+ 1,000,000hindsight is 20/20. Mistakes do happen. Getting it right 99.999% of the time and making no mistakes for 500,000 miles really doesn't matter all that much if at 500,001 you misjudge a descending radius corner, take it a little too fast, and make the wrong decision on how to recover from it!
That said, nothing replaces the most important piece of gear you can possibly wear. I believe very firmly that all 50 states should require it when people ride a motorcycle anywhere, you should never get on two wheels without it...
.... Your brain! That big ol' mushy thing between your ears! Practice, be defensive, be cautious, enjoy the ride, ride hydrated, sober, and collected (under the weather and ticked off? Take the car!).
Also sounds like this guy learned his lesson about jeans too. Now, if you don't want to wear gear or even a helmet, that's fine with me, no skin off my nose (get it?). But, it always drives me nuts when i hear "see that idiot riding in shorts? I would never ride without bluejeans on". Well, there are some advantages to at least riding in jeans on a cruiser (like not getting your leg burned!) but, in a crash, you and jimmy gym shorts are in about the same boat. They'll rip the second they hit the ground.
Textile is a great option too! It doesn't have to be leather! These days there are fantastic textile options out there that are plenty cool in the hot weather and have liners that are plenty warm in the winter! They usually have armor too which is a plus. Armor isn't really going to do much in a severe crash but i imagine the elbow and knee pads will make sure that, amidst your broken bones at the hand of some left-turning automobile, those difficult to repair joints will be in one piece!
I don't really 'push' wearing gear, mostly because the only way to truly be safe on a motorcycle is not to ride it. But i do choose to wear it myself, and although i've never had a crash, it's actually tuend out to be a great investment. For starters, it really improves the comfort on really long trips because it keeps the debris and wind off of your body (but without insulating you so well it's hot! I've ridden up to 115f in full textile gear and been as comfortable as you can be at those temps). I've also found that in the really hot temperatures, i'm much more comfortable than my riding compadres, even though they can't go a single gas stop without saying "you must be burning up" and i say "well it's warm, but, not really". In fact i experimented with that once. That 115f day was stupid hot, so i took my jacket off. Left my overpants and boots and full face helmet on, but i figured i'd ditch the jacket and gloves, it was just hot. Well, after 15 minutes i was on the side of the road putting them back on. It was much much hotter without them on. Later on i read that the friction of the air coupled with the above-body-temperature heat causes your blood to warm and many of the 'extreme long distance' guys recommend wearing gear in the triple digits to stay cool and prevent heat stroke. I won't lie to you and stay i was cool, or even comfortable, in that heat. But it was much more comfortable than without it, and i rode 400 miles that day. (was on my last long trip)
long story short, i've come to the conclusion that wearing good, comfortable textile gear is the only way to go on a long trip. Not necessarily for the safety factor (though that is why i started wearing it, and it's definitely a plus), but for the comfort factor. It's miserable at a stop or in traffic (but that's what the zipper is for), but once you're going your comfortable, no sunburn, no windburn, you don't dehydrate as quickly. In cooler weather it keeps you warm, and even on the perfect weather days it still keeps the debris and bugs off of ya.
For the record i wear a 1000 denier textile jacket (not mesh, not even any vents, yet it's fine into the triple digits, so i imagine mesh must only be better! But i do highly recommend wearing at least a long sleeve shirt in the triple digits!), similar textile overpants (i prefer those over chaps or even 'riding jeans' because i can wear whatever is appropriate for the destination underneath, slacks, shorts, jeans, or even swimming trunks! I've also found that wearing sweat-shorts underneath my overpants is a super comfy way to tour), i always wear boots (protection, plus it's nice if you step somewhere that the footing isn't so great, the ankle support when you're holding up a heavy bike and the traction are both nice). I've got a variety of gloves for various situations, and a full face helmet. The full face is nice for a lot of the same reasons, i can't deny laughing a bit at all of my half-helmeted friends when we hit a construction zone and rocks and dust and smoke are flying and i read up and flip down my visor and they are bobbing/weaving/coughing their way through! Lol. And i honestly don't ever ride without my gear. Short trips, long trips, down to the post office, or across the country. It's just my routine anymore. But that's me.
The full face isn't for everyone though. But it doesn't bother me and it's versatile, mine is pretty comfy. I don't feel like juggling helmets for each scenario so i just stick with the full face. Dunno if it's just me but my full face never gets hot (i do ride in hotter temps with the visor wide open. What's the difference between that and switching to a half helmet in the high temps except i still have a chin bar right?), i sweat a bit but my head doesn't get hot, but it also works in the cold and when it rains i'm dry... It's just a good helmet for every situation so i stick with it! I've considered a 3/4 helmet now and then but i keep saying to myself "why? I'm still fine with the one i've got, haven't had an uncomfortable day yet!"
I knew I'd catch someone with that one! LOL.Well, I think that's just silly!
For the record I'm not big on pushing laws requiring safety gear or smaller sized soft drinks or any other junk like that, I mean I wear it but that's me, if you choose not to that's your right. But I do firmly believe that practice, common sense, new rider training and a basic 'BRAIN' is the most important piece of safety gear on two wheels. All the safety gear in the world won't save you if you dart out into oncoming traffic without looking or push yourself well beyond your limits on a motorcycle! Or even just do the 'little' stuff that gets so many people killed, like riding so drunk you can barely sit straight on the bike, or taking corners fast without being 'intentional' about it and putting the bike where it needs to be, allowing it to drift over the yellow line around a blind corner, etc. etc.Romans5.8 said:.... YOUR BRAIN! That big ol' mushy thing between your ears!