Airbag technology is now available for motorcycle riders and passengers in the UK, in the form of airbag jackets and vests available from Helite.
According to Helite, the Helite Airvest is being used by the Thames Valley Police Training School and being evaluated by a number of other police forces. Helite also says that leisure, sports and commuter bikers are also buying its vests and jackets.
The vests, which are worn over normal motorcycle jackets, are described as the “optimal solution for motorcyclists that ride all year long and wear different motorcycle jackets depending on the season”.
The motorcycle jackets include the latest airbag technologies and give the same airbag protection whether it is a summer jacket or leather airbag jacket.
Helite says its products have been developed in collaboration with university researchers, independent laboratories and certification centres, and are “scientifically proven to be very effective in reducing injuries in case of an accident”.
I have been in contact with the company enquiring as to what method of activation they use. It seems that have both electronic and manual ie pull cord styles of activation.
My concern is that whilst it works if and when a rider is thrown from the vehicle and the jacket is activated, on direct impacts ie: straight into the path of a car or van, the protection is not activated and thus of no or little value.
They explained that electronic activation poses problems of sensitivity and they did not want it to activate under circumstances other than when required in a collision situation. I can understand that as it could cause an accident if accidentally activated. So whilst it is still advantageous to wear one I would suggest a proviso that wearers are made aware of its limitations.
bob craven Lancs