There’s nothing quite like riding on a motorcycle. But as freeing as the open road can be, it’s important to be as protected as possible. To help make bikes safer, manufacturers have changed many features riders use in addition to making modifications to the motorcycles themselves.
The intersection of new technology and a greater awareness of the need for safety has led to the creation of safety-enhancing innovations. Here’s a look at some of the current and coming innovations in motorcycle safety features and protective gear.
1. Safer helmets
Motorcycle helmets play a major role in rider safety and today they have been improved to include such features as built-in GPS systems and built-in cameras to show rear views and eliminate blind spots.
2. Airbag vests and jackets
An 2,756 lives estimated were saved by air bags in 2016. Now, motorcycle clothing manufacturers are implementing some of those same safety features into gear for riders. Sensors in the clothing detect when a motorcycle makes impact, immediately deploying an airbag that protects the chest and vital organs.
3. LED lighting
LED lighting doesn’t just make a motorcycle look sharp, it provides greater visibility and plays a key role in enhancing rider safety. Not only can drivers see the motorcycle more easily but the LED lighting gives riders a clearer view of the road, particularly in unfavorable conditions. Many helmets are also now equipped with LED lighting to increase rider visibility.
4. Connected gloves
For the past few years, manufacturers have been experimenting with different types of innovations in gloves. In 2019, continue to look for that innovation to swing into production with advances like Bluetooth-connected gloves that allow riders to control smartphone and GPS functions by touching certain areas of the glove. (It’s important to keep in mind that these features should only be used when the motorcycle is not in motion.)
5. Lower horsepower
While some manufacturers are developing “superbikes” with more power, others are keeping their eye on safety and are lowering the horsepower. This makes it ideal for new drivers or those who just want a safer commute.
Complete system monitoring services including cruise control, semi-active suspension, and tire pressure monitors are being sold on some motorcycles in Europe. While some of these are available as aftermarket items today, look for them to begin working their way into American designs.
7. Anti-lock brakes
Borrowing from the automotive industry, manufacturers have begun exploring anti-lock brake systems for motorcycles. These systems will automatically pump brakes should your motorcycle come to a sudden stop, giving you more control on steering in an emergency situation.
8. Stability control
Accelerating or braking during a turn is a major contributor to motorcycle accidents, but new stability control systems analyze the traction control and lean-angle data to ensure the motorcycle receives only the right amount of power or braking.
Motorcycle boots often are overlooked, but they’re an important safety feature. As more attention has been drawn to injuries associated with poorly constructed boots, boot makers are introducing new, flexible impact technology to protect the foot and absorb the shock of impact.
10. Three-wheeled motorcycles
Manufacturers have begun making three-wheel instead of two-wheel vehicles as a way to accommodate aging riders who are often looking for a more stable ride. The new breed of trikes have a “cool” factor in addition to providing more balance than a traditional motorcycle.
Although safety has always been a major consideration for motorcyclists, today it is more important than ever. For more safety tips and advice, check out our three-part, motorcycling 101 series:
Motorcycling 101: Getting Your License
Motorcycling 101: Everyday Safety Essentials
Motorcycling 101: Buying Your First Bike
Even with the advancements in motorcycle safety and technology, your motorcycle itself needs to be protected. Take a look at the insurance coverage you can get for your motorcycle from Nationwide.