Great topic I think. Right now, I'm wearing Olympia Hi-viz AST, MC over pants (also made by Olympia) boots, gloves, helmet, and one of those back protectors. To be honest, I've always ridden ATTGAT when I got on a motorcycle. My gear has gotten more expensive (better?) And I won't ride without my gear. So I don't have any "before/after" experiences to compare. However, I do know that when I was on a scooter, I must have thought of the thing as some how "safer" or more "toy like" as I rode the little 50cc scooter and did some incredibly foolish things, even destroying an MC helmet in one crash. However, when on a real motorcycle, I keep everything reigned in.
I wonder if the idea that MC's are a sort of "seasonal toy" might cause some people to kill/hurt themselves, rather than feeling invincible due to gear.