Airbag vests or jackets are designed with the purpose of saving your life and preventing injury in an accident. Considering its purpose and benefits, an airbag vest is worth every penny of your investment. Your life is priceless and airbag vests are worth the buy (in my opinion, of course).
Does this mean that I ride with an airbag best all the time? Of course not, but no one can deny that they offer infinitely more protection than without.
Whether you are a newbie or an avid rider, while riding your motorcycle, safety is of utmost importance. Undoubtedly, every rider loves the thrill of speed and the rush of open-air, but what happens if you suddenly face an accident? Let’s face the truth. Unlike cars, motorcycles do not come with airbags, sheet metals, or seat belts to shield you from injury. However, with an airbag vest, you can minimise the risk of injury and ensure greater safety.
What is an Airbag Vest?
An airbag vest is a kind of apparel designed for motorcycle riders to reduce injuries in the case of a crash. It is one of those gears that can be worn under or over a jacket or any other clothing. These vests are inflated using a CO2 cartridge that protects your body parts that are vulnerable in a motorcycle accident. The vest comes with a cord tied to it. On getting into an accident, when a rider gets separated from the bike, the tether gets activated and causes inflation of the vest. On inflation, the vest provides a cushion around the rider’s shoulder, neck, spine, chest and other important parts of the body, minimising the chances of injury.
Every accident applies a force to the rider’s body that causes injuries. However, vests effectively distribute such forces across the airbag, reducing or avoiding injuries. So, if you are looking for gear that can provide your upper body optimum protection against motorcycle crashes, airbag vests are the best investment option.
How Efficient are Airbag Vests?
The efficiency of an airbag vest varies from brand to brand. As effectiveness is quite a broad term, you have to keep your eyes wide open while purchasing one for yourself. There are airbag jackets available in the market, known as seven back protectors. While they efficiently protect your spine from injury, they are not enough to protect your neck and shoulders. Like other motorcycle gears, each airbag vest has its own strengths and weaknesses. So, while investing in such protective gear, look for models that can provide you protection as a whole. From back and rib cage to neck and collarbone, an airbag should be able to protect each of your vulnerable body parts from injury. However, no matter how much you invest in protective gear and how well it is designed, remember no airbag guarantees survival. So, without making any excuse, never ride beyond your limits.
How Does an Airbag Vest Work?
Airbag vests strike a nice balance between comfort and safety. Lighter than riding jackets, airbags offer better protection and can be easily worn over jackets. Designed to offer maximum protection, airbags need a deployment system to function. The functionality of this protective gear is controlled by a coiled tether attached to the vest. Quite simple in its operation, an airbag vest consists of an air cushion along with a ball-style valve, CO2 cartridge and tether system to control the functionality.
While riding, to enjoy the maximum protection of an airbag vest, you need to attach your vest to the frame of your bike using the tether. On crashing or facing an accident when the rider falls, the release valve of the airbag vest activates in a fraction of a second and the inert gas inflates the air cushions.
There are other airbag vest systems as well that you can consider in your checklist, which are technologically advanced and regulated by sensors. These vests make use of microprocessors, telemetry or accelerometers to detect a crash and accordingly deploy the airbags. These airbag vests are lighter in weight and highly convenient to carry. However, they are high-end products and might cost you more than $2000.
Most airbag vests need a chassis to hold all the components and protect the rider’s body completely. Thus, to enjoy the most out of an airbag vest, it is important to wear the apparel properly. Whether you are mounting it in a standalone vest or sewing it into a jacket, ensure that the systems of an airbag vest stay in place to offer you effective protection in the event of a crash.
Is it Worth Getting an Airbag Vest?
Absolutely. Nothing in this world is more important than your life. So, if you love riding, consider investing in a good airbag vest that can protect your upper body from the consequences of a motorcycle crash. The right type of vest, when worn properly, offers maximum protection and makes the odds of surviving an accident better.
What Is the Difference Between Tethered Vests and Jackets?
In terms of protection, both airbag vests and jackets provide the same amount of safety. Also, when it comes to the shape of the airbag attached, they are similar and provide equal coverage. However, if you are choosing between the two, consider whether you want to replace your regular gear with an airbag jacket or if you are looking for something over the top of your regular riding jacket. An airbag vest can be worn over the top of your current jacket and will stop the exposure of your skin during a crash.
Airbag vests are widely available in both traditional and digital marketplaces with different designs and styles. There are a few that come with reflective strips and others with a regular jacket look. Waterproof vests too are available that can protect you during rainy days. There are plenty of options available with airbag vests. You only have to know your purpose for choosing the best one for your ride.
What Kinds Of Riders Should Be Using Airbags Vests?
No matter if you are a regular street rider or motorsports enthusiast, airbag vests can be used by everyone who loves riding bikes. As these vests are meant for comfort and protection, they can be used in day-to-day life to avoid the consequences of a bike accident. If you have adequate gear that makes you feel safe and comfortable, that’s great. Remember that protective gear, no matter how expensive, cost less than hospital bills. So it is always advisable to invest in quality airbag vests.
Urban riders who love the thrill of aggressive riding should always consider stocking this gear in their wardrobe. Airbag vests are the must-have gear for people who are keen to shine on the road. If you love to push the limits on the motorcycle, the benefits of a quality airbag vest are worth considering to complement other gear.
There are a variety of airbag vests available in the market. Choose the one that not only makes you comfortable but also provides maximum protection. Remember, accidents are unexpected events that can result in serious injuries. Thus, it is always a good idea to invest in gear that offers maximum safety. In terms of budget, there are plenty of options to choose from and you need not fear burning a hole in your pocket. Choose your riding gear wisely because, at the end of the day, your life is priceless.