Motorcycle riding - for some it’s liberating, thrilling, and perhaps even a way of life. For others, it’s just an everyday activity helping them get from point A to point B. Regardless of what it means to you, there’s one cold, hard truth - it’s risky. Sure, in some cases you can blame the rider’s poor driving skills or intoxication, but there are facts that can’t be disputed easily; the NHTSA concluded that during its last review of statistics three years ago, motorcycle fatalities increased over 7%, while states without helmet laws suffered 10 times more fatalities than those that had helmet use mandatory by law. Around 15% of all highway deaths came from motorcycle users, making bikers around 30 times more at risk than truckers and car drivers — and half a of bike crashes had no other vehicle involved.
There’s little doubt left that motorcycle riding can be hazardous hobby, and more and more people are starting to get concerned; they want a safer motorcycle. Now, to some, the very concept of a safer motorcycle sounds stupid because they equate safety with boring, and can’t get their adrenaline going if there’s no risk involved. But to the majority, broken bones (or worse) are a big enough concern to start looking into modern safety innovations that technology of 21st century has brought to the table. Let’s take a look at some recent tech advancements in motorcycle safety:
Crash statistics shows that 68% of biker accidents that result in injury or fatality are caused by frontal collisions, and that in majority of accidents, the rider’s injuries or death are caused by crashing against the road or other, non-vehicle obstacles. In response to this, Honda has created a Motorcycle Airbag System that is intended to reduce the impact on a rider in case of frontal collision. One of the latest examples in motorcycle safety tech also comes from Ducati with their Multistrada D-Air model to be precise. What makes this bike special is the ability to deploy airbag in 45 milliseconds from Dainese jacket that senses the movements of the bike wirelessly, if it comes to worst. It is the pioneer of its kind in using wi-fi technology for this sophisticated safety feature.
Everyone knows about anti-lock brake systems for cars, but only a few motorcycle models have them. An MSC system enables automatic braking even at an angle as steep as 45 degrees. Designed specifically for motorcycles, this stability control system will reduce the chance of front-wheel braking that result in bike getting pushed off-course. Given the fact that around 25% of motorcycle crashes happen on corners and curves, this system is bigger help to a bikers than a standard ABS would be.
Other good news comes from Harley-Davidson, who developed the Reflex Linked Brakes with Anti-lock Braking System (ABS) and implemented it in their Road King. The gist of it is that electronics provide the right amount of braking power to whatever wheel needs it the most. Additional safety features of the Road King are the dual halogen headlamps as well as fog lights, improved turn signals and brake lights, and finally, more responsive steering.
Tough leather boots and jackets with armor inserts are old news; things are going sci-fi. Award winning helmet Skully AR-1 boasts a transparent floating HUD that gives the rider full situational awareness on the road with a camera feeding it with 180° rear-view. It goes without saying that likelihood of blind spot related crashes should decrease with such helpful gadget. The list of cool features doesn't end there; Skully also uses voice commands for hands-free calls, music streaming, and GPS navigation. What more could we ask for?
For people with lower budget, Beartek’s motorcycle gloves could be solid choice. They are easy to use and offer dual functionality via two independent modules - Bluetooth, for controlling music and taking calls, as well as camera module, which enables you to take control of GoPro. It’s super simple; the rider only has to hit different touch points on the glove with their thumb to change songs, navigate conversations, and to switch camera use.
By offering intuitive interface for interaction and keeping the pace with information around you while also minimizing distractions, modern pieces of gear are making the roads safer for everyone. Modern technology is bringing us to the future where we can finally stop worrying about “what if” and just enjoy the ride.
Image Courtesy of: gizmag.com