No matter how many safety precautions they take, motorcycle riders are still about 28 times more likely than a car passenger to die in a crash due to the prone nature of the rider. The thing that people love about riding—the sensation of being open and close to nature—is the very thing that makes the whole thing so dangerous. But a new invention, airbag jeans, is looking to solve that. And they already seem much more useful than parachute pants.
A company called Airbag Inside Sweden AB recently designed a prototype of a new form of outerwear that might make riding safer for motorcyclists. Despite looking like a regular pair of jeans, they’re lined with airbags that will be triggered if a rider falls off his bike. The jeans are tethered to the bike, so the trigger here is similar to the safety clip on a treadmill: pull the cord, and you’ll have a pair of inflated pants.
The goal is to reduce lower-body impact for riders. We’ve had inflatable vests for riders for decades now, but no one has actually figured out how to make sense of lower-body protection yet. Until now, that is.
The jeans can be deflated, refilled with gas, reassembled, and used over and over again so you don’t have to get a new pair every time you take a spill. And the jeans themselves are made of something called Aramid fibers, which are super strong.
Airbag Inside Sweden AB’s head, Moses Shahrivar, has been working on stuff like this for 16 years, getting his start designing hardy, leather-lined jeans for Harley-Davidson in an effort to achieve similar safety-conscious clothing items.
The company has raised €150,000 ($180,000) from the European Union to develop the idea and is currently in the process of having the jeans certified to European health and safety standards by undergoing a series of crash tests. If the jeans are approved, we could witness a fairly exciting revolution in motorcycle safety.