard of what we will or won’t do in regards to safety gear.

We all make choices regarding risk. What we decide is personal and we have to live, or die, based on what we decide.

I ride about 60 miles a day on the freeway for my commute to work. I ride my bikes every chance I get. I ride in good weather and in bad. I ride dirt and street. I like all types of motorcycles. If it has two wheels and an engine, I probably will ride it.

I don’t always follow ATGATT. While I always wear a helmet, I’m usually not always fully suited up. I have crashed off-road and on the street. I have received injuries that I probably wouldn’t have if I was fully suited up. I realize it was my choice and my fault.  A high pain tolerance, a history of high risk jobs and pastimes, and “it’s just how I am” lead me to accept a high level of risk in my life.

So what do I think about the guy passing me the opposite direction not wearing a helmet, shorts, flip-flops, and a T-shirt? Not much aside from the usual motorcycle wave. He has made his choice and has to live with the consequences that may or may not happen.
We all make choices regarding risk. What we decide is personal and we have to live, or die, based on what we decide. No more, no less.