New High-Tech Developments Enhance Biker Safety
Everywhere you turn, things are getting smarter—your television, your appliances—and now your motorcycle. A number of technological innovations have hit the market recently, all designed to help you maximize the enjoyment of your motorcycle while helping you stay safer. Here are some of the more popular new technologies:
- Airbags—Airbag technology is applied differently to motorcycles—it’s in the clothing you buy, rather than the bike. The most basic airbags are tethered to your bike and deploy when a cord is pulled. More sophisticated products have computerized systems that detect an impending crash.
- Directional headlights—The single headlight on a motorcycle, pointed straight ahead, has always been less than adequate, particularly when you’re turning a corner at night. New adaptive headlights use sensors to pivot when you’re rounding a turn, so your headlights shine where you’re going.
- Antilock braking—Slamming on your brakes is one of the least effective and most dangerous ways to try to stop your bike. Antilock brakes create a “feathering” effect by rapidly reducing and reapplying the brakes a number of times per second. Studies show that fatal crash rates are about one-third lower on bikes with antilock braking systems.
- Electronic throttle control—This technology replaces the traditional accelerator cable with an electronic device that minimizes the risk of accidental and sudden acceleration.
- Smart helmets—A number of manufacturers are incorporating Bluetooth technology into helmets, allowing riders to see GPS images and rearview cameras on helmet visors.
Another technology in development, but not yet ready for release, is “vehicle to vehicle” communication, which integrates sensors into a bike to accomplish two objectives: emit a signal to nearby vehicles, making them aware of the presence of the bike; and give motorcyclists notification of the presence of other vehicles nearby.
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