Posts Tagged ‘ATGATT’

Let’s make the safety pitch

August 29, 2011

This space has been filled more than a few times with my take on motorcycle safety gear and apparel — why it should be worn, why it could be smart business for dealers to sell the heck out of it, and why the industry as a whole should be more aggressive in promoting its use.

Yes, training is absolutely paramount, too, but protective gear is something I feel very strongly about personally, and it’s an aspect of riding that intimately involves powersports dealers. It seems to me it’s one-third of the trifecta — unit sales, service, and PG&A — that makes up much of the business relationship between a dealer and its customer.

There are tons of reasons why a rider should wear ATGATT and why it should be promoted, and we’ve heard from dealers like Bob Henig, owner of Bob’s BMW, whose store atmosphere revolves around strongly suggesting that customers wear all the kit — not because it’s legally required, but because it’s the smart thing to do.

Yes, I can sound a little preachy, but quite simply, I’m a safety geek. Motorcycle riding is inherently risky and can result in death or severe injuries, and for me it’s all about managing that risk. Suiting up each time is second nature, so much so that I feel naked if I’m not in full kit.
And then I received in the mail a package from Phil Davy at Leatt USA (see our “Five Questions” interview with Davy on pg. 12). Inside the box was Leatt’s new STX Road neck brace, the street-rider version of the company’s successful lineup of neck braces developed and built for off-road riders.

With some interest, I’ve watched as neck braces have become a fairly common part of motocross and off-road racing and riding. (An interesting phenomenon yes, but remember the days before knee braces became the norm?) But I never made the connection to the street until Leatt announced the STX at Dealer Expo.

Upon inspecting the STX I was struck by just how much it looked like safety gear. The armor in a riding jacket is pretty well-hidden, Kevlar jeans are mostly discreet and helmets are just helmets. But this, it looked absolutely orthopedic and a bit awkward. In adjusting the STX for fitment, I was concerned it would be bulky and strange to wear.

I was wrong. After it’s dialed in and properly fitted, the STX just kind of disappears, and can barely be felt while being worn. In fact, there’s almost a comforting feel to having it snugged up against me. It quickly has become a standard part of my riding gear, even for spins around town.
Although it’s comfortable, the Leatt makes me hyper-aware that I’m wearing a protective brace to guard against neck injuries in the case of a crash. Putting on the neck brace before each ride has made me even more keenly aware of protective riding gear — mainly how little of it many riders wear. It’s summertime, so you know the drill; shorts, T-shirts, tennis shoes, no helmets. In noticing all of this it has me thinking about what the industry as a whole can do to get more people suited up.

Perhaps these are wasted thoughts, that those of a mind to protect themselves will do so, while the rest won’t. But I can’t help but think it’s a good thing for our industry if there was a concerted effort to promote protective gear.

Pushing safety gear doesn’t scare people away. Indeed, Davy says that “injured, maimed and dead motorcyclists do more to chase away new customers than any safety pitch.” We all should keep this in mind.

Dennis Johnson
Editor in Chief
dennis.johnson@dealernews.com

This story originally appeared in the Dealernews September 2011 issue. 

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Brittany Morrow’s new Rock The Gear Video

September 16, 2009

Many of you may be familiar with Brittany Morrow and her harrowing tale of surviving a fall at speed off the back of a GSX R750. Surviving being a relative term given the two months she spent in the hospital and the skin grafts she received on more than 50 percent of her body. But she did survive — in a big way. 

Since that incident, Morrow has appeared in the pages of our 2007 Gear supplement and has emerged as a spokeswoman for the phrase ATGATT (all the gear, all the time). If you’ve ever had a customer dismiss the need to wear protective gear, get a hold of one of the posters we featured in that issue of Gear and explain the consequences of going without. I’m probably not the only one to repeat this cliche, but it’s one I tell people when they ask me why I’m all armored up on a hot day — I’d rather sweat than bleed. I didn’t need to see the pictures of Brittany post-surgery, but when I did they confirmed my strong stance on this subject.

Well, Morrow is the driving force behind Rock the Gear, an organization dedicated to educating every rider about making smart choices when deciding what to wear. Her latest contribution is a video featuring sportbike freestyle professionals tearing it up on their bikes and talking about the importance of wearing protective gear. It’s worth a watch and the Rock the Gear website is worth a look.

XDL US Stuntriding Championship Series – Rock the Gear . org from Brittany Morrow on Vimeo.