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Motorcycle Airbags Arrive in 2025

Your next new bike could be equipped with an airbag as standard, especially if it’s a scooter. Autoliv, one of the world’s leading suppliers of airbags to car manufacturers, has developed a low-cost bike airbag, which could dramatically reduce rider injuries in a crash. The company says that its airbag reduces the critical Head Injury Criterion Score (HICS) – the target is 500, which was measured at 6794 for a rider on a non-airbag bike. With airbag, the HICS was cut to 118.

Autoliv’s bike airbag works just like the same item in a car. Sensors detect a sudden deceleration and in milliseconds inflate the bag via a gas cannister. Until now, bike airbags have been hampered by the rider being so close to the front of the bike (and thus any collision). The sensors haven’t reacted fast enough to inflate the bag in time, but improvements in electronics have now made this possible. The company says that sports bikes airbags aren’t possible yet for the same reason, but is confident that these too will be available in the future.

It sees the early market for its airbag on small bikes and scooters, which spend much of their time in urban areas, vulnerable to vehicles pulling out in front of them – it is already working with Piaggio and showed an airbag-equipped MP3 at the Eicma show in Milan last November. The first production airbags will be available in 2025. The bag is a fairly simple front-mounted system, to cope with this most common of urban accidents, and use mass produced car airbag components to keep the cost down.

Of course, it’s not the first-time bike airbags have been suggested, as BMF Chair Jim Freeman pointed out: “The difference, as far as my understanding goes, is the response time. I’m not sure how the HICS system works, but the difference between 6,000 and 100 is obviously huge. Anything that seriously reduces urban accident consequences has to be worth a look.”

Written by Peter Henshaw

Images courtesy of copyright Autoliv