Once the winter snow melts, motorcycle enthusiasts prepare to take out their rides for another season of wind-in-your-hair adventures. Whether touring iconic roads or making quick jaunts around the neighborhood, bikers of all ages enjoy climbing onto their rides and hitting the open road.
When the weather warms, motorists are bound to see an influx of motorcycles on the road. So it’s only natural that, come spring, many motorists’ thoughts turn to motorcycle safety. Statistics indicate that motorcycles are more dangerous than cars. According to Wired, people on motorcycles are nearly 30 times more likely to die in a crash than people in cars, due in part to motorcycles’ lack of airbags, crumple zones and seat belts.
Upon the return of warm weather, motorcycle enthusiasts should revisit safety protocols and even explore the technological innovations that are helping to make motorcycling safer.
Bikes that talk
Vehicle-to-vehicle communications technology can help reduce motorcycle accidents and injuries. Using short-range Wi-Fi-based communication, motorcycles can track vehicles in the vicinity; assess speed, braking, and other elements; and alert riders with enough time to avoid a crash. The hardware produced by Autotalks and Bosch is scheduled to be tested on Ducati motorcycles. Bosch’s initial research suggests it could prevent one-third of all motorcycle accidents in Germany, where the company is headquartered and will conduct the study.
Modern head protection
Motorcycle helmets protect one of the most important parts of the body that can be injured in motorcycle accidents. Seemingly a simple piece of equipment, helmets are continually evolving to prevent injuries. Some new technologies include using airbag systems with helmet designs to provide neck and spinal protection immediately on impact. Sensors built into the helmets can record speeds and inflate if a crash seems imminent.
Apart from looking the biker part, there are other advantages to wearing leather when riding. Leather is resistant to abrasion, which protects riders against cuts. Leather also is good at insulating, so riders can stay comfortable when the wind is chilly. In addition to leather jackets and pants, leather gloves and boots are suggested.
People may wonder just what self-driving cars will have to do with motorcycle safety, but putting driving into the virtual hands of a computer can eliminate driver error. That means cars will be able to sense an oncoming bike and assess its speed. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has said biker deaths have waned thanks to safety features like blind-spot monitoring. Self-driving cars can bring accident numbers down even more because they will eliminate distracted drivers, impaired drivers and factors that comprise driver error.
Although self-driving motorcycles are unlikely to be available anytime soon, certain features that can map the road ahead and warn of terrain or curves may be in the works. BMW envisions systems that can do just this, warning bikers to slow down or making navigation changes.
Safety is a consideration anytime bikers decide to go for a ride. Technology can help bikers reduce their risk of accident or injury.