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Safety Jackets on Motorbikes?

Posted in Policies by Ferne Edwards on December 16th, 2008

The section below is republished with permission from the Going Solar Transport Newsletter #89, 9 December 2008, compiled by Stephen Ingrouille. Going Solar, This newsletter provides an excellent commentary on local sustainable transport issues in Melbourne.

“Legally, motorcyclists are only required to wear an approved helmet. There is no requirement for protective gloves, jackets, pants or shoes. But the Victorian Road Safety Committee and medical experts say helmets alone are not enough protection in an accident. Twenty-eight riders have been killed so far this year – three more than at this time last year – and the latest Transport Accident Commission figures reveal riders are 34 times more likely to be severely injured than car drivers. Inflatable jackets are becoming increasingly popular overseas.

Motorcycle police in Italy, Spain, Japan and Brazil now wear them as part of their uniform. … In most of the styles available in Australia, the airbag – linking neck, torso and lower spine cushions – is concealed between the outer motorcycle jacket and the lining and is connected to the bike via a rip-cord. When a rider is thrown from a bike, the rip-cord triggers the airbag, which inflates within half a second to protect the rider before he or she hits the ground. Yvoir Hingee, from inflatable jacket manufacturer Hit Air, said only a few hundred had been sold in Australia compared with more than 4000 each year in Japan. He said many riders either did not know the jackets were on the market or did not think they needed them. ‘The problem is motorbike retailers and manufacturers strongly prefer not to make riders aware of the riding dangers and  need for airbag safety as obviously it affects their sales, he said.”

Ref: Mark Russell & Georgina Dimopoulos, The Age, 14/9/08