After writing my article about motorcycle squids, I got thinking about gear and all the aspects involved in motorcycle safety. One acronym that popped up as ATGATT. So I decided it would be a good idea to share my thoughts about it and go over it with you. So, what is ATGATT?
ATGATT is an acronym for “All The Gear All The Time”. Basically it sums up the belief that many motorcyclists have regarding the wearing of protective gear. That is, you always wear your gear whenever you hop on your motorcycle for a ride.It’s better to sweat than to bleed.
While ATGATT might be a simple acronym, there is much more to it. Let’s talk about it a bit.
What does ATGATT mean?
ATGATT simply means, “All The Gear All The Time”. It’s used to help riders remember a crucial safety tip about gear and the importance of it. You should always wear your gear.
It doesn’t matter if it’s hotter than the inside of a pizza oven outside, you suck it up and strap that gear on. And by gear it doesn’t just mean a pair of gloves and a helmet. It means full protective gear. It’s just a bit of sweat, it’s not like you’re made of sugar, right?
Why is ATGATT important?
The main reason why ATGATT is important is because when you are fully geared, the injuries sustained from a crash will be greatly reduced. What might have been a broken foot, elbow, knee etc, might just be a nasty bruise and wrecked piece of gear. The gear being easily replaced and for many people in America a much cheaper option than a hefty medical bill.
Is ATGATT overrated?
Absolutely not. As you can probably tell from my other posts. I am very firmly planted in the ATGATT camp. If you spent any time around motorcycles and riders, you will hear and sometimes see what can easily happen to a chunk of flesh that skids and bounces down the highway.
After all, we are all just fragile bags of meat, bones and blood. All those things don’t do so well when subjected to forces a motorcycle accident can cause. So do yourself a favor and wear your gear.
Consider this fact that if you do not wear a helmet, you have around a 39% greater chance of being killed in a motorcycle accident. Add that to a 65-70% increased chance of incurring a serious brain injury. That is not something to easily ignore. So you tell me, is it “overrated” to wear a helmet?
That’s just with helmets, similar things regarding other parts of gear hold true as well. Each piece of gear you strap on, greatly lowers the chance that that part of the body will be severely injured in a crash. Many times to the point that the rider walks away, with nothing but a few bruises and a story to tell his buddies.
It doesn’t matter how good of a rider you are, or how many years you’ve been riding. There is always the chance that something will happen outside of your control. Maybe one day you’re just riding down a nice country road. You’re not speeding, the road is nice and smooth, no debris or potholes etc. perfect weather and visibility. Perfect riding conditions.
Then out of nowhere a small fuzzy animal darts out and you hit it, leaving you zero time to react. Causing a crash. Could you have predicted this? Was it avoidable? In all honesty, probably not. Sometimes things just happen that are out of your control. That’s why it is not overrated to wear your gear all the time.
Apart from reducing injuries, what else is ATGATT good for?
If injury protection and reduction weren’t enough, there are also some other benefits to ATGATT. Let’s go over them:
Better grip on the controls. Wearing gloves will help you keep better control of your motorcycle. It doesn’t matter how much it’s raining or if you’re sweating like a snowman in hell. Your hands will still have enough grip.
Visibly to others. Many protective motorcycle jackets have reflective panels. These panels greatly increase your visibility on the road. It’s also important to note that since your helmet is the highest point of your body, it’s the part that motorists usually notice first. So choosing a bright colored helmet will greatly increase your visibility on the road, increasing your safety.
Protection from the elements. Getting wet to the core or being cold sucks when you are riding a motorcycle. The right gear can also prevent this, making your rides much more enjoyable. It’s also been shown that wearing full motorcycle gear in the hot summer days can actually prevent overheating and dehydration. Keeping you cooler. Not to get all sciencey, but it has to do with the way your body cools itself with sweat combined with the wind from riding. This prevents it from happening efficiently or properly. So while you might feel cooler from the wind, you are actually starting to dehydrate and over heat.
Hearing Protection. Yup, it’s not only accidents or crashes you need to protect yourself from. Your hearing can be damaged with prolonged exposure to wind noise and motorcycle engine noise. So wearing hearing protection is important. Don’t worry it won’t block out the sound of other cars on the road.
Improved vision. Dust, bugs, dirt, stones and debris from the road can cause serious problems to your vision while riding. You don’t want to be zipping down the road, only to be temporarily blinded by a cloud of dust the truck kicked up in front of you. This is not fun and can lead to a crash. Another reason to wear your gear.
What gear is needed to be fully protected or “ATGATT”?
Some people think that ATGATT means to always wear all the gear they have. Since they only wear gloves, they think that’s all they need to wear to be ATGATT. They couldn’t be further from the truth.
Here’s a good list of what gear you ideally should wear:
- Helmet, preferably full face. Check out this post to find out why.
- A good pair of gloves.
- Motorcycle boots.
- Proper motorcycle pants. Make sure they have a good slide rating, built in padding is a bonus.
- Knee pads of some sort.
- Jacket. Make sure the slide rating is good.
- Elbow pads.
- Shoulder pads.
- Hip pads.
- Spine protector.
- Chest protector.
- Ear plugs.
This list assumes you are not going to be wearing a full 1-piece suit. If you are, then on top of the suit you will just need to get a pair of gloves, boots, ear plugs and a full face helmet.
I know this might seem like a lot of gear, that costs a boat load of money. To a certain extent that is true, but you can save some money and make it a bit easier by looking for sales and slowly working your way up to having full gear.
Try just buying 1 piece at a time when you can afford it. That way it won’t feel like such a financial burden. The key is getting to a point where you are fully protected.
Of Course it’s your choice what you wear and which pieces of protection are right for you. For me, I prefer to be as protected as possible. My kit includes: full face helmet, gloves, boots, kevlar lined motorcycle pants, knee pads, hip protection, elbow pads, shoulder pads, back protector and ear plugs.
I know this might seem like overkill to some. Sure it might be hot in the summer, but it’s better to sweat than bleed.
Stay safe out there and happy riding!