Although they are not as widely used as cars, motorcycles always made up a huge chunk of the overall automotive industry aimed at people who like the sense of speed, freedom, and agility. However, all these things come at a cost, and bike riders are very unprotected compared to people who are traveling in the comfort of their cars.
But phones are getting smarter, homes are getting smarter, and cars are getting smarter as well. It is only expected that the protective gear industry will follow the same path and reap the benefits of the modern tech world to improve riders’ safety. Let’s see what’s brewing on the horizon.
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Safer smart helmets
Helmets have a tremendous impact on the safety of a motorcycle rider. However, due to their very nature, they are heavy, robust, and create plenty of blind spots. Or at least they were like that up until recently. Over the past couple of years, bike helmets lost some weight and got interesting upgrades in the form of built-in GPS systems and blind spot cameras. Some of these units can even integrate with the latest urban transport tech and provide the rider with the critical vehicle info in the form of HUD. All these changes make riding more comfortable and thus far safer.
ABS becomes widely accessible
If you are unfamiliar with the term, ABS stands for an anti-lock braking system that rapidly releases and reapplies the braking pressure to prevent the wheels from locking. Vehicles that feature this type of braking system also make a very popular company investment and for a good reason too. Going back to motorcycles, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, the implementation of this technology cuts the number of fatal crashes by 31%. We are happy to report then that smart ABS and throttle control are slowly but gradually becoming an industry standard rather than an exception.
Streamlined and refined materials
The safety of the rider, to a large extent, depends on the integrity of the bike. Losing control at high speeds due to some breakdown can be fatal – especially in off-road conditions that are more attritional than regular tracks. Fortunately, manufacturers have been making drastic improvements in the casting process, and nowadays, you can easily find top-quality aluminum bash plates and other protective elements at specialized, reputable suppliers. These innovative pieces of protective equipment feature a far lower level of gases and oxides in finished parts, which makes them that much more durable, long-lasting, and safe.
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Airbag technology being used for clothing
Although such a simple description may sound clunky and impractical, modern motorcycling clothing pieces such as jackets, vests and bodysuits do feature smart airbags that deploy upon the sign of collision, all without suffocating, overburdening, or hurting the rider. Such a refined technology may sound very novel, but airbag clothing has been used for years now in the world of professional motorcycle racing. Still, it is only now that airbag suits have become streamlined and affordable enough to hit the consumer market segment on a wider scale.
Automated clutches and stability control
Much like with four-wheeled vehicles, changing gears while driving at high speeds or in heavy traffic can prove to be far too distracting for inexperienced drivers. A similar thing can be said about preserving stability. Developing these skills on a motoric level takes some time inexperienced riders often do not have – according to the Highway Loss Data Institute, a novice rider is four times more likely to crash in the first month than during the entire second year of riding. Automatic clutches as well as stability control do a lot to lower these grim numbers.
Tire pressure and performance monitors
Bikes are complex machines that include dozens of complex mechanisms, all of which need to perform flawlessly to ensure safe riding. Unfortunately, when we are in the seat, we have very little knowledge about what’s happening below – often until it becomes too late. Modern motorcycle monitoring systems solve this problem by providing the rider with essential data regarding critical vehicle systems. We decided to give a special mention to tire pressure monitors since the tires are what give the vehicle the necessary traction and keep the rider firmly on the ground.
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This is yet another technological breakthrough lifted directly from the car industry. What are we talking about here, then? Well, similarly to their four-wheeled counterparts, some of the modern motorcycles are capable of “informing” surrounding vehicles about their presence and allow their drivers to act accordingly. The launch of this technology is still some time away, but when we see it implemented on a wider scale, crashes caused by passing by from dead angles may finally be a thing of the past.
We hope these couple of examples gave you some insight into the things developing in the motorcycle industry. The vehicles we are building are becoming faster, leaner, and more accessible to an average consumer. Therefore, the protective gear that keeps that general consumer safe needs to follow the performance advancements. Fortunately enough, all the signs we have seen by now are more than promising.
About the author: Derek Lotts is an experienced freelance writer and researcher. His main areas of interest are small business, home improvement, and sustainable living. He strongly believes in the power of sharing knowledge and ideas through the mediums of modern technology.