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Safety innovations aim to prevent motorcycle accident injuries

Last week, San Diego residents may have noticed that there were more motorcyclists on the road than they normally see. This is because June 20 was national Ride to Work Day, an event aimed at promoting and encouraging motorcycle riding with the overarching goals of saving on energy costs, reducing road congestion, and increasing the enjoyment and pleasure that biking brings. It is estimated that some 300,000 Americans commute to work on motorcycles.

However, motorcycling is not without its dangers, of course. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, motorcycle accident deaths increased from approximately 2,300 in 1998 to 5,300 in 2008. In order to reverse this trend, many entrepreneurs and motorcycling enthusiasts are developing innovative new safety products to protect motorcycle drivers and passengers.

One such innovation is a rider airbag, which is manufactured by a company called SaferMoto. According to CEO Alan Cunningham, the airbags are built into vests and jackets, and are triggered by a strong pull on a cord that is attached to the motorcycle. Therefore, if the driver is suddenly pulled from, or falls off, the motorcycle, the airbag will deploy, protecting him or her from the potentially fatal results of a high-speed collision with the road or another vehicle.

Motorcyclist Rob Lawrence has also created a product designed to inform non-riders of one of the most basic tenets of motorcycling. Lawrence's "Rider Alert" stickers are placed on the helmets of motorcycle riders and passengers, and they instruct people who encounter motorcycle crash victims not to remove the victim's helmet, which could actually cause greater injury. In addition, cards placed inside the helmet contain the victim's emergency contact information, which is to be used by emergency response personnel.

Source: USA Today, "Expect more motorcycles on the road Monday," Natalie DiBlasio, 20 June 2011

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