Motorcycle sales in the U.S. have increased dramatically: as much as 90 percent since 1991. However, more motorcycles on the road mean more concerns for rider safety. Car and truck drivers are often the negligent parties in vehicle-motorcycle collisions. Since motorcyclists are more vulnerable than drivers in cars or trucks, they usually suffer more serious results such as broken bones or head and chest injuries if involved in a crash.
The new technological advances aim to help reduce collisions as well as the severe injuries that can occur. Here are six innovations in technology geared toward providing motorcyclists with a safer ride.
1. Wearable airbags
The manufacturers of motorcycle wearing apparel have designed airbags for riders. Sensors in specially designed vests and jackets detect an impact and deploy the built-in airbag that protects the rider's chest.
2. Helmet improvements
The safest helmets to own are those approved by the Department of Transportation. Now, helmets are available with built-in GPS systems and cameras that provide a rear view so riders can easily see what is going on behind them.
3. Protective boots
Injuries to feet and ankles are often overlooked in an accident, but they can easily become pinned beneath the motorcycle when it falls over. New boots feature protective, flexible impact technology that allows them to absorb the impact of a crash.
4. Less horsepower
Instead of more powerful "superbikes," many older riders and new riders are buying motorcycles that have lower horsepower and thus a safer ride.
5. Stability control systems
Many motorcycle accidents happen when the rider accelerates or brakes when turning. New stability control systems monitor both lean angle and traction control and automatically provide the proper amount of power or braking required.
"Trikes," or three-wheeled motorcycles, provide better balance than the traditional two-wheeled design. They are also easier to handle and more visible, major reasons why older riders are buying them.