tastes and laws
I always liked more or less standard bikes, "if it can't be okay standard, it is probably not okay at all". Choppers seem to me an exercise in excess and seem tasteless, where as the bobbers can have clean lines that I appreciate.
BUT, as said before, to each his/her own. If you are happy with a bike that weighs 2000 lbs and is so uncomfortable that it will only bring you to the bar around the corner, fine, if you have a word traveler to go to the same bar, fine. You take of your office tie and like to dress up like a rough biker dude in the weekend, fine as well. To me that seems more like role playing but we all enjoy hobbies in a different way.
The use of protective gear depends on the laws chosen by the government in a country and the attitudes of the voters. Politics is a balancing act and when the lobbying and interests of the health insurance companies become stronger than the voice of those who want to be "free" to ride motorcycle without any protective gear, the insurance companies will win. In Europe they even dictated certain exercises for the license.