I wear a First gear TPG Rainer jacket and TPG Escape pants, FXRG4 boots, A* GPX gloves and a decent full face helmet. On rare occation I'll go without the pants. I wear them because it makes me for confident in congested traffic, loose surfaces (gravel etc) and more spirited twisty runs. I feel that it is my responsibility to as part of a community to wear it as well, if a trauma unit has to take time for me then that may be taking their attention for someone else who may not have been able to mitigate their injuries.
I believe that it's up to the rider to decide how they dress for riding. The reason that I cringe when I see ungeared riders is because it has been my experience that most of them don't understand what gear really does and the risk associated with not using it. If someone knows and accepts the risk, then that is their deal. Someone that is new to riding or rides very little (10 year old garage queens with 3k miles anyone?) and thinks that "gear looks lame" or doesn't wear it because it covers up their rebel spirit is an idiot. For example, an aquaintance of mine bought a GSXR600 as her first bike, because 600cc isn't much, right? She plans on riding in a tank top, shorts, gym shoes, and a helmet (only because it is required by law.) Her reasoning is that she thinks that gear looks dumb and is too bulky; that is dumb. I'm going to keep working with her so that she doesn't become another squid statistic. How many experienced riders would give her the "ride how you want" advice? If she -knew- the risks and still chose to dress that way, then it wouldn't be my place to say anything.
My view on it is that most people that ride without gear just don't know any better; maybe I just have too much faith in my fellow man. The idiots that go without to rebel against "The Man" are the worst.