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Why is it not compulsory to wear full leather protection while riding?

Discussion in 'Biker's Cafe' started by ThundyCat, Jul 9, 2014.

  1. ttaskmaster


    Joined: Sep 11, 2013

    Posts: 9,754

    Yes.... sort of.
    Matters more at the point just as you leave the bike, as it dictates a lot about what will happen to you in the next few moments...

    But also important is what the bike is doing around you. If you lowside, the bike often skids ahead of you, so when it slows to a stop, or comes to rest against the kurb, guess what you may be skidding helter-skelter right into in 3... 2... 1... !!!

    If you highside it, or similar, you could have a 42 stone lump of bike sliding/cartwheeling behind you, so even if you slide to a stop safely, you then get hit round the head with your own ride - Talk about adding insult *with* further injury!!

    Yes, naturally.
    However, you also present some very different surfaces to that of the road (sounds so nice when you say it like that) than a cyclist.
    Even different leathers slide differently, depending on density, surface finish, hide (Kangaroo leather is supposed to be THE dog's danglies for m/c wear), never mind the different denims, kevlars, textiles, etc.
    Some people find pure leather boots have better stopping friction than sporty riding boots with sliders and things.
  2. thedoc46


    Joined: Jan 18, 2003

    Posts: 5,929

    Location: Expat in the USA

    Also when you ride in a one piece and full protective gear, you WILL ride faster and take more risks. You feel far less vulnerable.

    At least that's the way it is with me.

    Your're more likely to keep to or under the speed limits and take more time enjoying the heat on you and sensation of wind in your face, rather than seeking the thrill of speed all geared up.

    Actually there's nothing I like more, than the heat on my face and wind thru my hair, during cruise of my bike on an empty road on an early Sunday morning in a warm humid climate.

    Been riding since I was 16, now 42, been riding gearless for 10yrs, never come close to having an accident. Maybe nearly had a car pull out on me, but i was well on the brakes by then. I'm not riding in city centers, but open empty roads... So i can anticipate a problem well before it happens.

    If I go out to the boons and off-road, then I'll wear a helmet and boots, but that's cos its gravel, rocks and all sorts. Besides the bugs are the size of golf balls, and if you've ever had one of those smack you in the face, you'll know about it...

    For for a beach cruise, wearing all the gear is overkill. Of course you can get unlucky, have something run out on you, and lose control, hit your head and end up being spoon fed for the rest of your life, even at slow speed.. But I guess I just hope it is never going to happen to me, much the same way you guys all in your leathers hope that its never goingto be you, that ends up thru someone else's windscreen during your knee down scream thru the streets / lanes.
  3. ttaskmaster


    Joined: Sep 11, 2013

    Posts: 9,754

    Most UK accidents happen in town/urban environments, on crowded and narrow UK roads, surrounded by sucidal cyclists, road-ragey commuters and myopic cagers. You get a few seconds at best before it all goes to rat-spit.
  4. Sagalout


    Joined: Nov 13, 2003

    Posts: 5,668

    Location: Harrogate

    I can only thnk of one tdf death in the past 20 years, being Casetelli.

    They have only worn helmets relatively recently too, despite hitting 60mph on the descents
  5. Dogbreath


    Joined: Oct 18, 2002

    Posts: 16,651

    Location: Devon

    I don't think you've quite got the hang of analogies...

    Going over the speed limit doesn't affect anyone unless you crash. If that happens, chances are you'll be prosecuted. Wearing T-shirts and shorts on a bike doesn't affect anyone until they have scrape lots of skin and blood off the road and then spend a lot of time and resources trying to make you well again.

    An equivalent to your "analogy" (and I use the term loosely) would be someone wearing inappropriate clothing being captured by traffic cameras and prosecuted.
  6. BuffetSlayer


    Joined: Jun 19, 2012

    Posts: 4,383

    Personally, I think full protective clothing should be compulsary. The problem is, how do you police it? It would require a lot of resources to keep track of all the bikes on the road and make sure the riders are wearing BSI rated gear.

