Motorcycling is an inherently dangerous activity because motorcyclists are more likely to get injured or die in a traffic accident than motorists driving cars. In addition to the fact that motorcycles offer little in the way of impact protection, motorcyclists often get launched into the air in high speed impacts. If the impact is with a car, the motorcyclist hits and tumbles over the car before hitting the pavement. During this violent tumbling, the neck, chest, lower back and spinal cord are subject to high forces and can sustain serious injuries. Head injuries haven't been mentioned because it is assumed that a helmet is being worn.
Over the past several years, motorcycle airbag jackets have been available that protect the neck, chest, lower back and spinal cord. As the name suggests, an airbag inside the jacket inflates and protects the vulnerable parts of the upper body. They are often used by motorcycle racers.
How the Airbag Jacket Works
The jacket contains an airbag that is inflated by a CO2 cartridge. The jacket also has a tether that connects to the bike via a seatbelt-like clip. When an accident ejects the motorcyclist off the bike, the tether acts like a parachute rip cord and activates the CO2 cartridge which inflates the jacket. The airbag provides support for the neck, as well as protection for the upper body and lower back.
A common question asked about the jacket is whether it can be accidentally activated if the person forgets to unclip it from the motorcycle and walks away. This is an unlikely occurrence since a very hefty pull is required to inflate the airbag. The person will notice the tether tugging at him first.
Another feature of the airbag is that it takes longer to deflate than a car airbag. This is necessary because the motorcyclist will spend a few seconds tumbling and sliding during an accident. If the motorcyclist falls with his bike, the jacket will activate once he clears the bike so that he gets protection from tumbling into objects on the road.
Can the Airbag Jacket be Used Instead of a Helmet?
No. Since the jacket doesn't protect the head, there wouldn't be much point to wearing one without a helmet. The head is far more vulnerable to serious injury than the other parts of the body. Given the choice between the jacket and a helmet, the helmet is a more vital piece of protection.
While the airbag jacket may not be everyone's cup of tea, it is an important addition for the safety conscious person who does a lot of riding.
Your safety is our priority. Call Reliable Insurance Managers at (713) 227-7283 for more information on Katy motorcycle insurance.