Motorcycle airbag vests may results in fewer injuries for Wisconsin motorcyclists
They are not necessarily new to the motorcycle market, but motorcycle airbags have improved over the years and may help Wisconsin motorcycle riders avoid or reduce injury in a crash. With the number of motorcyclists killed nationwide in accidents dropping to 5,172 in 2017 and representing a 3% decrease (according to the National Transportation Safety Administration) motorcycle riders are still overrepresented in traffic fatalities.
Because the risk of injury or death remains high for motorcyclists involved in an accident, anything that can help reduce this risk is worth looking into. We know motorcycle helmets are a big motorcycle safety plus. But what about the efficacy of motorcycle airbags and airbag vests?
According to Car and Bike, Hungry received the first patent for a motorcycle airbag jacket in 1976. The first example of an inflating motorcycle airbag was invented in 1995 in Japan but wasn’t showcased until 1998 as the Hit Air vest.
How motorcycle airbag vests work
A motorcycle airbag vest is designed to fit over a rider’s jacket. They work similarly to those in your motor vehicle and will inflate to protect you in an accident. The trigger for the device is extremely responsive resulting in an air cushion that protects the cyclist’s ribcage and spine. Some also cover the neck and collar bone area. The airbag distributes the force from the impact, keeping the rider from having to absorb it.
Entry-level motorcycle vests operate by a cable attached to the bike with the other end clipped to the rider’s vest. Should the rider fall, the cable activates the release of a pin that punctures the metal cap of a CO2 cylinder. This causes the vest to inflate in a fraction of a second. When inflated, which requires 60 pounds of force to activate, the vest becomes almost rock hard, yet still allows space for conventional body armor.
Do motorcycle airbag vests work?
The efficacy of a motorcycle airbag vest, according to experts, depends upon the brand. For example, vest maker Dainese claims their Smart Jacket provides as much protection as seven back protectors. It will protect your spine, but it doesn’t reach the neck, highlighting the fact that each airbag vest has its strengths and weaknesses. However, using a motorcycle airbag vest has been shown to reduce the risk of back and ribcage injury.
Studies conducted on crash tests indicate that they really do help. For instance, Honda’s crash test results showed that the airbag system reduced forward momentum by 72%, with head trauma reduced by 83%.
Although motorcycle airbag systems may not completely protect a motorcyclist from injury, it has been shown that they can certainly reduce the level of injury, even preventing a fatality.
How and where to purchase a motorcycle airbag vest
Motorcycle airbag vests can be purchased in a number of retail stores and motorcycle specialty shops; however, riders need to do their researchon what is out there. Motorcycle airbag systems go for as little as $390 to over $1000, ranging from entire model vests to full second generation suits.
The good news is that motorcycle safety technology is expanding and our hope is that riders take full advantage of it.
If you have sustained a motorcycle injury or a loved one has died in a motorcycle crash because of the carelessness of another person’s actions, please call us at 1-800-529-1552. You have rights that need to be discussed.
If you have any questions about this topic or any other questions related to personal injury law, please call us at 920-725-8464, or toll free at 1-800-529-1552. Our personal injury consultations are always free.
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