In honor of lawyer/biker Norman Gregory Fernandez of Biker Law Blog hostingBlawg Review #110, Blawg IT salutes inventors and their motorcycle related inventions. If you read Blawg Review #106, you know I have a certain fondness for two wheels. While I have a won a few plaques racing, I am far from the top of the heap. What I am good at, however, is crashing. I doubt there is anyone on the planet that has had more serious motorcycle accidents without receiving even a bruise. I do not get hurt, not because I take chances, but because I find out what works and what does not.
While I do have an abnormally large amount of on-body cushioning, I cannot credit this for my impunity. Instead, I chalk up my miraculous results to mental and physical conditioning, along with the most practical safety equipment. While some equipment is indeed life-saving, much is more gimmick than science. It can be difficult to separate the wheat from the chaff, especially when you only get to be really wrong once. Motorcycle riders, however, love the gimmicks. It is for these riders that inventors tirelessly churn out wacky motorcycle-related inventions.
Several inventors have patented various types of motorcycle mounted airbags. In my limited experience, slamming into the triple tree has not been a big concern. While there are many other patents on motorcycle airbags, I do not believe any would have been helpful in my motorcycle accidents.
The next type of invention is the airbag in a jacket. While this seems better than the motorcycle mounted version, I cannot see how this would be a factor in most types of motorcycle accidents. I always wear a helmet and spine protector, and credit both for my life. Experiencing the impact these items take in a crash, I cannot see how the airbag jacket could provide similar, let alone better, protection.
In a motorcycle racing accident, my biggest concerns are my neck and my spine. I have buddies that love the danger element, but not me. For me, the safer it is the better. While there are patents on motorcycle neck protectors, most seem too heavy and cumbersome to allow riders the freedom of movement necessary to avoid an accident in the first place.
One model, however, the most recent offering from BMW Motorrad, looks quite promising. The new device is a neck brake which prevents the users head from moving too far forward, backward or laterally. Most importantly, it reduces the transmission of energy from the top of the rider’s head, down through the spine. At £325 it seems like a steal. I just hope it makes its way over here to the states in time for my next track-side yard sale.