Easy Writer Part 6: Always Use Protection
However, I'm going to go ahead and assume that somewhere in your life you've ridden a skateboard, bicycle, Rollerblades, etc., and you fell down at least once. Did you skin your knee or perhaps get a nasty boo-boo on your hand or elbow? Remember how much that sucked? Now do that at 70 mph on the freeway. In other words: armor up.
The three main things that motorcycle gear serves to do are:
1) Protect your brain. Helmets are vital because they help to stop your head and a solid object from becoming one. They also cushion the blow when your head hits something so your brain doesn't slam against the inside of your skull as hard. Coming from someone who's had enough concussions to be banned from contact sports--get a good one.
2) Save your skin, literally. Anyone who's ever fallen off a skateboard at speed can tell you that road rash stings like a son of a bitch. However, if you're moving fast enough, it could cost you enough flesh to require skin grafts. And those are not only expensive, but also leave really ugly scars. Yes, it makes for a great bar story, but a few free drinks isn't worth weeks or months of physical therapy and having skin borrowed from your hips and ass to cover gaping wounds.
3) Save your joints--no, not that kind. In a fall, people tend to land on the same points every time: Your "points" are your toes, heels, ankles, knees, hips, elbows, shoulders, hands, chin, and nose; so make sure they are adequately covered and armored to make sure your points don't become rounded.
Since protection is such a massive topic, we'll just focus on helmets for now.
There's somewhat of an ongoing debate about even wearing a helmet, though it is required by law in California. But people are saying that it's cars that cause the majority of accidents, so motorcyclists shouldn't be forced to wear helmets. And, while this is true, deciding who's at fault will not be what you're thinking about when someone makes a left turn in front of you and you're either tossed from the bike, or bracing for impact with the side of someone's Escalade. If you value your head and what's inside it, always wear a helmet.