An Idea for a Master’s Thesis
Or maybe a doctorate – probably in Sociology.
It occurred to me several months ago (when wearing a mask for virus protection was still debatable), that my motorcycle friends seemed to all have adopted wearing a mask at all times out in public. Now the concept seems to be entering the skulls of even the most obtuse (but not all of them) and wearing a mask while shopping is pretty universal. At least where I shop. Your results may differ.
It got me to thinking about motorcycling and other activities like mountain climbing or scuba diving or sport parachuting, activities that most people consider to be dangerous. Are such people different?
First, a bit of a sidetrack. I make a distinction between “danger” and “risk.” To me danger is danger, whereas risk can be reduced by attention to training, experience, gear, and focus on detail and situation. Decades ago, a friend told me he thought that what I enjoyed about motorcycle riding was the taking of an activity with inherent risks and working to reduce the risk as much as practicable. That was not the totality of my fascination with all things motorcycle, but I could not disagree with his statement.
For my proposed thesis I would use a control group of people who do not partake in hobbies with risk. I would limit the test group to men and women who have been involved in the activity for at least ten years and always go out for the day prepared. In the motorcycle world this is usually referred to as “ATGATT,” an acronym that stands for All the Gear All the Time.
The survey used would go back in time to March of 2020, and ask respondents when, by approximate date, they began to use a mask. How often they use it, where they use it, etc.
My thesis is that people in my test group long ago became acquainted with the concepts of risk and risk reduction. To a motorcyclist who always wears a quality helmet, gloves, sturdy footwear and motorcycle jacket, and perhaps motorcycle riding pants (I am willing to be a bit lax on the last one – jeans are so popular – but some sort of pants are a must!), the idea of wearing a mask seems like a simple and practical add-on. It is not more of an imposition that wearing the gear they are always wearing anyway. If you ever look down at the asphalt whirring underneath you at 60mph the need for quality gear should be obvious.
People who choose activities that involve risk either accept the dictates of preparation and care, or they do not stay with the activity for long. One way or another.
It would be interesting to see the reasoning (loose use of that word) of people who are adamant that wearing a mask somehow diminishes their freedom or puts them under the control of the state of some other rationale.
I think some of those people are the ones who lecture me on how dangerous riding a motorcycle is.
I don’t need a masters or doctoral degree, and I am too lazy to do the research, but I would love to see the results of the research.
Ride safe, ride fast, and ride often!
Copyright 2020 David Preston
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