Airbag technology introduced for motorcyclists
Airbag technology is now available for motorcycle riders and passengers in the UK, in the form of airbag jackets and vests available from Helite.
According to Helite, the Helite Airvest is being used by the Thames Valley Police Training School and being evaluated by a number of other police forces. Helite also says that leisure, sports and commuter bikers are also buying its vests and jackets.
The vests, which are worn over normal motorcycle jackets, are described as the “optimal solution for motorcyclists that ride all year long and wear different motorcycle jackets depending on the season”.
The motorcycle jackets include the latest airbag technologies and give the same airbag protection whether it is a summer jacket or leather airbag jacket.
Helite says its products have been developed in collaboration with university researchers, independent laboratories and certification centres, and are “scientifically proven to be very effective in reducing injuries in case of an accident”.
For more information contact Trevor Turner, business development at Helite, on 0113 2843497.
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I have owned and used an Helite airbag jacket for the past 4 years. Riders need to treat the jacket as another part of the jigsaw. They need to do more training once they pass their test, they need conspicuity and they need the proper kit.
If I part company with my motorbike when on the track I slide along the grass before getting up and walking away. On the road it will depend on what I hit before I stop sliding - tree, kerb, car etc - as to whether I walk away or not. Whereas I don't plan to find out the effectiveness of the jacket, if I'm going to hit something hard I like the thought of having airbags surrounding me. What might have been a serious injury may be reduced to a slight injury.
Many of the Moto GP riders have airbags built into their leathers, and you can buy these suits in the shops.
Garrad Bailey. West of England
These types of jacket have been used in equestrian sport, especially eventing, for some years now. They work extremely well and have saved lives and prevented very serious injuries. They do not prevent all injury but can be the difference between a serious but recoverable level of harm and a fatal or life changing catastrophic injury. They are usually used with a manual line and toggle that the rider clips onto the saddle as soon as they get on their horse. Not all that unusual to see someone forget to unplug it and inflate the jacket as they dismount! This then requires time to elapse to collapse the jacket and a new gas cannister has to be inserted. Experience has also shown that cheaper, unbranded replacement gas cannisters do not work nearly so well and some have been found not to inflate the jacket quickly enough to protect the rider.
Honor Byford, North Yorkshire
I agree Trevor and have ticked so. I should have said 'Unfortunately not be worn by SOME OF those who will inevitably come to a sticky end on our country roads'.
It's wrong to tar every motorcyclist with the same brush. A few will have incidents and/or collisions that are not their fault or not wholly their fault. However, I share your frustration with the attitude of some riders who totally disregard safety and behave in a anarchistic and belligerent way no matter what the consequences may be to themselves, their mates and their loved ones.
bob craven Lancs
One of a few of these types of "jackets" with air bag technology available on the open market and a choice for riders to wear them or not! However perhaps a bad turn of phrase, "they will unfortunately not be worn by those who will inevitably come to a sticky end on our country's tarmac".
Trevor Baird Northern Ireland
I have been in contact with the company enquiring as to what method of activation they use. It seems that have both electronic and manual ie pull cord styles of activation.
My concern is that whilst it works if and when a rider is thrown from the vehicle and the jacket is activated, on direct impacts ie: straight into the path of a car or van, the protection is not activated and thus of no or little value.
They explained that electronic activation poses problems of sensitivity and they did not want it to activate under circumstances other than when required in a collision situation. I can understand that as it could cause an accident if accidentally activated. So whilst it is still advantageous to wear one I would suggest a proviso that wearers are made aware of its limitations.
bob craven Lancs
Whilst I support these jackets they will unfortunately not be worn by those who will inevitably come to a sticky end on our country's tarmac. No matter what is introduced it's going to need a state of mind for some (the minority) to change their attitudes.
bob craven lancs