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Sunday Age Article - Air Bag jackets

Discussion in 'Luggage' started by jdkarmch, Sep 14, 2008.

  1. Was I right? My position was - when the Health Professionals have done all the necessary testing to prove the case that these things are good for us, then I would be prepared to stand up and sing its praises. But, until they have spent "their millions" doing just that, then I can not just support this product - no matter how good it looks. Its just another product - that needs to be tested and proven in every situation........

  2. My biggest concern is when the rider starts to tumble. Has nothing at all to do with "looking cool".

    To the guys proposing this system, throw a tennis ball and a rag doll down the road and find out which one stops first, and then get back to us.

    Protection is higher, yes, but so will the impact speeds and the propensity for the rider to begin a limb-destructive tumble, as opposed to a far more preferable slide.

    A friend of mine came off a few weeks back. He was sliding towards armco and would have copped the armco stanchion nicely in his crotch. Sliding on his back he was able to somewhat steer himself with his gloves and just caught his leg instead on the way through (breaking it badly).

    With a big bulky jacket on, he would've had no hope of steering, and certainly would've hit the armcho stanchion at a might higher speed.
  3. interesting analogy flux. but do they really inflate, and stay inflated, to a PSI that would enable your analogy to ring true?
  4. Well, what would be the point then? I mean, falling off the bike doesn't really hurt. Sliding (with leathers on) doesn't really hurt. It's when you hit something before you stop sliding that hurts.

    If the jacket is going to inflate, it'll do it when you leave the bike otherwise it won't know when you're about to hit something as opposed just going for a slide. So to provide any impact protection at all, it will need to stay fully inflated for a good three seconds or more until the danger has passed.

    In that time, with a bulky inflated ball wrapped around the rider, they're going to tumble and hit objects at higher speeds.

    Hey - give me a thought controlled jacket, and I'll wear one. I'll slide, and before the moment of impact, think to inflate the jacket to protect me on impact.
  5. By the time he reached the Armco - the air bag would probably have deflated - so it wouldn't have saved him.

    Same applies if you come off at speed anywhere. You get propelled off your bike - jacket inflates, reduces the impact as you hit the turf - it deflates, then as you slide along and a WRB, tree etc looms up - you are toast.....

    The Red necks are already out after me. Just got this in the email:

    My response:
  6. So, how is that any better, exactly, to wearing a back-protector and body-armour under the jacket?

    I wear a fairly upmarket back-protecter with aluminium honey-comb impact crush zones. It's going to protect my back when I come off, doesn't hinder me moving when I slide, still allows me maximum deceleration as I'm sliding like a rag doll, and if I hit anything before I stop, still protects me then too.
  7. I rest my case....
  8. It doesn't inflate like a great big ball like the one in The world is not enough.


    Definitely not like this.

  9. I agree with Doug, that your comment regarding fashion was silly, John. Irrespective of how true it is, some things are better left unsaid.
  10. The neck-protector in that image is about the only thing that looks worthwhile. Coupled with a well designed combination of a back-protector and body-armour, that'd be something that I'd consider.

    I still contend that when inflated, the rider is more likely to begin a destructive tumble, and if it deflates too quickly, then it offers no added protection.

    This all smells to me like a commercial marketing beat-up. Some company that makes these jackets is driving this story in the hope of generating more sales. The problem is that the product has flaws and the market has spoken, the company doesn't like that the market isn't buying the product and has taken taking to appealing to those who don't ride to do something about it.

    Completely agree. Saying that just lessens the impact of the rest of the statement. This is a topic about safety, not fashion. At this stage we should only be concerned with discussing the merits of the system, not how it looks.
  11. Code:
    "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. "
    Oh I know it's on the market but it's a shitload of money to pay for a cordura jacket with a few inflatable bits added to it.

    I'd still wear my back protector underneath.
    Here's an idea John
    So what if it looks unfashionable? thats a stupid thing to say really.
    Instead since we HAVE to pay this levy then it should go towards subsidised approved clothing like this jacket if that's what they want to promote.
  12. When it comes to safety apparel we should be vigorous in opposing anything with the word "compulsory" attached to it.


    Well, helmets are a given. And a no brainer. But when it comes to boots, gloves, pants and jackets we'd be opening a pandora's box if we encouraged them to be compulsory. For starters, the gear would need to conform to an Australian Standard, like lids are. This means that the price of safety gear would sky rocket as it has to be tested then approved, a process that costs a lot of money. Further, it would remove a lot of products from the market, hence limiting our choices.

    I would say to the government that if a commercial enterprise wants to introduce "airbag" safety apparel, then it has to submit it for testing and consequential approval, just like Shoei, Arai and all the other manufacturers have to do with their products. Or indeed, any manufacturer, importer or distributor who wants to sell safety gear in Oz that requires such approval. This includes hard hats, safety boots, overalls, earplugs and other hearing protection. This list is endless.