    After seeing the injuries caused by tarmac vs flesh, I will never ride without protective gear. It just is not worth it. Even at 30 MPH the tarmac will take your flesh down to bone in seconds.

    I am a strong advocate of protective clothing, including footwear. My father still has a leg below the knee due to wearing proper biking boots. Even then it was smashed to pate, but at least they could save it. If he didnt have his boots, his leg would most likely have been severed from just below the knee.

    I think education is also important. We need to be drumming it into riders at the CBT stage that they need protective clothing, even if we have to use shock tactics with gruesome videos in the classroom. Whatever it takes to drum the message home. I accept that a lot of younger riders struggle with the cost of decent protective gear because it isnt that cheap, so I would like to see some government finances availble to aid with buying protective gear.

    Riders who choose to go out unprotected should be prosecuted in my opinion. Riding without due care and attention should encompass shorts/t-shirt riders. I just do not feel it is acceptable behaviour.

    As a society we do a lot of things to protect people. Sometimes we have to force laws onto people for their own protection. Wearing a helmet when riding a motorbike is one. But it seems absurd to stop there, particularly when injuries to the limbs and torso from impacts and abrasions can be horrific and life threatening.

    I accept that we are guilty of being a nanny state, but if we can't trust our people to be responsible what choice do we have?

    Whilst the government may be reluctant to introduce compulsary protective clothing laws, I think they could do far more about informing riders and educating people about the risks and showing them exactly what will happen to them if they do not protect themselves. It might not be perfect but it is a start, and if they could introduce grants for young riders to help protect themselves that would be awesome.

    I hate seeing kids on scooters in tracksuits. I cringe.
  7. TallPaul_S


    Joined: Mar 24, 2011

    Posts: 5,779

    Location: Kent

    My biggest with issue with making PPE compulsary, ignoring the minefield of who decides what and what isn't "legal" protective equipment (kevlar jeans?), is that if you give them an inch they'll take a mile.

    If the government made protective clothing a legal requirement, when this doesn't reduce the number of biker deaths by a huge amount (and it probably wouldn't) they'll introduce compulsary high viz - then when numpty car drivers are still pulling out on bikers, they'll make linked brakes and ABS compulsary on all bikes (although I can see this happening in 5-10 years anyway, well ABS at least), and so-on.

    I'm not saying not wearing protective clothing is ok, far from it - I cringe when I see bikers wearing trainers/t-shirts etc.

    Horse riding is how many times more dangerous than riding a motorbike, but AFAIK there's no legal requirement to wear any protective gear, not even a helmet when riding on the roads.
  8. leigh_boy

    Wise Guy

    Joined: Sep 12, 2012

    Posts: 1,848

    Location: East Sussex

    i fully get it, but i dont want to put all the gear on if im just poping round the corner.
  9. Sagalout


    Joined: Nov 13, 2003

    Posts: 5,668

    Location: Harrogate

    I'm surprised some of you don't just wrap yourselves head to toe in bubble wrap and be done with it. Never heard so much health and safety nonsense. Just let people wear what they want and stop trying to impose your personal level of risk on everyone else.
  10. Freefaller

    Man of Honour

    Joined: Jun 5, 2003

    Posts: 86,989

    Location: Falling...

    It's a fair comment, I used to jump out of planes and off cliffs - but I always jumped with a parachute ;)
  11. ttaskmaster


    Joined: Sep 11, 2013

    Posts: 9,754

    That will never happen because biking is dangerous and it's far better/easier/safer to just price every bike off the road.

    And what about those circumstances where riding in full kit is far more likely to give you heatstroke?
    Is it safer to run the risk of fainting at the... err... handlebars, I suppose... and crash into oncoming traffic, than have a simple scrape up if you happen to come off?

    Most of those who do ride like this in the UK are not full-time riders anyway. They're the kind for whom riding is an occasional fun Summer activity.

    Impacts to such locations are rarely abated by leather or textile-kevlar anyway.

    Part of the massive risk comes from having overly busy roads populated by bad drivers anyway. So either we establish better regulation of the non-bikers and/or we just let the bikers die and reduce the population of irresponsibles.

