Via BBC – Newsbeat – Technology – Air bag jacket ‘could save lives’:

Dozens of motorcyclists’ lives could be saved every year if air bag jackets were made compulsory, accident and emergency doctors have said.

The jackets are the equivalent of car air bags and inflate if the rider is thrown off during a crash.

In one version, the jacket is attached to the bike by a lead which detaches when the rider has come off suddenly.

The Department of Transport said it had no plans for a new law but said it welcomed anything to improve safety.

A video shows a stuntman dropping the bike in a slow (35 mph) lowside before commenting:

As soon as I hit the floor, I was lifted up and it felt like I was on the airbag.


It stops the bounce. I think it’s the bounce when you’re crashing at speed that hurts you.

Oh dear… the old “it’s the bounce that kills you” joke.

The five most common motorcycle accidents are:

  • failure to negotiate left hand bend on country A road
  • failure to negotiate right hand bend on country A road
  • collision at junctions
  • collision while overtaking
  • loss of control (shunts and road surface)

So four of the five categories are likely to involve a collision with roadside furniture or a vehicle at high speed: nasty and unlikely to be substantially mitigated. Motorcyclists should know this and ride accordingly.

On road or track, prevention is better than protective gadgetry that may make a marginal difference in limited circumstances. Given the collisions that are most likely, I’m not convinced that making motorcyclists feel safer with a few inches of air is a good idea. Much better to emphasize their vulnerability and encourage better riding.

Yet see how casually the idea is raised that people should be compelled to act as directed for their own good instead of taking responsibility for themselves.

Comments are closed.