    And the merchandise would then be priced accordingly. Then let market forces dictate its success or failure. If it were to be made compulsory then there should be some financial incentive (no, not higher TAC fees) but a subsidy or whatever to make them affordable.

    Anyway, while the above products are relatively cheap because they're widely used in industry, motorcycle gear which is worn or would be worn by 2 percent of the motoring public will not be because of the low numbers.

    That's my take on this issue. As for the merits or otherwise of these airbag jackets, I don't know one way or the other. Certainly, they would need to be designed for winter and summer conditions for starters. Do any of the available products allow for varying climate conditions?
  13. FFS Joel - do you think that this was all I said to that journo? I covered a lot of other ground when he spoke to me. His editors probably cut out a lot of the key points.

    I said I didn't think that some riders would take to it. I said that riders - and especially cute little girls on their scooters probably wouldn't go for it.

    I also pointed out that most sports bike riders are already very safety gear conscious and that most go overboard with leather and back protectors etc. And isn't this just an "advanced back protector" in sheeps clothing no less.....

    It may smell good - but does it taste good too?

    What I want to see is the Safetycrats put up money to test this jacket. If its as good as they say - then test it - prove it - and then I will sing its praises.

    Until that happens I can't endorse it - if I do, then you guys might suffer it getting made law.....
  14. If by "safetycrats" you mean the government, and hence, taxpayers, then I would have to disagree here. If the manufacturer wants to market a product in Australia and if it wants it to be accepted then IT should put up the money, say to MUARC or whoever does this sort of thing. We should not have to pay to validate what is a commercial enterprise.

    Read what I posted (twice, as it happens) about compulsory safety gear.
  15. No John, I'm sure there was shitloads more said to the journo!
    I just know, having been a "Company Spokesman" on a few occasions, that the bastards eagerly await for something to slip out of your mouth that can be used against you, or out of context.
  16. #16 TonyE, Sep 14, 2008
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 24, 2014
    And purely by "coincidence" the SMH had an article about motorcycle protective clothing as well.


    Riders at risk without the leathers

    Kate Benson Medical Reporter
    September 13, 2008

    SYDNEY'S love affair with scooters has a price, say doctors and ambulance officers who are seeing a growing number of riders injured because they don't wear protective clothing or full-face helmets.

    There are more than 6200 scooters on NSW roads, including about 1870 registered last year alone, as motorists struggle to beat rising petrol prices and Sydney's congested traffic. But experts fear riders are not taking the dangers seriously.

    "When people buy a scooter, they are in love with the image promoted by advertisers, so you have plenty of young girls in short skirts and heels riding around the streets," the chairman of the Motorcycle Council of NSW, Guy Stanford, said. "Well, sorry, the crash statistics say it's all the same, whether you're on a scooter or a motorcycle. If you come off and you're not wearing protective gear, such as jackets with body armour, gloves, boots and eyewear, you can find yourself … inconvenienced for months."

    Or dead, says the Roads and Traffic Authority, which points out motorcycle riders are 16 to 20 times more likely to be killed in a road accident than a car occupant.

    Despite that, many scooter riders wear half-face helmets, which don't protect the chin and teeth and rarely come with visors to protect the eyes from common dangers, including insects and burning cigarettes thrown from cars. Only 51 per cent of riders wear leather boots, which can prevent fractured bones piercing the skin and infections from gravel and grease on the road. Only 38 per cent wear motorcycle pants.

    Mr Stanford, who believes half of all motorcycle injuries could be reduced or prevented if people wore protective clothing, said cheaper helmets, usually the half-face versions, were often heavier and put extra stress on the neck and spine in an accident, while riders who wore jackets without body armour were at risk of chipping bones in their elbows or vertebrae.

    The most common injuries from motorcycle falls or crashes included fractured skulls, bruising and bleeding on the brain, compound fractures of the leg and infections caused by gravel rash, but some injuries were particular to fashion-conscious female scooter riders, an emergency physician at St Vincent's Hospital, Fiona Chow, said yesterday. "We had someone recently who was wearing a scarf which got caught in the wheel of her scooter. She was OK, but if it had been tied differently around her neck, she may been strangulated," Dr Chow said.

    A spokeswoman for the NSW Ambulance Service said paramedics were seeing more injuries from riders wearing inappropriate footwear.

    And, at the risk of being flamed by people who spend large amounts of money on them - another point about back protectors - they probably won't prevent spinal injury - most spinal injuries in motorcycle crashes are caused by twisting of the spine and not by impact. Depending on the design of a back protector it's possible for them to aggravate a spinal injury rather than prevent it...
  17. So their mandated use in all forms of motorcycle sport is just a mistake then?
  18. Please cite a reference for this statement. I'll believe when I read documented proof.

    If it's all the same with you mate, I'll trust the near universal use of back-protectors amongst motorcycle racers, and the example set by Wayne Rainey as to how easily the spine can be damaged, and be happy that I spent a few hundred dollars on a decent back protector than to take the word of some faceless individual on the net like yourself who declares that back protectors are all but useless and a waste of money.

