Why Ill Never Ride Without A Motorcycle Airbag Again

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By Troy Siahaan

Three weeks ago today, I got hit by a car while testing a bike for a future comparison story. While on a two-lane canyon road, I was approaching a left-hand bend. In the opposing lane the car driver misjudged his speed for the right turn, crossed over the double-yellow lines, and nailed me. Airborne I went – over the hood of the car, doing my best Superman impression.

On the totem pole of things you never want to happen to you on a motorcycle, getting hit by a car has got to be pretty high up there. While midair I distinctly remember my chest and shoulders suddenly feeling tighter – like someone was giving me a weak hug. “My airbag!” I thought, just before making impact with the ground. I landed on my right shoulder, did a barrel roll, then came to a stop in the kneeling position. As scary as it sounds, I walked away from the accident, and other than some general soreness I’m completely fine.

Literally minutes after this picture was taken, my stance on airbags was solidified.

My safety gear clearly did its job – most importantly, my Alpinestars Tech-Air 5 smart airbag protected me from the impact with the ground. Obviously this accident could have been so much worse, but the fact I don’t even have any bruises on my upper body (the airbag’s protection zone) and just a tiny bruise on my knee, to me, says everything you need to know about the effectiveness of airbags.

Types of airbags and how they work

We’re going to do a deep dive into airbags, especially smart airbags, in a future story. In short, there are two main kinds of airbags. The version you may be more familiar with are the tethered airbag systems. Initially these were vests you wore externally with …read more

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