We often get to see dangerous motorcycle stunts in movies, which gives the impression as if riders can make the bikes jump and steer without any problem. Moreover, the movies also show that riders do not collide or crash while doing such dangerous riding. However, in reality things are completely different because no biker is willing to risk his or her life by riding so dangerously. Besides riders, motorcycle manufacturers are also quite concerned about the safety of their customers.
Therefore, apart from boosting the power, performance and style of their bikes, manufacturers are now also looking to improve the safety features. In fact, motorcycle manufacturers are so serious about it that some of them have even introduced car like safety features in their bikes. Below are some of the astonishing innovations in the history of motorcycle safety that have made the two wheelers safer for riding than before.
Suits and Jackets with Airbags
You may have seen airbags in cars, but in bikes this technology was first introduced by Honda back in 2006. However, as compared to the cars the airbag technology failed to lure the bikers. Therefore, now Honda Gold Wing is the only bike in production that offers an airbag system and the worst part is that the technology only offers protection to head in case of collision. When motorcycle makers lost their interest in the airbag technology, manufacturers of helmets, jackets and suits like JS Accessories decided to step up and test their luck in this field.
As a result of this effort a Japanese company RS Taichi introduced the first suit for riders with airbag in 2008 and shortly after that they rolled out airbag jacket. The airbag system in the suit and jacket help protect the neck of the wearer by stabilising bones in it. The system activates after the wire of jacket or suit attached to the bike gets detached. Later Italy based motorcycle clothing maker Dainese introduced the first wireless D-Air suit that does not require anything to establish a connection with the bike because the special suit uses algorithms and sensors in it to sense a collision or crash and activate the system in just 15 milliseconds.
The motorcycle helmet manufacturers also decided to introduce airbags in their helmets after suits and jackets with the system surfaced in the market. APC Systems was the first helmet maker that has introduced a helmet with airbags in 2008. The Barcelona based company integrated speed sensors in their helmets which detects the crash and instantly inflates the airbag to cover the upper spine and neck of the biker.
Then, Sweden based Hövding used a different approach to protect the riders, as it developed a special collar for the neck that deploys an inflatable helmet in case of an accident. However, currently this special collar is used for bicycles only. ThermaHelm on the other hand, used a “brain cooling” technology in its helmets that swiftly reacts and cools the head of the rider when a collision takes place in order to decrease the chances of brain swelling.
Traditional headlights enable drivers to see what’s in front of them in the dark, but adaptive headlights have empowered them to even see what’s around the upcoming bend. As usual the technology was first introduced in cars, but in 2011 BMW made it available in its motorcycles for the first time. These adaptive headlights of BMW’s bikes begin to tilt as the motorcycle leans. However, now San Diego based Vectolabs, a start up, is raising funds to develop a special LED backlight for the motorcycles that will light up whenever the bike slows down, even if the rider does not apply the brakes. This safety LED light of Vectolabs will be called Vololights.
Anti-Lock Braking System (ABS)
The anti-lock braking system (ABS) was initially introduced in the four wheel vehicles by General Motor Company to avoid skidding and decrease the rate of crash or collision, but in 1988 BMW, a German based car and motorcycle manufacturer, introduced the technology in two wheelers. However, BMW’s ABS technology was not particularly designed for bikes. Therefore, later Bosch produced first anti-lock braking system that was especially made for motorcycles. The ABS of Bosch was much more compact and light weight as compared to the previous systems. On top of it, Bosch’s ABS can easily fit into different sizes of bikes.
As a result of that more and more motorcycle manufacturers started incorporating the ABS in their various models. However, the major reason behind integrating the ABS technology in motorcycles was that it has decreased the chances of fatal collisions by roughly 31 percent, which is huge difference. In fact, it is because of this very difference, last year European Union has passed legislation that will require motorcycle manufacturers to incorporate ABS in all bikes above 125cc category from 2016.