A patent is pending for a motorcycle seat that ejects a rider in a crash and then cocoons them in a full-length airbag suit to protect them from injury.
Brooklyn start-up Airbag for Bike has posted a digital animation of the patent-pending device, claiming it could save “millions from serious accidents and death”.
They also say it would allow “millions of new riders previously hesitant to sit on a motorcycle because of safety, to enjoy motorcycling”.
However, we’re not even sure a working prototype has been made or even tested. So far there is only this animated video for a patent drawing that is yet to be approved!
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How the airbag suit works
Unlike the Honda Goldwing airbag that inflates a bean-bag-sized pillow in front of the rider, this airbag suit system is in the seat which the rider straps themselves into with a special seatbelt.
The idea is that the seat ejects with the rider and then deploys several full-length airbags around the rider.
We reckon this photo of the airbag as it starts to inflate is simply rude!
And we’re not so sure we would like the explosive device that deploys the airbag this close to the family jewels!
We thought it would be hilarious if the airbags went off when you parked and got off your bike, but the patent says the airbag deploys only if the motorcycle is traveling at a certain speed.
It has various motion sensors and gyroscopes that detect a sudden deceleration or acceleration if hit from behind, or “a loss of balance that would not be correctable by a human”.
Also, the belt system “automatically unfastens in a crash that is not severe enough to warrant a system deployment (to allow the rider to jump off the bike) or if the rider tries to stand up from the bike while it is stopped”.
So it wouldn’t be of any use in racing like the airbag race suits by Dainese and Alpinestars as the belt would come undone on the first corner when the rider slipped out of the seat to get their knee down!
The belt would also unfasten if you stood up when riding across rough or loose surfaces.
Airbag for Bike
We contacted Airbag for Bike for more details about the inventor and whether they have made a prototype yet and intend to produce the airbags or just sell the idea.
No reply yet, but stay tuned for updates.
The problem with these sorts of inventions is that some road safety expert will agree it will reduce deaths and injuries.
Then politicians will make it mandatory!
Experts like UNSW Sydney Professor Raphael Grzebieta who won an international award for advocating wire rope barriers, lower speed limits and mandatory hi-vis vests for riders, and alcohol interlocks and electronic rider aids on bikes.