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How a Motorcycle Airbag Suit Works

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It’s already clear that a collision on a motorcycle is far more dangerous than a collision in a car.

That’s why wearing the proper motorcycle safety gear every time you ride is so important.

But, just like seatbelts and airbags can make car crashes safer, they are ways that airbags can be used to make motorcycle crashes safer as well.

The most common form of motorcycle airbags are ones built into the rider’s gear.

Safety gear like jackets, vests, and even full riding suits can be built with internal airbags that are designed to deploy before an impact occurs.

If you’re looking to level-up the protection factor of your motorcycle riding gear, an airbag vest is a great addition to your loadout.

Airbag vests are designed to deploy prior to impact to help better protect your body from injury.

How an Airbag Suit Works

Early iterations of the airbag suit worked by connecting a tether to the motorcycle and the airbag vest.

If the rider was thrown from the bike, the tether would activate a CO2 cartridge to deploy the airbag before the impact.

Some systems still use this technology.

However, more modern airbag suits use more sophisticated electronic sensor systems that can automatically detect when to deploy the airbag.

These high-tech systems use a combination of algorithms, accelerometers, GPS, and gyroscopes to detect a crash.

If the system senses an impact is likely, the airbag is deployed in fractions of a second.

These types of airbag suits take the form of a vest or jacket that’s worn under the rider’s jacket or incorporated into the jacket itself.

In order to prevent false deployments, these systems are only designed to go off at certain speeds. So you’re not going to deploy the air bag if you fall over on a stationary bike.

Other Types of Motorcycle Airbag Systems

Airbag jackets, vest, and suits are not the only airbag systems for motorcycles.

Some other types of motorcycle airbags include:

  • Airbags installed in the bike itself – like that of the Honda Goldwing.
  • Airbag ejection seats – currently under development and testing.

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Content Editor: Ethan Orenstein

Ethan is not just any motorcycle enthusiast. With a decade of experience riding, maintaining, and restoring a range of motorcycles, Ethan brings a wealth of knowledge to the table. Many of the tips and tricks shared on this site are born from hours spent wrenching on personal bikes. Paired with his experience as a journalist covering DMV & insurance topics, MotorcycleZombies.com is a must-visit site for any home-mechanic. Every article has been carefully reviewed and edited to ensure accuracy, authenticity, and simplicity - all to help bring your bike back from the dead and onto the road.

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