There are plenty of ways to commute to work these days, and one of the most popular and quick ways to do it is via motorcycle. The numbers of motorcycle commuters are rising in an effort to combat both carbon footprint and rush hour traffic both to and from work. You get to add two motorcycle rides to every work day, and while this is a rush and a great way to feel alive during the day, it’s hard going.
The French motorcycle governing body FIM (Fédération Internationale de Motocyclisme) in conjunction with other members of the Grand Prix Commission (Dorna, IRTA, MSMA) lead the way in 2018 in terms of rider safety and rule in favour of the mandatory use of race suits fitted with air bag systems. All permanent Moto GP riders across all classes (Moto GP, Moto2 & Moto3) will be required to wear functional air bag suits for every session. Exceptions will be made for wildcard riders who will be issued a two-race pass before the mandatory element is enforced.
Stringent manufacturer guidelines have been outlined to ensure these key areas are met;
- The airbag should at the very least cover & protect the shoulders and collarbone.
- Whilst back protection is optional if it is adopted it must cover the whole spine.
- Accidental deployment of the rider must NOT impede the rider in any way or risk a potential crash.
- Air bag deployment must be achieved without a lanyard/tethered activation.
- In order for the airbag device to work extra parts should NOT need to be added to the bike.
- Each manufacturer must produce adequate documentation to prove their product complies with rigorous testing procedures, certification & current safety regulations.
At present sponsored MotoGP riders are mainly provided with airbag race suits by two key companies Dainese D-Air (Valentino Rossi) https://www.dainese.com/d-air/ and Alpinestars Tech Air Race (Marc Marquez) https://www.alpinestars.com/tech-air-race-airbag-system
Whilst this pioneering air bag technology is a step forward in terms of rider safety if the average biker thinks they will get their hands on one of these devices they best have deep pockets as each suit retails in excess of £1,100.
What does this ruling mean for the lower level track users?
Whilst air bag technology is not mandatory across all track sports yet, the good news is that this new ruling is shining the spotlight on rider safety and that surely can only be a good thing. It will only be a matter of time before other sports and regulating bodies will have to follow suit to ensure they too are shown to be taking their rider protection seriously.
More affordable air bag products are currently available such as Hit Air and Moto Air. However it is a French manufacture called Helite who is leading the way with their wide range of high-quality air bag technology for motorcycle users https://www.airvest.co.uk/product-category/motorcyles . They have just launched their new GP Air Track Vest with Helite UK distributors – Airvest. https://www.airvest.co.uk/product/helite-track-air-vest .
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One look at the history of the iconic biker jacket – so beloved of music subcultures and film stars alike – might be enough to convince you that motorcycle jackets have generally always been the same. After all, when most of us think of biker jackets, we probably think of the leather jacket that was seemingly durable, warm and high quality the moment it was first worn on the battlefields of World War II – long before it came to be used by motorcyclists simply ‘going out for a ride’. Read more
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You may feel that you already take ample safety precautions before mounting your motorcycle – such as wearing a helmet, leather jacket, gloves and boots. However, there is almost certainly more that you can do to minimise the risk of injury in the event of an accident. Read more