If you drive a car or other four-wheeled vehicle, you likely know about the range of safety technology available. When it comes to motorcycles, you might think there’s less scope for sophisticated tech to make riding safety. After all, a bike is smaller, and there’s less space for all kinds of fancy gadgets. However, it’s still possible to make riding a motorbike safer with technology, which can both be included in the makeup of the bike or used as an add-on or personal gadget. Here are some of the latest technologies that are making riding safer, both for the biker and for anyone around them.
Motorcycles don’t have the space for all the new alert systems and gadgets that many cars now have. So using tech to make them safer often means improving on the components they already have. For example, motorbikes need lights for riding at night and when visibility on the roads is poor. Many riders, especially those who have just got their license, avoid driving at night because they’re scared of getting into an accident. But improved lights help to combat the problem. Adaptive headlights adjust when the bike turns a corner, using onboard sensors to calculate the best angle to direct the light. They could make turning corners at night a whole lot easier and safer.
Anyone on the road needs to pay attention, but drivers in cars or other four-wheeled vehicles have a little more freedom. They need to avoid getting distracted, but it’s usually not a big deal if they quickly check their navigation system. On a motorbike, that’s not really possible. You need to keep both hands on the bike and make sure your eyes are always on the road. Some technologies are changing things to make multi-tasking possible – although, whether that’s a good thing for safety could be debatable.
Special helmets allow for voice control to make it possible to use GPS, listen to music or make phone calls while riding. A safety benefit could include the use of a rear-facing camera, allowing riders to see behind them. If you ask any injury lawyer, they’ll tell you that the negligence of others on the road is a major cause of motorcycle accidents. Being more aware of what’s around you could help you to avoid an accident caused by someone else’s negligence, and it might improve your performance on the road too.
Motorcycles run on only two wheels, which means staying stable is harder work. Even though you learn how to do it when you get your license, it helps to have some assistance from your bike too. Stability control systems, like the one by Bosch, uses sensors and a computer to help a bike maintain stability. If the sensor detects a loss of traction, brakes are automatically applied to help maintain control. It should make crashing your motorbike a whole lot more difficult. Similarly, many cars now have automatic braking built in as part of their collision prevention systems.
When you ride a motorcycle, it’s your helmet and your clothing that help to protect you if you fall off. Some people are reluctant to wear heavy protective clothing, especially on hot days, but it could save your life – or, at least, your skin. If you go skidding across the road, you want there to be something between the tarmac and your skin. Innovations in protective gear are making it a more attractive prospect to wear. Your clothes can offer you more protection, and they can be lighter and more breathable too. For example, you can now get airbag jackets and vests, which deploy airbags in the event of a crash. Motorcycle boots are being designed to withstand impact better too.
Apps for mobile devices have taken over the world of technology. It seems like there’s an app for everything. If you want to be a safer rider, there’s an app for that too. Some apps, like the Realrider app, will detect when you have a crash and automatically contact the emergency services. Automatic emergency calling is also making an appearance in some bikes. You can track your route with an app too, which helps to improve safety and means you can look back on your ride later.
Anti-lock braking systems (ABS) have been used in cars for a long time. Although they have been included in some motorcycle designs since the late 1980s, it’s only relatively recently that anti-lock braking systems have been designed specifically for motorcycles. Bosch came up with one in 2010, the first not to be based on car technology. They are getting more common in motorcycles, and the EU has even made them a requirement on all new bikes over 125cc. They can help to reduce fatal motorcycle accidents by nearly a third.
Side View Assist
Help with monitoring blind spots is now standard in many new cars. The same sort of technology is also coming to motorcycles. Tech like Side View Assist from Bosch, which features on one of BMW’s scooters, helps to make it easier to keep an eye on what’s happening around you. The tech uses ultrasonic sensors to monitor the area around the bike, with both front and rear sensors. On the BMW C650GT scooter, a warning is displayed on an indicator on the side mirror, but Bosch allows manufacturers to choose the warning method.
Being a responsible rider will help to keep you safe on the road, but there are also other road users who can be a huge cause of accidents. It’s comforting then to know that many new car models have various safety technology to make it easier to be aware of bikes on the road. They include things like blind spot detection, rear view cameras, lane assist and collision prevention so that drivers can be safer on the road and reduce the risk of collisions with motorbikes.
Motorcycles can still use a range of technology to make riding them safer. It can feature in the design of the bike or as an extra precaution worn by the rider.
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