Wearable airbags make (motor-)cycling safer

Dangerous, but fascinating: Motorcycling is a sport that lots of people enjoy all over the world. To make this activity less dangerous, an Italian-based company has now invented a wearable airbag that protects the upper body. A similar device was developed in Scandinavia for cyclists. Both rely on plastics as the material to make this innovation work.

A new technology from Italy aims to make roads safer for bikers. If a motorcyclist is involved in an imminent crash, a wearable airbag detects it, inflates immediately and thus protects the rider. The airbag is designed to protect the shoulders, collar bones and spine, without lowering the driving experience, says the manufacturer – all thanks to plastics. Figures from the National Highway Traffic Safety Association in the US emphasise the importance of the invention: According to the institution, motorcycle riders are 26 times more likely to die in a crash than occupants of passenger vehicles.

Photo: American Chemistry Council, Inc.

In the meantime, a Swedish company has brought to the market an airbag collar for cyclists reluctant to wear helmets that might be considered uncool. The collar looks like a scarf but inflates in a fraction of second if its movement-detecting sensors monitor that a crash is imminent. The plastic scarf is a mini-airbag similar to what is found in cars, with sensors powered by lithium-ion polymer batteries. Manufacturers state that this airbag is safer than traditional helmets as it covers a larger part of the head and better absorbs shocks. So far, around 70 customers have been involved in accidents where the airbag has inflated, without any malfunctions being reported to date.

Did you know ?
  • Main countries of Europe will save at least 78.000 tons of plastics per year if the produced pens were made from recycled plastic.