Pack Mentality—Gear

Pack Mentality—Gear
"I Was Only Going a Mile"

We see it all the time. A pretty young lady riding across campus on a scooter, a bare-headed youth ripping through rush-hour traffic on a sportbike, T-shirt billowing over bare skin, or a middle-aged man, commuting to work on his cruiser. They are dressed for the gym, work, or leisure ... but too often, not for the ride.

Ding. The bell rings, announcing another customer entering Palace Auto Supply. A man shuffles in, aluminum crutches clamped to his forearms, clanking against the metal door frame. He struggles toward the parts counter and I look away, trying to be respectful.

"Hi Bill." I turn toward him, suddenly recognizing his face. We worked together a couple years back.

"Hi, Mark—what happened to you?"

"I wrecked my motorcycle, hit my head."

"Let me guess, no helmet?"

What prompts otherwise reasonable people to ride without helmets and other protective gear when its ability to save lives and reduce injury is so overwhelmingly evident? We hear many arguments for the practice, but peer pressure is no doubt a significant factor, despite riders' claims about individuality. Research studies have linked conformity to group norms with a lack of helmet use. Other clothing choices follow suit.