Safety has never been as important as it is now for riders of motorcycles. With increased speeds, heavier traffic, and a slowly-aging motorcycle population, it might seem as if the odds are stacked against lowering the frequency of serious motorcycle crashes. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reported in 2014 that bikers were 27 times more likely to die in a vehicle crash than drivers of cars or trucks, and about five times more likely to be injured. With approximately 8.6 million motorcycles on our highways and byways, that’s a lot of lives. Safety must always be a top priority.
While defensive riding and keeping what’s known as a “safety attitude” top of mind are extremely important, technology is now playing a greater role than ever before in helping riders avoid severe crashes resulting in injury and death. We have selected what we believe to be the top 10 advances in motorcycle safety technology for you to learn more about.
Adaptive headlights show you what’s coming up around a curve by calculating the lean angle (the angle at which your bike enters the curve). The calculated angle is then used to direct the headlights so that areas normally left dark by traditional headlights will be illuminated. BMW first used the technology with motorcycles in 2011, so it may very well be available on the next bike you decide to buy. According to AAA, adaptive headlights give a rider an enormous safety edge when it comes to 90 percent of the crashes that occur on curves at night.
But the usual helmet, useful though it is, has been improved upon. Some helmets have airbags. Some include cameras that can help you eliminate blind spots, avoiding crashes. And some even include materials that help prevent further injury in case of a crash, such as one helmet with a built-in chemical packet. In the event of a crash, the packet activates and cools the head in order to limit brain swelling.
A stability system by Bosch is similar to ride-by-wire in that a computer system monitors sensors. When a loss of traction occurs, the computer automatically applies both the engine brakes and the disc brakes in order to regain control.
It seems certain that motorcycles will eventually become as technologically advanced as passenger vehicles, making them safer to enjoy than they are now. Ride safely!