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Psychology of Scooters Helmets

By Scott Vawser

In my post So You Want To Buy a Scooter I spoke a bit about the image factor.

The image factor is something that effects us in most areas of life and is connected with ego and the like. Think about it, as a husband I want to be the best husband I can be, but if I’m not that good, a great second best is that the image I project in public is that of a good husband. As a worker, I want to be the best in my field, but if I am not, then at least I can project that image. At times this is helpful and motivates me to actually be that which I am ‘pretending’ to be. But it can be unhelpful as well, as it creates a lie, projects a false me. How can I be known, really known, if that which I show to people is never the real deal. Where am I going with this, and how does it relate to helmets? Bear with me.

Last night I was being mocked for liking scooters by a motor bike rider. “Why spend $5000 on a scooter when you can get a great motor bike for that?” “Why would you want to sit up, when you can lie down, it looks so dorky?” “On a maxi scooter, is it not dangerous to be travelling that fast sitting up facing the wind?” and so on. I began my ‘peacemaker speech’ with, “Well, I don’t have a problem with motor bikes, in fact I can understand someone wanting to own a bike and a scooter, I think they have different purposes, give a different experience. I think it’s like a desert and a main meal, you don’t decide one from the other, you can choose to have both, and once you decide that then you decide what you want within each of these choices.” Maybe you agree, maybe you don’t. My motor bike instructor would agree, he just bought an Aprilia to go with a 600cc bike! (Just quietly he prefers the Aprilia)

But, here’s the helmet link...Deb, the person to whom I was chatting about this, made a comment regarding image and said something like, “even the 1/2 helmets and no safety gear is part of the image, smart, real smart!”

BANG - I was convicted. It was not the first time someone had made comments about the type of helmets worn predominantly by scooter riders, and I would have to say, many times I had said to myself, “Yes, the trendy 1/2 helmets are the way to go on a scooter because…because why? Because it goes with the image! The carefree, slightly retro (especially if you are on a Vespa/Lambretta restoration), sunshine, relaxed pace”, you get my drift? - Image!

Even now as I go to the Genuine Accessories webpage and look at the different models and styles available, I warm to the ones that fit “the image”, despite the known dangers and endless stories I hear about what a fall from a bike will do to an unprotected face.

The choice that my sister-in-law, Anne would choose is number one, the full face protection. She is a nurse and has had the pleasure of piecing back together many a face that has come ‘unstuck’ after an accident on a bike in which the driver or pillion was wearing a half helmet. Even last night at the party I went to, a couple pulled in on an Aprilia SR 50cc, both with full face, both with padded jackets and gloves. She happens to be a nurse, and made a comment about wanting to keep her nose on her face, not left behind on the road.

Matt’s (1/2 helmet, minimal, to none safety gear) comment today at netball was, “well I only travel 4 or 5 km down the road most times so all the safety gear is not as relevant to me.” Hmmm, part of me goes, “yes, true” another part asks, “Are there no cars in that 4-5km stretch? Is there no chance inside that stretch or on the occasions you do take the mighty Vespa further afield that you may meet your doom?!!” But he assures me he is looking into upping his gear!

This all costs money too. You can pay over $300 just for a good jacket, but what is the alternative?

In conclusion, I would have to say that the temptation is still there to go with image. 1/2 helmet, shorts, flip flops (that’s thongs for the feet you Aussies!), t-shirt and sunnies…no wait, image goggles too!

It all goes together yes?

But at what cost? There has to be a line drawn when it comes to image and safety, or do we just keep justifying it? I have to say that the temptation is still high to go with image. Maybe a compromise, the bigger helmet, but not full face? Wear more clothing but not some $300 jacket covered in labels. I am still considering this and would be happy to hear opinions and what you use. Image is NOT everything, but it sure screams loud! Images in article at www.scootersnoop.com/archives/58

Scott Vawser lives in Perth Western Australia. He is married to Christine and they have 3 daughters. They are attempting to live out some kind of intentional faith-based sustainable community. They are wanting to live and work close to home, connect to their neighbours, live a little more simply, drink nice wine, eat good food and enjoy something of a simple life of fun, love, spirituality and relationships. Scott does some work for a leadership training college and some life coaching for non-profit youth work organisations.

* Scooter Blog - http://www.scootersnoop.com

* Other Blog - http://www.noguarantees.blogspot.com


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