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Airbags are the most common safety feature in cars, next only to seat belts. But not everyone would be aware of the existence airbags for motorcycle riders. Yes, they do exist and most of these come as part of a riding jacket. However, the most advanced motorcycle jacket airbags are used by professional motorcycle racers and these high tech safety gears are not easily available to the common biker.
BMW Motorrad is looking to change that by teaming up with motorcycle safety equipment major Dainese. The two have signed a long time contract under which several BMW Motorrad branded safety equipments will be developed and entered into production and a state of the art motorcycle airbag will be the first and primary product to be produced.
The motorcycle airbag in question here will be based on the Dainese's D-air Protect System. The D-Air system is at present used by MotoGP riders and other racers. The high tech jacket can deploy an airbag in just 15 milliseconds of impact.
The resulting new BMW Motorrad branded single piece leather racing suit will be called DoubleR RaceAir and it will be first showcased at the EICMA show in Milan in November this year. Production will begin from 2015 after all the required crash safety tests have been successfully completed.
Motorcycle airbag was invented by a Hungarian inventor Tamás Straub in 1976.
Typical bike airbags
A typical low to medium level motorcycle airbag commonly available has a string, one end of which is attached to the jacket, while the other is attached to the bike. When a biker falls off the string gets detached and the airbag deploys in about 300-500 milliseconds.
These types of bike airbags are the most commonly used and are even used by the police departments of Brazil, Italy, France, Spain, Japan. However, they do not always deploy due to the shortcomings of the trigger mechanism and the speed is not fast enough.
Modern racing jacket airbags such as the D-air are a lot more advanced and rely on electronics and pressure sensors to deploy airbags in a period of just 15 ms. They are also a lot more expensive, but these save lives on a regular basis on racing tracks.
Dainese's D-air Protect System
Dainese's D-air Protect System in action.