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Heat rash or road rash?

By Mario

Things are not looking healthy in New Zealand’s world of two wheels. Serious accidents, including fatalities, are up. And some are the result of very poor choices by riders, especially when it comes to riding gear.

In one fatal accident this summer, a motorcycle rider was wearing neither shoes nor a helmet. It’s tempting to adopt a Darwinian fatalism about people who do that kind of thing, but there are many reasons for us all to be concerned.

For a start, there’s the dreadful impact on the rider’s family, friends and community. Not to mention the men and women in the emergency services who have, yet again, to deal with the scene and its aftermath.

Another reason is cold, hard cash. Especially when a crash results in serious, often lifelong, injury. We all end up paying for it through our regos. And, as taxpayers, we all pay for the cost of fatalities.

It puts the heat on motorcycling as a ‘dangerous’ activity, too. Before you know it, we are a ‘problem’ that needs solving. That way lies more scrutiny and possibly more regulation.

The answer is simple: wear protective gear, all the time. There’s a range of gear designed for warm weather, so it might be worth investing a few bucks in it. Most of all, wear it. Accidents don’t happen to cue when you are ready for them. So remember ATGATT: All The Gear, All The Time.

No, it won’t stop every fatality. But it will massively reduce the seriousness of injuries along with saving some lives.

If you have never seen what even a low-speed spill can do to an unprotected human body, you’re very lucky. Most of us who’ve been riding a while are familiar with the consequences. One of the champions of wearing the right gear is a young woman called Brittany Morrow. She fell off the pillion of a friend’s motorcycle in 2005. Check her out on Facebook, on her blog and at

Motorcycle fatalities climbed from 38 last year to 46 in the year to date. Around 1,200 of us were injured, amounting to over 10% of all traffic injuries. It doesn’t have to be that way. If every rider was wearing decent gloves, boots and helmet with all skin covered by abrasion resistant gear those figures would be chopped.

Sure, it might be hot enough to get heat rash. But it sure beats road rash. Just ask Brittany Morrow.