    Seeing how many young people STILL take up smoking in the face of all the education we get these days, I'd guess that sort of approach wouldn't be all so effective...

    Again, too costly against pricing everyone off the roads, I suspect.

    Then again, the UK is overpriced on most things anyway.
    It'd be a far better option for companies to develop cheap, highly protective kit that can be worn as easily and functionally as normal daily clothing to begin with.
    Draggin' do a couple of things, like kevlar-lined Chinos, but that's as far as things have come.
  12. thedoc46


    Joined: Jan 18, 2003

    Posts: 5,929

    Location: Expat in the USA

    Not sure if you're just trolling . THANKFULLY the moronic decision making that you're applying to the subject is not present where I live, and people can go about their business doing what they enjoy without a nanny man on a mission. Just go away with your idiocy.

  13. growse


    Joined: Oct 18, 2002

    Posts: 7,139

    Location: Ironing

    Laws exist to protect society from harm. What's the harm to society of someone riding a bike without government approved clothing on?

    Yay! More traffic laws! Because there aren't enough of them already.

    So you admit it would cost money and be difficult to police, and now you want to give money to people to buy government-approved clothing (which won't be cheap).

    Why not take some of this mythical money you seem to think we have lying around and spend it on actually preventing accidents and policing bad road users?
  14. acemastr


    Joined: May 29, 2010

    Posts: 4,707

    Location: Tampa, Florida

    I got caught in the rain in a long sleeved t-shirt yesterday... and if you know Florida rain then the drops are the size of cheerios, hurts like hell!
  15. BuffetSlayer


    Joined: Jun 19, 2012

    Posts: 4,383

    By that logic, there is no need for helmets either then is there? Unless we accept that a bike rider is a member of society. Do we not enfore seatbelt laws for the same reason? Do we not have things like airbags as a compulsary safety feature on all modern vehicles? Even though bikers are a minority, they are still part of society, and therefore entitled to as much protection as we can give them. Laws are to protect society, and in road safety terms some of them are there to protect society from itself.

    Do you think it is OK to go riding a motorbike in shorts and t-shirt? If so, why? Do you feel compulsary helmets is a bad thing? If so, why?

    It is generally accepted that wearing a helmet is a good thing. I dont understand how people are resistant to the same logic being applied to protective clothing.

    Do you also feel it is a bad thing that we control things like firearms in this country?

    What is the problem with making things safer using law? Do you have an issue with safety itself, or are you against improvements in safety for another reason? It seems to me like some of the posts here just have a whiff of anti establishment. Being against safety measures just to give two fingers to the government is really short sighted in my opinion. It really feels like it isnt so much the issue of safety people are against, but the idea of being told what to do.

    Does not have to be government approved. Merely approved to current BSI standards of protection. Yes it would of course cost money, all things do. We happily found the money to give people new bicycles to go to work on. Where was the benefit in that? Supposedly making people healthier? There are multiple ways it could be achieved. Short term low interest loans, additional taxation for those who take advantage of it, VED exemption for a couple of years in order to fund it. Many options if there was a will to do so. But as someone mentioned above, the overall agenda is to simply price biking off the road. Would not surprise me to see it completely gone by 2050. The fact is the entire country revolves around cars. Motorcycles are an inconvenience for all but the people who enjoy riding them.

    I completely agree. Part of which would be education. Compulsary further training for bikers, compulsary bike awareness as part of the car practical and theory test.

    Policing bad road users is an impossible task at present. Far too many vs the amount of traffic police. This would be abated over time with a higher standard of driving test and overall driving standards being raised across the board though. In the interim, the only additional things is more police on the roads until such time as we have a mindest in this country that supports safer road use. Well trained traffic police make all the difference, and we need more. But grass roots education about driving practices and an inceased drive for higher driving standards before the test can be passed will ultimately help even more.

    Speed cameras have been an abject failure in improving road safety. If they had used the money on extra traffic police, I am certain the roads would be a safer place today.

