Does a Safe Motorcycle Actually Exist? [Damon Answers]
Ask any motorcycle salesman to show you the safe motorcycle on the market and they’ll likely point you towards a row of gleaming top of the range bikes piled high with technology. There is, however, a great deal more to being the safest motorcycle on the market other than gadgetry, and here’s why.
In the last two decades, motorcycle safety has surpassed all expectations. The sophistication and technical ingenuity of electronic interventions now fitted to top of the range motorcycles, is categorically saving lives.
This news is fantastic, but when we consider what is a safe motorcycle, we must consider the approach to motorcycle safety from a more holistic viewpoint. In other words, you can have all the gadgets and gizmos available, but without that data crunching mega-computer hiding under your helmet, you aren’t giving yourself the best chance.
Manufacturers need to sell bikes and to do that they have to convince people that their motorcycles are reliable and safe. Welcome news, which means huge bundles of R&D cash are going into creating advanced onboard safety features. So if manufacturers are committing themselves to that course of action, what are we doing to make the most of them?
To answer this question, we need to explore five key points.
- Which are the Best Motorcycles Safety Features
- A Reliable Motorcycle is a Safe Motorcycle
- The Correct Riding Gear
- Get off the Road and improve your Riding Skills
- The Future of Motorcycle Safety
1. Which are the Best Motorcycle Safety Features?
Instead of a boring list of manufacturers and models, let’s go through some of the electronic rider aids that will make life on two wheels a lot safer. As of April 2019, all new bikes sold in the USA over 125cc will need ABS.
This move is a positive one, as statistics reveal that bikes of 250cc and over are 37% more likely to have a fatal crash than those featuring an Anti-lock Braking System. More advanced ABS systems have both wheels linked and can apply the right amount of braking pressure when cornering in the wet.
Traction control is another popular addition, which kicks-in when the bikes Inertial Measurement Unit feels that the rear wheel is about to lose grip. Using multi-axis accelerometers and gyroscopes, the IMU is also able to take responsibility for wheelie control.
With the addition of electronic fuel injection and ride by wire throttles, the IMU and Engine Control Unit can also work together to provide everything from selectable riding modes to anti downshift locking.
2. A Reliable Motorcycle is a Safe Motorcycle
In terms of reliability, BMW and Honda are just two manufacturers who have always had a reputation for high mileage bikes. Even the most reliable motorcycle, being made up of hundreds of moving parts, without proper maintenance, can affect safety and result in a motorcycle crash.
There may come a day when bikes self-analyze, repair, and maintain themselves, but until that day comes, it’s down to you. You need to make sure throttles are smooth, brakes work, chains adjusted, fluids changed, and lights/horn work. All of these components working as they should, add up to a safe motorcycle.
3. The Correct Riding Gear
The correct safety gear for riding a motorcycle is another component that goes towards making your bike the safest motorcycle on the road. Wearing the right equipment means you are not overly distracted when riding your bike in hot, cold or wet conditions.
More importantly, in the event of a motorcycle crash, wearing good quality safety gear could save your life. Leather jackets have always been the traditional choice of bikers the world over, but now there is a whole range of hi-tech textiles available.
Materials today are abrasion resistant and waterproof and with the new generation of body armor, provide incredible protection. Helmets have always played a significant part in surviving a motorcycle crash, and the latest smart helmets are taking motorcycle safety to the next level.
Crash helmets such as the Skully Fenix AR, now allow the rider to see what’s approaching from behind, thanks to a rear-facing camera and a Head-Up Display (HUD) in the rider’s line of vision.
4. Get off The Road – And Improve Your Riding Skills
There is a moment when the outcome of a potential motorcycle accident lies in your hands. It occurs in-between the ABS working its magic and that expensive riding gear earning its price tag, so what can you do to increase your odds of survival? The answer is off-road training; this means any motorcycle safety course, whether its on tarmac, circuit or dirt.
There will be a motorcycle safety course near you for every stage of your riding career, so take one, and the advanced skills will make you one of the safest motorcyclists on the road.
For instance, enrolling on a dirt bike course will teach you how to deal with a bike losing traction, while a track day improves steering, braking, and reaction skills.
When being involved in a potential motorcycle crash, you may have only one or two seconds to react. It doesn’t sound like a lot until you realize that the brain can process an image 30 times faster than a person can blink.
These valuable moments can buy the time necessary to put any extra skills into play and prevent the unfortunate rider from becoming yet another statistic.
5. The Future of Motorcycle Safety
Currently, car manufacturers are racing to be the first to produce a fully functioning level-5 Autonomous Vehicle. For this to happen, they will need to develop self-learning software and Artificial Intelligence to process the 360-degree radar imaging.
How will these impact on the motorcyclist’s safety? Theoretically, AV’s operating at this level will result in the end of crashes caused by vehicles crossing a motorcyclist’s path.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), this method of accident accounts for 36 percent of motorcycle fatalities with driver error being the primary cause. Without a driver and with onboard radar picking-up the bike’s location, this terrible statistic could become a thing of the past and go a long way to making your ride one of the safest motorcycles.
The development of onboard radar for motorcycles is currently being undertaken by the likes of Bosch and Damon Motorcycles. Both Ducati and KTM state that they will have production models featuring the Bosch system by 2020.
The Damon Motorcycles version will be available as a factory fitted option or as a retrofit for suitable donor motorcycles. The system will also feature related smartphone apps to fine-tune such elements as the radar’s haptic response through the handlebars.
Damon is also developing a rear-facing camera system to screen real-time footage to an onboard LCD Screen. With advances in processing power and software together with higher levels of interactivity, it may soon be possible for the rider to receive real-time information from the bike via
As previously mentioned, motorcycle safety depends on many factors, but in the next few years, we will see a spike in the level of high-tech motorcycle safety features. Together with advanced skills and smart riding gear, when you ask the question, ‘Is there a safe motorcycle on the market?’, the answer will be; yes – the one you’re riding.
- Smarter Ergonomics In Motorcycling [The Adapt and Evolve Law]
- Self-Learning Motorcycles and What Makes Them Better
- Revolutionizing the Motorcycling Industry. [Damon’s Case of Study]
- Does a Safe Motorcycle Actually Exist? [Damon Answers]
- The Future of the Motorcycle Technolgy: 5 big changes that you should expect to happen