Innovative developments in motorcycle safety gear are hoping to make biking safer than it’s ever been. The safety of motorcyclists is always at the forefront of everything we do in the bike team here at Minster Law. We keep up with the developments of motorcycle helmets and other safety gear to make sure our clients are as protected as possible. We want to be able to offer the best advice to our clients about gear that will keep them safer should they choose to return to biking after an accident.
Just as technology and innovation have touched many areas of our lives, biking is no different. Today motorbike safety gear is more ergonomic; the clothing has better abrasion resistance than ever before; helmets are super lightweight, with better ventilation and in recent times have become ‘smart’; gloves and boots offer new levels of protection and comfort, and bikers can be protected by personal airbags that protect against more serious injury.
All this new ‘tech’ is intended to help mitigate serious motorcycle crashes and lessen the chances of serious injury or death.
The top advances in motorbike safety gear and the protection they provide
Motorcycle helmets have changed a lot just in the last 10 years – helmets today are lighter than ever, offer more protection than ever and have many more features. For example, helmets are available with new safety mechanisms such as MIPS – a Multi Directional Impact Protection System – which mitigates brain injuries by absorbing the motion of a crash.
Nowadays not only do helmets protect your head, (as well as protect you from the weather and noise) they have become communication and entertainment tools – some have integrated headphones so you can stream music or listen to the radio, some offer GPS, Wi-Fi connectivity and smartphone Bluetooth integration meaning you can communicate with other riders.
Many argue that a smart helmet is much safer. Helmets with front or rear-view cameras can provide footage if you have an accident. Some also have SOS features and lights for better visibility.
Protective bike gear – smart jackets and vests
Wearable airbags are the most recent big safety innovation for motorcycle clothing. A motorbike airbag jacket or vest works in a similar way to airbags in cars. The air bags use a host of sensors to detect when you’re having a crash and then inflate almost instantly to protect the most vulnerable body parts such as shoulders, elbows, and the spine.
Airbag jackets and vests are a huge step forward in motorcycle safety, though until very recently, the technology wasn’t accessible to most riders due to the high price point.
A significant proportion of all non-fatal motorcycle injuries are in the lower part of the body, so boots play a big role in protecting your feet and lower legs.
There are now biking boots with LED lights lining the soles of the shoe. The built-in LEDs wirelessly link to the motorcycle, and when the brake or an indicator is used, the boots light up, making it easier for other drivers on the road to see you making them especially effective for winter riding.
Some boots also have a control system offering greater protection – this allows the foot to pivot forwards and backwards for the gear and brake levers but not rotationally.
Gloves not only protect your hands and wrists in the event of an accident but also protect your hands from the weather conditions. They too are constantly being improved to offer more functionality and protection in case of an accident.
You can buy heated gloves that stay warm throughout the longest rides, gloves that have Bluetooth and finger touch features for easily operating your phone without having to remove them. In relation to protection there are many different features. Some have plastic protection on each finger, or hard-shell coverings that minimise potential injury from impacts and accidents, or steel alloy protectors which cushion the hand from the effects of the cold.
The safety gear market is changing all the time, which can make it more difficult to make choices. We would suggest you set yourself a budget and buy the best gear you can afford that will keep you as safe as possible. At Minster Law, we support the general message of the manufacturers that making the right purchase could make all the difference when it comes to ride safety.
Matthew Midgley, solicitor and Bike team leader, says: “Whilst wearing safety gear might seem obvious, it’s easy to forget how much protection it provides. Sadly, we’ve seen the impact on bikers who haven’t worn full protective clothing and how it can increase the risk of severe injury, such as gravel rash and burns, cuts, bruising, and scarring, along with more severe orthopaedic injuries. As a firm, we cannot recommend highly enough the necessity to wear protective clothing.”