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Taking That Jacket Off
Unless the odds are worse.

By: James R. Davis

Living in Texas I have my fair share of days that are too hot to wear my leathers. While I will wear my chaps no matter how hot it gets, I've been known to substitute a lighter jacket or even just a long sleeve shirt when the temp gets near or over 100 degrees.

But there are times when taking off that heavy jacket makes no sense at all - regardless of the temperature.

If you are like me, you do some parking lot practice every so often. We are not out there practicing what comes easy. Instead, we spend the time to practice those things that we need to get better at.

In other words, when we are most likely to lose control and have a (hopefully) little accident. This is, after all, why you wear protective clothing, right? Clearly it is not a time to take that jacket off. (Or gloves.)

I remember a few years ago when Cash and I were out in the country and we had to ride down a gravel road. Cash was quite new to motorcycle riding at the time and she was on her own bike.

It turned out that about two miles down that road Cash was so uncomfortable from the sweat that resulted from the stress (and heat) that she said on the CB that she wanted to stop and take off her leather jacket.

I reminded her why she was wearing that jacket and that the odds of her dumping her bike along this road was a little more than trivial. She understood right away and we went on - jacketed.

(It turns out that we had MILES to go on that damn road. We probably should have stopped and shed some clothes to cool off while standing next to the bikes, then put the jackets back on before finishing the ride.)

Anyway, the message is simple: You wear that jacket for protection. If the odds of an accident go up, for any reason, it is not the time to be shedding that protection.

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(James R. Davis is a recognized expert witness in the fields of Motorcycle Safety/Dynamics.)

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