falling safely? maybe at low speed but for a high speed off i think this is a tad disingenuous.
i always wear a helmet, a new one this last couple of weeks as the last one breathed its last in a slate quarry where i punctured and headered a rock. it had cunningly hid itself so my master falling skills were outwitted. i have some excellent low speed brain injury xrays and ct scans at work. it's a motivator.
pads i only ever wear regularly on my mountain board. i don't like them on the bike, too bulky, too warm. that said i was melting it down a trail centre trail the other day and the thought occured to me that if i did have an off it would be hurting big time my mad falling skills being outweighed by the solidity of the surrounding trees and boulders.
tragically i think the main motivator for me padding up is age. no longer the elastic leaping up for me, more the realisation that yes indeed i am going to land like a fleshy sack of spuds. and being old it's going to take me that much longer than my more youthful brains in the toolbox testosterone fuelled colleagues to actualy heal.
people should wear what they want (except for helmets and glasses) esp if they can reveal to me how they can actually get up the hill without cooking in all their paddery, spine protectors and armoured pants. i get more bothered bythe notion of some sort of mtb fashion police than pad wearing.