Statistics tell us that Indian roads are some of the most dangerous in the world, with about 1,50,000 people dying every year. That’s about 400 people dying on the roads every day! Significantly more number of people are injured and bruised as a result of apathy and bad driving habits. Needless to say, motorcyclists make up for about a third of the deaths that occur on Indian roads.
The government has rolled out a few policy changes, mandating ABS on motorcycles and making helmets compulsory for motorists. However, what can you as a rider do to protect yourself while riding? Well, you can wear quality riding gear that is properly fitted to prevent or mitigate injury to yourself in the case of an accident. Sometimes intelligent riders who know about the benefits of riding gear insist that riding gear must only be worn on long rides or by riders who own superbikes. Another section claims that they have good riding skills and won’t crash. This is not true in most cases. Let’s state the facts. All motorcyclists face the same amount of risk and danger from bad roads, unmarked speed humps and other motorists on the road.
An experience that I faced once when I was on my way to an important meeting and decided to ditch my AGV Sport leather jacket and wear a denim jacket instead because I didn’t want to show up all sweaty. Literally two kilometres into the journey, a pedestrian jumped across the divider and ran across the road. I tried to avoid the man. My leather gloves protected my hands, but the denim jacket rolled up and I tore my best shirt and it took the skin off my right elbow.
Another time, I was on the way to some hills nearby. I decided not to wear my leather pants and race boots because I felt it would be awkward to climb the hills wearing them. Big mistake – I high-sided on the way and broke my left femur (thigh bone), broke my ankle and dislocated it. It took me months to recover. In both these cases, I would have walked away from the crashes totally unharmed if I had taken 60 seconds to wear my gear. 60 seconds – that’s the difference between walking away from a crash and being taken to a hospital in an ambulance.
Today, I wear my gear every time I sit on my bike. People laugh at me when I take 5 minutes to take off all my gear when I arrive at a meeting but that’s ok. I know I’ll never pay the price for not wearing my gear because I have already learnt it the hard way. Please wear your gear all the time, every time you sit on your bike. It could mean the difference between coming home and never coming home. Ride safe!