hen it comes to motorcycle safety, everyone has an opinion and an argument as to what is or isn't safe and what should and shouldn't be required. As we all know the touchiest of subjects and constantly debated is helmets. And while I personally wear a helmet every time I ride, I am a full proponent of rider's choice and feel that any adult who has a motorcycle license should have the right to choose whether or not they want to wear a helmet or any type of protection for that matter.

Actually when it comes to working for the magazine and riding, I wear full gear: boots, jeans, jacket, gloves, a helmet, and glasses. The head-to-toe protection is mostly conditioning from years of riding test bikes, as most companies require us to gear up anytime we ride their bikes. However, when it comes to riding my personal bike on my own time, I pretty much always dress to the hilt as well. But I'll admit I'm not perfect (far from it if you ask Ernie or Jordan), sometimes I might wear just a t-shirt instead of a jacket, and depending on how many days in a row I've worn the one pair of jeans I own, I might switch them out for a pair of Dickies. The two things that never change are the headwear and footwear. While I may wear a full-face helmet one day and a beanie the next, or slip on a pair of tennis shoes instead of boots (very rarely), my head and feet are always covered one way or another.

Now, I am not trying to preach or advocate that everyone should completely gear up every time they ride, like I said, I am all for people making their own choices when it comes to riding attire. I

hen it comes to motorcycle safety, everyone has

will say however, that I think sometimes people need to use a little more common sense and think before they fire up their bike. Lately at some of the rallies I've noticed quite a few people hopping on their bikes in nothing more than a pair of shorts and flip-flops or even worse barefooted. Sure motorcycling is all about the freedom of the wind in your face and enjoying the ride. But it's also about being sensible and making smart decisions. I understand that it can get extremely hot at the rallies and when you add in the additional heat coming off of the engine and pipes, throwing on a pair of pants and boots or tennis shoes might seem a little excessive for a quick ride down to the local corner market. The practice of wearing shorts and flip-flops seems to be more common at places with an enclosed camping area and people are traveling from camp to camp or spot to spot on private roads.

I think people get a false sense of security in these places because they aren't riding on the open highway and are riding at much slower speeds, so they may do things they normally wouldn't do-like cruise shoeless.

In my opinion, I think sometimes these places can be more dangerous than the highway because people tend to think since they aren't on a "real street" they can do whatever they want and ride however they want. While walking through some of these places snapping pictures I've seen some crazy maneuvers, with people weaving in and out of traffic, riding on the wrong side of the road and not just drinking and riding but drinking while riding. Accidents are called such because they are unexpected happenings and when you mix people dropping their guard and inhibitions while operating a motorcycle amongst hundreds if not thousands of other people doing the same it seems to be a recipe for disaster.

I'm not trying to call anybody out or put a damper on people, it's just that every event it seems like I see more and more people on their bikes looking like they just jumped out of a swimming pool. I know Harleys and custom bikes are all about attitude, style and looking "cool" and chicks dig scars, but there isn't anything cool about sanding your little piggy's off on the pavement and I don't think chicks really dig the toe-less look. Just be smart.

Until next time,

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