Motorcycle riding is a fun and thrilling hobby, but it isn’t without risks. As much as you can control when you’re riding, there are always things out of your control that could cause a nasty surprise.
In recent years, there has been a surge in technological advancements aimed at making motorcycles safer and reducing the occurrence of crashes. Anything you can do to reduce your risk on a bike is great, and some of these technologies might just end up keeping you safe.
From smart wearables to AI-assisted bikes, these technologies are changing the way riders stay safe on the road while still giving you the freedom you crave and not impeding the excitement of the ride.
Wearable Airbag Jackets
One of the most remarkable advancements in motorcycle safety is the development of wearable airbag jackets. These jackets are equipped with sensors that can activate before sudden impacts or collisions. In the event of a crash, the airbag is deployed before contact, providing additional protection to the rider’s vital areas, such as the chest, back, organs, and neck.
They’ve been in development for upwards of 30 years, starting life as specific garments, but they’ve made their way into becoming standalone vests or jackets you can wear with any gear. They’re lightweight and comfortable, not changing the way you feel when you ride, but they’ll provide an added level of safety and can significantly reduce the severity of any injuries you may suffer in an accident.
Airbag systems in your car use a sensor that sends an electrical signal to a cylinder when there’s a collision, creating a reaction that inflates the airbag. An airbag jacket or vest works in a similar way, with a sensor being triggered or a tether that is pulled to deploy a CO2 canister that inflates the airbags.
This helps the jacket or vest absorb the impact that would otherwise hit your body, minimising the impact and therefore the injury. You won’t feel any different while you’re riding, but you may notice a significant improvement if you’re in a crash.
Collision Detection Systems
We’re all familiar with the different collision avoidance technologies available for cars, now you can also get the same system for your bike, significantly increasing your ability to keep surprises at bay. Using HD cameras and radar, a collision detection system monitors for any threats in a 360-degree field around your bike.
Threats, including unsafe overtaking or not enough distance between your bike and vehicles ahead or behind you, are assessed by a predictive algorithm, acting as a second pair of eyes and sending an alert to the rider to increase the time you have to react.
Systems have been in development for many years and now they’re getting even more intelligent. Bike manufacturers are currently working on systems that can connect to your phone, your smartwatch, or even your Bluetooth headphones and provide you with more information than ever before, but can also provide that information to emergency contacts or first responders in the event of a crash.
At best, these features are completely unobtrusive and you won’t notice them during your ride. If you need them though, they’ll act as another line of defence, protecting you on your rides. Again, these are particularly helpful in protecting you from the actions of others on the road, making sure you can ride with more confidence and focus on enjoying the journey.
Artificial Intelligence (AI) has found its way into the world of motorcycles with AI-assisted bikes. These bikes come equipped with advanced sensors and software that can analyse the surrounding environment, road conditions and rider behavior.
Based on this data, the AI system can provide real-time suggestions and feedback to the rider, assisting them in making safer decisions while riding. This technology not only enhances safety but also augments the riding experience by providing personalised insights.
This is a step above sensors that can warn you of potential harm. AI-assisted bikes will scan the road around you, but also the road ahead of you, including around corners. The way the AI system will learn about you and your riding style also means it will adapt to your riding style and recognise any changes or problems as they occur.
There are only so many things you can monitor while you’re riding, but every additional second of warning is crucial in an emergency situation. If your main goal when you’re on a bike is to enjoy the ride, AI-assisted bikes and AI learning will make your time on the bike more pleasurable, by learning to improve your experience. Even without that, the added safety of AI can reduce the risk of riding a motorcycle and help you stay happy and safe.
Adaptive headlights are a game-changer for night-time riding. These innovative headlights pivot and adjust their angles based on the motorcycle’s lean and turn, illuminating the rider’s path more effectively. This technology enhances visibility and helps riders anticipate potential hazards around corners, ultimately reducing the risk of accidents in low-light conditions.
Smart light distribution from adaptive headlights will make it easier to see in every condition. They also make it easier for others to see you, which is particularly important to avoid crashes. When riding at night, corners and road edges are the most dangerous parts of the road, and adaptive headlights will illuminate these to ensure you can feel confident, no matter the time of day.
It’s not just jackets getting a safety upgrade. Over the years, there have been a number of developments in motorcycle helmets, making them smarter and safer than ever before.
New helmets can now come with features like intelligent noise cancellation to help prevent any damage to your hearing while riding and visibility lights built in to help keep you safe at night and in low light conditions.
Some helmets have emergency broadcast systems that work like the updates in smartwatches to alert first responders if you have a crash. There are even helmets with visual displays that provide you with an added level of awareness but don’t impede your vision or concentration.
There are also developments underway to change the way a helmet absorbs the impact in the event of an accident. A motorcycle helmet will help protect your head in the event of a crash, but new material and design will also now reduce how any impact reaches your skull and neck, giving you a reduced chance of injury if you are involved in a crash.
The motorcycle industry is witnessing a transformation with cutting-edge technologies that prioritise rider safety without compromising the thrill and joy of riding. These groundbreaking inventions are keeping unwanted surprises at bay and positively impacting the riding community; a safe ride is always going to be a more enjoyable ride!
As technology continues to advance, motorcycle safety will undoubtedly improve, making the roads a safer place for riders worldwide. Embracing these innovations while staying true to the spirit of motorcycle riding is a remarkable step forward in ensuring safer journeys for all enthusiasts.
So, gear up, stay informed, and ride on confidently, knowing that these groundbreaking inventions have your back (and neck, and head, and your body in general!)