A new bodybag

By HSC Staff Writer • Published: April 17th, 2007
Category: Health in a Heartbeat

Motorcyclists have their own lingo. A “squid” is a young and reckless rider. An open-faced helmet is dubbed a “brain bucket.” Now, thanks to new technology, the term “body bag” has its own unique meaning, too.

Protective jackets featuring built-in airbags are among a new line-up of biking accessories that promise safer cruising. The target audience for this couture isn’t just the next generation of riders, but also the exploding numbers of biking baby boomers, who now make up half of the registered motorcyclists in the U.S.

As for the jackets, most come equipped with deflated tubes that puff up to cushion the neck, back and rib cage. The trigger mechanism is a simple ripcord attached from the jacket to the bike. If the rider is thrown, it releases compressed gas from the same type of C-O-2 cylinders that power air rifles.

These jackets look slightly bulkier than most windbreakers. Still, for those daredevils vain enough to ride without even a “brain bucket,” there’s the new Swiss-made “Ribcap.” The knit caps are lined with a plastic polymer that is usually flexible, but hardens upon impact. This provides something less protective than a helmet, but more than skull on concrete.

For those sensible enough to not forego a helmet, modern models come with gel padding that molds to one’s head, extra-durable and extra-light composite shells, and even fighter-pilot-like heads-up displays and communication systems.

All the more reason to ditch the cage-on-wheels and hit the open road… safely, of course.