Motorcycle riding has long been a tradition in this country, often being handed down from parent to child in both property and enjoyment. Unfortunately, driver awareness of motorcycles is not always as high as it should be. The upside is that recent tech advancements and big pushes in motorcycle safety have led to a variety of safety upgrades and enhancements in motorcycle parts and gear.
While fully active suspensions have long been standard in four-wheeled vehicles, the size and weight of the components has made them impractical to incorporate into most motorcycles. The development of semi-active suspension from industry leaders like BMW and Ducati has allowed for suspension improvements that create a much more stable and adaptable ride. With response times in the millisecond range, these devices help to smooth out rough terrain and unexpected road conditions, allowing riders to have more control and confidence on their bikes.
Clothing company Dainese and bike manufacturer Ducati have teamed up to revolutionize safety in motorcycle jackets. They have developed a jacket that is wirelessly connected to a control box on the motorcycle that reacts to variations in the position of the bike, inflating air bags within the jacket to protect the rider in case of an accident. These jackets are much more effective than previous models that required the rider or passenger to actually become detached from the bike before activating, which does not always happen in situations like lay-downs.
Often the biggest focus on motorcycle safety gear, helmets continue to advance in both their effectiveness and their technological capacity. New composite materials continue to make helmets stronger and lighter, while new designs help reduce airflow and drag making the ride easier for the rider. Many new and innovative motocycle helmet styles include technological advancements like heads-up displays (HUD) in the visors and wireless and Bluetooth communication capabilities for all kinds of hands-free applications.
The more control you can keep over your bike, the better chance you have of surviving or even avoiding altogether a crash. In high adrenaline situations, it can be difficult to remember to fluctuate pressure on the front brake so that it doesn’t lock up. Newer ABS systems can not only accomplish this for you, some even make use of predictive programming called “fuzzy logic” that can predict when a tire is going to lock up and act accordingly to prevent it.
One of the biggest concerns for riders is visibility, both their own visibility of the road ahead of them and making sure that they are visible to other drivers around them. BMW has long included adaptive headlight technology into its bikes, allowing headlights to turn with the riders keeping the portion of the road where the bike is headed always illuminated. Now, companies are experimenting with new brake lights that light up whenever the bike slows down, not just when the brake is applied. This is a huge leap in safety as many riders do not always use the brakes to slow down.