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Column: Biker, brace yourself!

2010-05-28 09:42

Dave Fall

There are no half measures when it comes to survival on our roads — more so if you’re a biker.

Anyone who rides two wheels needs to consider one alarming fact: just jumping on your motorbike (large or small) means you are seven times more likely to have an accident than your fellow motorist in his tin box. Lousy odds, aren’t they?

Yes, it’s you and me I’m talking about. Those of us who nip around to the corner shop to get a loaf of bread and buy a Lotto ticket for that weekly dream. You are wearing your crash helmet, a good jacket, but surely that’s not flip-flops I see on your feet!  

Alas, that’s a common scenario encountered seven days a week, up and down our beautiful country. Don’t do it! It really can hurt if you get knocked off your bike.

But there’s a clever piece of kit we all ought to consider — assuming you don’t already own one — a Leatt neck brace.

The price of safety

Consider the facts: we’ll happily spend up to R140 000 on a nice machine, another R2 000 (minimum) on a crash helmet, find some more bucks for decent all-weather gear, and then largely rely on Lady Luck to keep us safe. No matter how good a rider you are, things can go wrong (sometimes horribly so), but for the price of a reasonably-priced crash helmet, read on.

I’ve just spent a week evaluating a 600cc scooter and under the seat I came across one of these devices — the likes of which I’d never seen before — and, what’s more, it’s a superb South African invention!

Without putting too fine a point on it, this unobtrusive device could prevent your neck from being broken and, in the worst case scenario, protect the cervical spine as far as possible.

Accolades have come easily to the Leatt-Brace Company, it seems. Ones that made me sit up and take notice are “Product of the Decade” awarded by the Motocross Action people, and the “Eurobike Innovations Award” that came Leatt’s way just last year.

Made in SA

The operation is headed up by South African medical man Dr Chris Leatt, who is a motorcyclist in his own right. Leatt built on his idea with the help of BMW and the Ludwig Maximilian University in Munich, Germany.

Interestingly, all the R&D is done right here in Cape Town, within spitting distance of the Killarney race circuit.

The neck brace was originally designed for motocross riders, but the scope of this go-ahead company has meant models were soon adapted for every type of two-wheel user. Prices start at R2 450 and they are available from your favourite motorcycle accessory outlet.

To sum up: “Don’t ride faster than your Guardian Angel can fly!”


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