Every biker should know the acronym ATGATT.
It stands for All The Gear All The Time. But maybe knowing what it means isn’t enough. It could be that some people need to see the disfiguring, agonizing, even life-threatening effects of Road Rash – the awful result of hitting the pavement when not wearing all your motorcycle gear.
I came across a blog post , “Road Rash Girl Speaks Out” where one young girl was brave enough to show some of her scars and willing to describe her long recovery from a motorcycle accident. Road Rash girl lost skin on her stomach, back, legs, hands, arms – one breast was almost ground off – almost everywhere on her body except her thighs, she says.
The accident was out of the blue – she hopped on the back of a friend’s bike in a casual summer outfit and a helmet. I see girls dressed just like her on the backs of bikes almost every day. What she and her friend never expected was that she would be pulled from the back of the bike by a gust of wind, and strike the asphalt at high speed – tumbling, rolling, and scraping.
She didn’t die in the crash, but at times she wished she had. She suffered severe, third-degree road rash – which led to painful skin grafts and skin debridement (the removal of dead tissue). My clients tell me the skin debridement is more painful than the actual crash, as the doctors scrape and brush at the the road rash, trying to pick dirt and rocks out of the skin to prevent infection.
Road Rash Girl is a survivor. She talks about how the pain helped remind her that she was alive, and she felt so lucky to be alive after the accident.
I can’t help thinking what a shame she wasn’t wearing protective gear, riding wear that could have taken some of the damage and abuse that happened instead to her skin. It is amazing the abuse that a proper riding jacket can absorb. A recent client of mine hit the pavement at 65 miles an hour and walked away with not so much as a scratch on the parts of his body the jacket covered. He had some rash on his knees through a pair of jeans, and a little on his wrists between his gloves and the jacket. His full face shield helmet protected his head. All his equipment did its job.
The American Motorcyclist Association has an Interactive Motorcycle Gear Page. It’s the outline of a biker, and as you click on each part of the body, recommendations about helmets, jackets, pants, and boots pop up. You can learn just what you need to get, why, and how to pick it out.
Remember ATGATT. ALL THE GEAR, ALL THE TIME! I know if you read Road Rash Girl’s story and see her photos, it’s unlikely you can forget.
Please ride safely out there,
Adam M. Gee, Esq.
NY and PA Motorcycle Accident Attorney
The Ziff Law Firm, LLP
303 William Street
Elmira, NY 14901
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