    As for money, well the government always seem to be able to find it when they want to, and given the realtive minority of road users that ride motorbikes, the cost is not going to be massively prohibitive. You never know, the EU may even chip in. We know how much they love safety ;)

    Finally, I would say that the majority of bikers I have seen wear protective gear. So it does not seem too much of an inconvenience to make it compulsary. It would not need to amount to every biker being checked but what it would mean is when there is some idiot pulling wheelies and riding his super sports bike in flip flops and a pair of shorts, he can be pulled to one side and dealt with.

    I accept that maybe I am more biased than many due to my personal experiences, and having witnessed the injuries bikers get without protection I am a strong advocate of protective gear.

    If people want to see my point of view somehow invalid, or idiotic, that is their choice. We will have to agree to disagree :)
  16. DangerMoose

    Wise Guy

    Joined: May 23, 2005

    Posts: 1,086

    Location: Nottingham

    Yeah, cos that is working out so well for us. :rolleyes:

    Commuters anyone? Not all riding is for pleasure, you know. More two wheeled commuting with better educated riders and less cars on the road sounds like a good idea to me.
  17. Katoom

    Wise Guy

    Joined: Jul 29, 2006

    Posts: 1,730

    So I can cycle at over 30mph without any protective gear what so ever but shorts an T on a motorbike at 30 and under is a no no.
  18. ttaskmaster


    Joined: Sep 11, 2013

    Posts: 9,754

    That has been debated and campaigned against already. Google 'Fred Hill'.

    Apparently it's debated as to whether they are even members of the human race... Yet strangely politicians don't encounter half as much ire.

    Right, so - Big steel leg protector panels all along the side of the bike, roll cages, air bags, arrestor hooks, crash cages, speed limiters, automatic engine-cutting circuits and stabiliser wheels, right?
    Those and a host of similar add-ons have all been previously suggested and attempted to be made law...

    How would you feel if you were no longer allowed to drive your shiny Aston Martin and the piloting duties must now be handled by a qualified and approved driver... or a computer device?
    Perhaps full-on crumple safety that will protect anything you crash into, but by design render your £8-20,000 automobile an instant write-off?
    Or if you had to drive fully encased in protective bubble-wrap?
    All the fun, the joy and mostly the entire point of driving is pretty much gone and you'd be better off walking or taking the bus...

    You want to protect bikers from themselves? Ban bikes. That's the only sure way to achieve this.
    Cars will be next as even computer-controlled ones will probably get virusses (virii?) or something and cause deaths, or humans will be considered too ill of judgement to be trusted with a ton of moving metal.

    Do you think it's OK to allow car drivers to go off with a radio capable of being turned up so loud that they cannot hear anything around them, or to carry passengers who may speak to the driver and thus divert their attention from the road?
    How about having cups of steaming hot coffee that could spill all over them in the event of a crash?
    How about driving in inappropriate footwear?

    Same reason, I expect.
    They have that option and choose something they are comfortable in.

    It's a pretty good idea, mainly as bikes don't always have a windscreen and a stone chip in the leg is not as hazardous to one's riding as one in the eye (fnar fnar).

    Because at this point in time the level of protection afforded by such clothing must often be compromised if one is to achieve a balance with practical clothing.
    A massive suit of all-over bike armour is going to be useless if, after riding somewhere, you then have to completely change your outfit just so you can walk normally around the supermarket.
    Would you drive a car down the shops, out to a show or to work if you had to wear (and then carry around) a full-on spacesuit every time?

    Thing is, you make it law and because everyone has to now go get this kit, it will get even more expensive.
    A full 2-piece set of kevlar-lined guaranteed 100% waterproof textile clothing can easily set you back £750. Add on boots, gloves and lid, you could be dropping over £1600 on kit. Make it mandatory, it could easily double.
    That's more than some bikes cost to begin with!!

    It's not a bad idea to control them... but HOW they are controlled is usually what matters most. We have banned legal ownership of the vast majority of firearms (real and even imitation), yet the people that went out to get a gun and do something illegal with it can still use pretty much the exact same channels to get the exact same illegal firearms as they did before the new laws were enacted.

