This Innovative Inflatable Vest Can Save Lives in a Motorcycle Crash (Video)

Every new car on the market today comes with airbags to protect drivers and passengers in the event of a crash. So why not motorcycles? Well, in a way, they do now.

The motorcycle itself doesn’t have an airbag, but airbag jackets are now a motorcyclist’s biggest weapon against bodily harm, after the helmet.

In 2015, more than 5,000 motorcyclists died as a result of collisions. And while a helmet can increase a rider’s chance of survival by 37 percent, a crash can still leave a rider shattered with broken bones. Airbag jackets aim to prevent the rider from additional torso, spine, neck and head injuries.

The jackets work much in the same way car airbags function. When the airbag system’s sensors determine a crash is underway — a conclusion reached within 30 to 60 milliseconds — compressed air is released from a pair of cylinders, instantaneously inflating the vest’s air bladders. Some vests and jackets use a lanyard connected to the jacket that hooks to the bike. When pulled in the event of a crash, the vest’s air bladders inflate. The system requires at least 60 pounds of force to trigger, so there’s no threat of accidentally inflating your vest when stepping off for a bite to eat.

For those who may be skeptical of the safety product’s effectiveness, Jim Rasmussen makes a strong testimony for wearing one. “This kept me from at the very worst not being here and at the very best probably being a quadriplegic.” In July 2016, the Dallas biker was in a severe motorcycle accident with a car, and credits the combination of the vest and helmet with saving his life.

There’s just no way a motorcycle is going to come out on top in a collision with a car. But thankfully, motorcyclists now have an extra layer of defense. Jackets and vests can be found through various makers with low-end lanyard models going for around $400, and higher-end versions retailing for $1000. It’s an investment that Jim Rasmussen says was a wise one. “It would have been worth twice… 10x the money to me,” he said.

Images via Alpinestars and Safermoto.

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