Last September, Dainese introduced its D/air bagequipped one-piece race suit to the U.S. market. A street version was recently introduced in Europe and is expected to be available in the U.S. sometime soon. I won’t go into the mechanics of how it works. It fits neatly inside a riding jacket and just suffice it to say that when all of the algorithms, gyros and accelerometers decide it’s time to deploy the bag, it inflates in microseconds protecting the rider in those areas most likely to be damaged.
And then there is the Honda air bag, BMW’s adaptive headlight system that looks around corners as you lean the bike over, and blind spot monitoring systems that flash a warning in the bike’s mirrors. Spyders are equipped with an amazing traction control system that makes a rollover nearly impossible. ABS allows a rider to jam on all the brakes available which, without it, would surely result in an unplanned get-off. It all sounds good, right? Yes, but like any tool, only if used properly. And too often the downside to all of the safety features now available on motorcycles is that they lull some riders into a false sense of security and even worse, lazy riding in a sport/hobby that is inherently dangerous.
An adaptive headlight is not a substitute for an aggressive head turn. A blind spot monitor is not a substitute for a head check. And ABS is not a substitute for applying all of the proper braking techniques taught in every riding course. When these technological marvels are used in conjunction with correct riding techniques, our world is a safer place. And, just like with any tool that is inappropriately used, sooner or later the hammer is going to hit your thumb.
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