Not all technologies depicted are used in all markets.
In a severe frontal collision in which the rider is likely to be thrown forward, the airbag absorbs some of the rider’s forward momentum.
Based on an analysis of crash data indicating that many motorcycle accident injuries and fatalities occur when the rider collides with another vehicle, the road, or other objects after a frontal collision, Honda determined that the role of a motorcycle airbag should be to reduce the forward momentum of the rider.
Motorcycle crash data [Source: ITARDA (2003)]
On a motorcycle, the airbag lacks a firm support surface behind it. To solve this problem, the Honda system employs tether straps that anchor the airbag to the frame for support.
A motorcycle may encounter a wide variety of crash conditions, and its attitude may vary significantly depending on the angle of impact.
Changes in motorcycle attitude during a frontal collision
To thoroughly investigate the possibilities, Honda used special motorcycle rider test dummies to conduct extensive testing that satisfied our own rigorous test criteria as well as international standards for real-world crash testing. We also used computer simulations to create high-precision collision reenactments that enabled us to analyze a broad range of crash conditions.
Sample computer simulations
Motorcycle rider test dummy
Built-in equipment records measurement data taken from sensors embedded in the dummy’s head, neck, chest, stomach, and limbs, making it possible to measure the extent of injuries over virtually the entire body.
This resulted in the development of an oversized, V-shaped airbag that offers increased stability as the rider comes into contact with it.
Honda unveiled its production motorcycle airbag technology in 2005, followed by the release in 2006 of the Gold Wing Airbag, a production bike equipped with the world’s first motorcycle airbag.
The Motorcycle Airbag System only deploys in a severe frontal collision when forces over a preset value are detected. In principle, it should not deploy during collisions from the side or rear, nor during falls. Because a collision may involve a variety of factors, such as angled impact or the motorcycle getting wedged under a truck, the airbag cannot help lessen the severity of injuries in all cases. The airbag may also deploy due to a strong shock caused by the front wheel falling into a large hole or ditch, or in a collision with a curb or other object.
Honda has long been proactively involved in motorcycle safety initiatives. We began research into motorcycle airbags in 1990 with extensive crash testing and analysis, going on to develop the world’s first motorcycle airbag suitable for use on a production motorcycle. This advanced safety technology is designed to help lessen the severity of injuries to the head and chest in severe frontal collisions.