It cannot be denied that riding motorcycles and scooters is dangerous, and manufacturers are in a constant quest to increase rider safety. To that end, Honda Motor exhibited a two-wheeler airbag, specifically designed for scooters, at the Honda Meeting 2017, held in Tokyo, Japan, on July 5 to 7.

In collaboration with Autoliv, a safety systems supplier, the Honda developed airbag protects the rider’s head in specific types of collisions, notably a side impact with a car pulling out in front of a scooter. Cars pulling out in front of two-wheelers is an all too common occurence, with the resulting, “sorry, mate. I didn’t see you,” excuse, and Honda aims to bring the airbag safety technology to the market as soon as possible.

The system works in much the same way as automobile airbags – an acceleration sensor located in the scooter’s front fairing detects a collision, and deploys the airbag within 0.04 to 0.05 seconds. In testing at 50 km/h it was found that the airbag, deploying between the scooter and the vehicle, substantially reduced impact damage on the crash test dummy’s head, as reported by Nikkei Technology.

However, the protection afforded by the airbag decreases when the impact is from the side of the scooter, or if the scooter topples over. “In many sudden motorbike accidents, a motorbike crashes into the side of a car,” Honda said. “So, the air bag can contribute to reducing the number of casualties.”

Honda has previously demonstrated airbag safety techonology on its flagship touring motorcycle, the Honda Goldwing GL1800. Other alternatives to a motorcycle or scooter mounted airbag are airbags built into the rider’s clothing, such as the Dainese D-Air or Alpinestars Tech-Air systems.