Keith Code says he always wears a helmet and safety gear for street riding

by Jeff on April 14, 2009

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By Jeff Cobb
Motorcycle Safety News

California Superbike School founder Keith Code said last week that he would never ride a motorcycle on the street without wearing a helmet and safety gear.

He offered his comments when asked about the mixed messages that abound among American motorcyclists regarding what it takes to be reasonably safe.

Code, who founded the school in 1980, said his first recommendation is training – ideally, aggressive and tough training that forces riders past their comfort zones into new levels of proficiency.

But even though Code teaches this kind of training, and has highly developed skills, he said that he knows better than to test his luck riding without gear.

“There’s no way I’m riding on a street without a helmet,” Code said, adding that along with a helmet, he’ll wear sturdy gloves, if not also a suitable jacket, pants and boots.

Having been a racer, and having crashed before, Code said he does not need anyone to convince him what makes the most sense.

“I’ve high sided at 140,” he said. “We know if you fall off a motorcycle and you tap your head … if you have a helmet on you have a better chance.”

And when it comes to advocating that riders should gear up, Code puts his money where his mouth is.

For example, he told of a motorcycle tour he did from Edelweiss, Spain. Realizing he lacked protective clothing for the trip, he bought some motorcycle “under armor” that fit beneath his street clothes.

“I was very comfortable,” he said. “And I knew I would not very stupidly crack my elbow.”

Code said these days he does not street ride as much, but when he does, he will even wear track gear when he expects to really ride hard.

“If I was going to take a ride up on the Crest on a Sunday,” Code said of the Angeles Crest Highway, “then yeah I would throw on my leathers.”

But Code, whose superbike school contracts with the U.S. Marine Corps to teach its motorcycle riding personnel how to do it better, was clear that beyond gear, the safest thing a rider could do is learn the art and science of motorcycle handling.

“In the end it isn’t the safety gear that keeps a rider safe,” Code said, “Tough training based on real riding basics does.”

Even so, he highly recommends that riders think about what they’d want to be wearing, in the event that all else fails.

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Super Biker Keith Code goes ATGATT « Jeffersonian SOB Forum
04.15.09 at 5:24 am

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Motorcycle Nut 04.15.09 at 2:14 pm

No matter how well trained and experienced you are, you’d be insane to go out on the road without the best safety gear you can afford. What people seem to forget is that you could be the safest rider in the world, but your safety is still put at risk by dangerous drivers whose actions are beyond your control.

Mike martin 07.21.11 at 2:02 am

I agree with Keith, I was recently involved in a hit and run crash on Ca 405 north. I was traveling at 75 mph on a very nice clear morning in very lite traffic when a car that was passing by slowed to look at my motorcycle, he waved and I nodded and he got on the throttle to go on his way and veered in to my lane. It happened fast and i did not help the situation, I could have come off my throttle or changed Lanes. Had I did those simply adjustments. I would not have crashed. Fortunately I twas wearing my Nolan 300 ( fabulous Fullface helmet) and a full set of Fox Creek Leather..I got hurt but it could have been much Worse. My gear saved me, I have already reordered and received most of My gear already. I have been riding for forty years, these are my worst injuries, triple spiral fracture below the left knee,six broken ribs and the radius compound fracture and a broken ulna, all of the carpal tunnel bones were crushed. Non head injuries, no road rash. Thank god mike

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