Airbags have proven their worth in the prevention of serious injuries or death in motor-vehicle accidents, but the technology has struggled to cross over to two-wheeled modes of motorised transport for obvious reasons.
Italian supplier of motorcycle apparel Dainese is adamant that its D-air system will change the way we think about motorcycle safety gear. Used in the MotoGP Championship by the likes of Valentino Rossi, the system is now available for street riders.
Dainese has developed an inflatable airbag that fits inside a range of protective clothing, including leather suits and Gore-Tex jackets. In the event of an accident, the airbag deploys in under 45 milliseconds and surrounds the upper body and neck. The system relies on accelerometers on the bike and rider to trigger the event. A central-control unit processes the signals and decides when to activate the airbag.
The complete system (including control unit, accelerometers and jacket) costs about R15 000.