It's interesting. Talk to someone who has had a crash, and generally the answer is that they would never ride without gear again. It seems that experience is the best teacher.
There seems to be a perception around here (certainly where I live) that because you ride a cruiser, you ride slower, and an accident is less likely, therefore any protective gear is not necessary.
I reminded a friend of mine (Harley guy) that my crash happened at the speed of.....35mph.
He wears a full face helmet now after he saw the pics of my Shoei.
Perhaps it's a lack of imagination? Because honestly, if you haven't ever crashed, you likely can't imagine how much it sucks - so you wear no gear.