TEAM Arizona RiderCoach and staff member, Craig Smith, suffered a crash at an intersection in early July. The SUV driver claimed she didn’t see Craig before plowing into him. She didn’t even attempt to slow or stop her vehicle. Sound unusual? We didn’t think so.
We’ll spare you the gruesome pictures but just know our man Craig is feeling better and is already back at work a short three weeks after the incident. A chipped bone in his leg and wrist, and some scraped up legs were the net result. Upon reflection, Craig admitted he did some things very well and some things he could have done a bit better.
We all agreed his incident should not be wasted as a learning experience for TEAM Arizona newsletter readers. Thankfully, Craig is a reasonable, humble person and didn’t mind setting aside his ego to help all of us gain from his experience. In this piece, we wanted to share with you the highlights and low lights of the gear Craig was wearing.
THE MOTORCYCLE HELMET
Simply, it did its job. It is pretty obvious from the pictures that if Craig had not been wearing a helmet, he probably wouldn’t be with us today. Maybe even more importantly, if he had not been wearing a full face helmet, the jaw would have been smashed to bits. Craig avoided a concussion even though the external damage to the shell and internal, impact absorbing liner may suggest otherwise. The outer shell, impact absorbing liner, and attachment system worked flawlessly to prevent Craig from having any head or neck injuries.
THE MOTORCYCLE JACKET
We want our readers to know up front that Fulmer Helmets and Riding Apparel sponsor TEAM Arizona. With that said, it is undeniable that the Fulmer riding apparel did its job to spare Craig abrasion and impact injury.
THE MOTORCYCLE GLOVES
We often tell riders to imagine what life would be like if you couldn’t use your hands on a daily basis. Sounds horrible, right? Motorcycle gloves are that important. Notice we’re using the term MOTORCYCLE GLOVES. Not just any gloves will do. The Fulmer gloves used by Craig were intelligently designed by engineers to protect riders from impacts and injuries due to abrasion from an incident. Inspection of the motorcycle gloves shows that the mix of materials used by the manufacturer, including leather, carbon fiber, and poly-carbonate performed their jobs well enough to prevent injury.
THE MOTORCYCLE BOOTS
Often an afterthought for most motorcyclists, motorcycle specific boots are critical to preventing ankle and foot injury. Good motorcycle boots are lightweight, impact resistant, provide a solid heel and foot shank area, and can resist abrasion. Why lightweight? The foot is at the end of your legs (duh!), but in physics terms, it is a weight at the end of a pendulum. The lighter the weight at the end of the pendulum, the less force at impact. Thus, here again, boots designed specifically for the motorcycling application are preferred. The MAIDS report shows that our lower body, especially the extremities, are exposed to just as much risk for injury as our upper body.
THE MOTORCYCLE PANTS
Notice the absence of a picture? Yeah, well, perfection doesn’t exist. In this case, Craig decided to wear jeans instead of his usual textile pants due to the Arizona summer heat. The medical professionals cut Craig’s jeans, well, what was left of them, off of his body. We won’t post the pictures of the road rash, but it was substantial.
A simple decision to go for “comfort” over protection ended up leading to some serious road rash on Craig’s legs. He’ll manage, but the pain could have been avoided just by wearing the protection he already owns; a fact Craig humbly accepts. His hope is that you will learn from his mistake.
UP TO YOU
Riding a motorcycle means you are willing to accept an elevated amount of risk. However, it doesn’t mean we can’t make conscious decisions to mitigate the risks of riding. It’s up to you how much risk you want to accept. Safe to say, as Craig shops for his new motorcycle and new gear, he’ll be going with what worked for him in this incident…and maybe a bit more.
Have fun…be safe.