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With May nationally recognized, in the US, as Motorcycle Safety Month I thought it might be an interesting idea to look at the future.  What are some of the safety features that might be appearing for motorcyclists in the near future?   

One place to look is the safety features in the automotive industry.  A lot of safety features have already crossed over from cars to high end motorcycles, think ABS, and those features are working their way into becoming standard features in most bikes.  So what is the next big safety feature to cross over?  It might be one, or all, of these: 

Honda-blind-spot-detector-patent-1Blind Spot Monitoring – Honda, BMW and others are working on migrating the technology to motorcycles.  Honda recently requested a patent for a system of camera and millimeter microwave transceivers to help the rider know what is in the blind spot.   

Heads Up Displays (HUDS) – Multiple developers are working on this technology.  One of the more famous is Skully and their smart helmet. Some of these products are already out there but at higher end price points.  In a year or three I expect these costs to go down. 

BMW-Motorcycle-SOS-Intelligent-Emergency-Call-01Emergency Accident Notification – Think “On Star” here in North America. BMW has a big push to introduce their “SOS System” which, similar to a car, is made up of multiple sensors and a mobile phone connection. There is also several other products that connect to your phone via a fob or other device, but I think the BMW system is the first one I have seen integrated into the bike itself. 

Additionally, I think we can expect more trickle down technology to get to the average person’s price point.  As I mentioned above ABS is appearing on more and more motorcycles and in some parts of the world will even be mandatory.  So what other safety features or items might make to the point of ubiquity and reasonable cost for motorcycles?  How about:

LED lights – Yes they have been around for a while, but they are not yet on a majority of bikes.  In a few more years I think all new bikes will come with LED lights. I recently put all LEDs on the back of my bike.

Adaptive headlights – These are the headlights that move a bit to help you see while cornering. BMW, KTM and a few others are experimenting with these lights but I do not think they are coming as original equipment on any motorcycle yet.  BUT if you want it now you can buy aftermarket and install adaptive headlights yourself.

4Smart helmets – Although they typically include HUD, smart helmets are a lot more.  Some offer dynamic noise cancelation, rear facing video, connections to phones, bike to bike communication, etc., etc. You just have to decide how much “connectivity” you want while riding, how much before it become a distraction to you.  I like the concept of a smart helmet but I have not yet had the opportunity to test one out.  

giorgi1Airbags – A few years ago Honda came out with airbags for their Goldwing. I really have not heard much about bike mounted airbags since. But airbags embedded in jackets has started to take hold in the market place.  First introduced for racing, you can now buy, for a bunch of money, for normal street riding.

Traction Control – Or launch control, or one of several other names.  This is on a lot of higher end sport bikes now and some large touring bikes.  It would be a safe bet that in a few years it will be extremely widespread and maybe even mandated.

Automatic tire pressure gauge – Harley Davidson, BMW, Honda and others all have these built into their higher end bikes.  So there is no reason to think that we will not see them on a lot more bikes in the future.

Cornering ABS – Smarter ABS, a system that knows you are in a turn and adjusts the braking to maximize its impact without affecting your turn.

Smart Helmets/HUD            Adaptive Headlights

BMW HUDS                       JW Speaker Adaptive Headlight 

Skully

Intelligent Cranium              Airbags

Sena Smart Helmet              Alpinestars Tech Air Street

Samsung                              Dainese D-Air Street

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