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Honda's got a motorcycle airbag--really.

Posted by: Bruce Nussbaum on October 5, 2005

Designing safety into motorcycles sounds like an oxymoronic enterprise. These babies are supposed to be dangerous, right? Sure, except perhaps for the huge number of graying boomers increasingly riding big bikes on Sunday mornings all decked out in their leathers. So Honda has come up with an innovation—the first motorcycle airbag. airbags.jpe

A great motorcycle site, motosavvy, analyses the research behind the Honda research. It turns out that a large percentage of crashes are “T-bone” crashes, when a car turns in front of a motorcycle which hits it dead on. The new airbag protects against these front-on collisions.

I just wish Honda had designed the airbag to fit with the image and reality of the motorcycle. Right now, it looks like—well, judge for yourself.

Reader Comments

Niti Bhan

October 5, 2005 8:29 PM

Having been in any number of bike accidents during my undergrad "biker" years, that air bag will be of little use except in the rarest of cases when you have to suddenly brake to a stop in front of another vehicle that makes a sudden stop. AND you stay upright and with your feet down. Usually you fall off to the side. An airbag on the side panels, that keeps the full weight of the bike off your legs when the bike falls would be of greater use as many accidents are due to your leg getting trapped under the bike.

Corrie K_

February 19, 2006 8:21 AM

Sure seems like a good idea, but after thinking about it a little more, its just a marketing ploy towards us boomers and designed, it seems, by someone who hasn't who hasn't a clue and doesn't ride.I don't care how well a product is made, things 'malfunction'.I wouldnt care to be on one when that happened. Our vision is already restricted enough with some of these helmuts they have out, but to have this also in my line of what vision i have left, well, no thank you. Maybe ok in theory, but in real life....big thumbs down.


November 16, 2007 12:23 AM


Wayne Harmer Jr

November 29, 2007 5:39 PM

The guy who posted before I did is my Father and in his accident it was allmost a "T Bone" He whent right thought the gauges and the windscreen. I think that in this type of accident the air bag MIGHT have stoped him from going thought the front of the bike he may have still fallen but i think the ingurys would be alot less than what he is dealing with now on the recovery side of things.... it WONT WORK FOR ALL but it MIGHT WORK FOR SOME. If you dont like it dont buy it if you do then more power to you. Ride safe and keep the rubber side DOWN...

Hans Hartung

September 16, 2008 4:51 PM

The idea is nice, but impractible. In my case the airbag would not have saved me from breaking my spine when I took my spill last March 31st, 2007. When the front tire hit the ditch, the back of the bike tossed me 40 feet plus. i got to spend 10 days on life support. Had this crash taken place in a car/truck I would have survived without much injury, because of the confined space, but a motorcycle has no confined space. Thereby making this airbag useless.

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Want to stop talking about innovation and learn how to make it work for you? Bruce Nussbaum takes you deep into the latest thinking about innovation and design with daily scoops, provocative perspectives and case studies. Nussbaum is at the center of a global conversation on the growing discipline of innovation and the deepening field of design thinking. Read him to discover what social networking works—and what doesn’t. Discover where service innovation is going and how experience design is shaping up. Learn which schools are graduating the most creative talent and which consulting firms are the hottest. And get his take on what the smartest companies are doing in the U.S., Asia and Europe, far ahead of the pack.

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