    Electricity is dangerous. People can die from accidentally electrocuting themselves. Therefore all home-building of PCs is now outlawed.
    Nice and safe, eh...?

    The government generally deserves that, though! :D

    The fact is the entire country revolves around cars.

    They're also apparently a dream for many who "don't have the balls" or "the self-control" to ride them, according to another thread on here.

    Already far more bikers tend to undertake further training than car drivers and even the basic training is far more comprehensive.
    But you can have all the training you want for whichever groups of road users you want - It will still get disregarded if the certainty and severity of punishment is not sufficiently convincing.

    It's Summer.
    Count the number you see simply riding without helmets. THAT is your target group.

    Most people seem to know someone who died on/off a bike and/or survived but with horrific injuries, if the general conversations that arrive at my door when people see that I ride are to be believed...
  19. growse


    Joined: Oct 18, 2002

    Posts: 7,139

    Location: Ironing

    Society doesn't equal the individual. I don't think it's the state's role to protect people when they choose to partake in risky activities.

    There's an argument to be made that we need to protect motorcyclists from people who crash into them, but the prevailing view is that it's a motorcyclists choice to use a mode of transport where the impact of an accident is higher than if they were in a car, and therefore it's their decision on how best to protect themselves. Rightly or wrongly, there is a higher emphasis on protecting car occupants in accidents, simply because using a car is seen as the most accessible and 'default' mode of motorised transport on roads.

    I wouldn't do it myself, as I've already said. I think a law forcing my opinion on others is bonkers.

    Because you could can keep extrapolating to absurdity. Where do you stop? "All bikers must wear airbag suits costing a minimum of 5k." "All bikers must travel at below 20mph at all times". All of these are "good things" when it comes to safety.

    No. What?

    I don't have an issue with making things safer, but if you're so keen on extrapolating, then why not simply lock everyone in their houses under curfew for 24 hours a day. That'll be very safe.

    In general, a law is a good idea if the benefit it provides to society is greater than the cost it imposes on society. In practice, legislation tends to be badly worded, ambiguous and misdirected. As a result, it places a cost on the police and justice system to enforce and work out the caselaw, and it changes the behaviour of people who are affected by it. Risk compensation is a demonstrated effect, so you might find a biker population who is 100% wearing approved clothing actually has a higher accident rate.

    Finally, such a law is targeting the wrong thing. It simply tries to make sure that people who crash suffer less injury. I'm more concerned with how we get the accident rate down in the first place - forcing leathers on people won't do anything for that.

    Well, if there's a law, then it's definitively government approved.

    So lets spend the limited amount of money we have on things that will actually demonstrably make a difference.

    Do you know how much that was? Do you know how much it would cost to enforce minimum kit levels on bikers? Are the two even comparible? Anyhow encouraging cycling has well-documented beneficial effects on health, congestion etc. I think you'd be hard pushed to find a sane person who argues that more people cycling to work is a bad idea.

    Who's going to administer these loans? How much will that cost? Who's going to administer and collect the extra tax? It's not about will, it's about cost. Governments don't just pass laws and everything is then sunshine and roses, you now need to pay people to enforce the new laws and regulations you've just invented, and then put the people who break them through the justice system. None of this is free. Not even remotely.

    What evidence is there of this 'agenda'? I don't see it. If anything, if someone did propose a law mandating a minimum kit level, I'd argue that *is* an anti-biker agenda. Thankfully, no-one is.

    You see this, and you think more road laws are a good idea? Seriously?
  20. ttaskmaster


    Joined: Sep 11, 2013

    Posts: 9,754

    I like to believe that it's because cars have space for all the added weight of roll bars, crash cages, crumple zones and airbags. You couldn't get that on a bike without killing its ability to move.
    You try that on a 12HP 125cc and see if it can manage 30mph!!

    I think we should make all pedestrians walk around in full leathers too. Ya know... just in case a car driver doesn't see them either...

    But we will look exceedingly cool!!

    Depends if they're going to act like half the idiots already doing so...

    It usually gets proposed on an annual basis. It just never gets taken seriously.