    So tell me Tony. As a representative of motorcyclists, you're seriously arguing against one of the most widely accepted supplementary spinal armour protection devices out there? If the rider highsides and the bike flips and lands on the rider's back, you honestly think that they're no better off with a back protector? If the rider slides off the road on their back and slides over rocks, twigs and other lumpy objects that they're no better off with a back protector? If a rider starts a tumble, then aside from the legs, arms and head, the back is the other thing regularly whacking into the ground that they're no better off with a back protector? If during the rider's tumble that the rider impacts some roadside object back first that they're no better off with a back protector on?

    Statistically, "most" just means the highest proportion, which could be as little as 20% (or even much lower), so long as along with the other lesser categorisations it all adds up to 100%.

    ie. Back up your statement (no pun intended whatsoever) with some actual evidence.
  19. John,

    First of all, thankyou very much for standing up and advocating for motorcyclists. It’s a job you suffer the expenses for in terms of time, money, effort, and abuse directed at you, and we all reap the benefits from, regardless of whether we financially or morally contribute to the Motorcycle Riders Association or not.

    I must admit that my first impression from reading the article this morning in the Sunday Age was that this John bloke, whose name seemed vaguely familiar, had misrepresented the issue as one of ‘image’, especially if the reader only read the first few paragraphs citing early that “Mr Karmouche said most riders considered the jackets unfashionableâ€.

    This annoyed me because we as motorcyclists are hardly going to win public support outside our own community if it appears own main priority is defending our right to look cool and fashionable.

    However, by reading this thread, with specific reference to your “FFS Joel - do you think that this was all I said to that journo?†comment, it has become evident to me that you in person, in addition to the motorcycling community, have been misrepresented. This annoys me to the point of anger. And my apologies to you John for my ignorance of the manipulative editing techniques even a supposedly reputable newspaper is willing to employ.

    This would not be the first time that the motorcycling community and its spokespersons have been misrepresented by that sad excuse for a fourth estate that the Australian media passes as. I remember when the protest ride recently concerning motorcyclists being charged 50% of motorcar tolls for Eastlink, originating from the Doncaster Park’n’Ride, was misrepresented as a bunch of social renegades who didn’t want to pay for using the road.

    For the record, my opinion on that issue is that if a form of transport takes up approximately one quarter of the space of a motorcar, rips up one sixth of the tarmac (assuming weight is the largest contributing factor) and emits one third of the emissions (this being relevant to the extractor fans necessary for the tunnel), how the hell does Eastlink justify the figure of one half in comparing motorcycles to motorcars?

    Obviously the issue here at hand is whether the airbag jacket represents an augmentation to motorcyclist’s safety over a spine-protector and body armour, and even if it does, whether the non-motorcycling community has the right to impose restrictions on the manner in which members of the motorcycling community may enjoy their liberty, provide for their own safety, and their right to live their lives without continual interference from the over-reaching arm of government.

    As far as the Sunday Age is concerned, the next time I read an article on motorcycling, it better be written by someone who actually bloody-well rides a motorcycle, can research and identify the core issues faced by a community group, and can communicate that in a 560 world article. Instead I read an article on a contentious safety product for a community group without considering its broader context and where the only independent analysis is “failed to impress riders because they don't fit the "cool" image of biking†given that the rest of the article is merely citing the initial reaction of half a dozen persons to the product.

    And can all those motorcyclists who think safety gear is optional, including Harley posers, sports-bike squids, and Vespa girls, who are the reason Mark Russell and Georgina Dimopoulos of the Sunday Age misperceived and misrepresented the opposition to this airbag jacket as based primarily on image rather than more substantive arguments, please please please sell your bikes because you ride at the expense and detriment of us motorcyclists with IQs over 70.

  20. Setting aside John's comments and whether or not they were taken out of context or misquoted or whatever, I'd have to say that there's more than a grain of truth to this statement.

    You see guys wearing expensive Dainese leathers designed in flashy colors, cool looking knee sliders, Alpinestar boots and the like.

    Ask how many of these riders would wear the Damien Codognotto style of leathers (something that's been derided here many a time). They're leathers, and they should be adequate as protective apparel. But the color is a turnoff for most.

    Or how about wearing high vis. vests over your leathers? Or how about say, textile jackets with all the padding and armor?

    A lot of motorcycling, like it or not IS based on style and what's considered as "cool looking" or "cool sounding". I'll be that no self respecting sports bike rider will be seen dead on a Hyosung or even riding a scooter, or wearing daggy looking DriRider jackets with bright yellow fluoro stripes down them.

    Please consider too, that my comments aren't directed at all motorcyclists, just the same as JDK's weren't, either. It's just that there are a lot of riders to whom image is all important.

    Would I wear one of these airbag jackets. Possibly, but it would depend on a number of factors, not the least would be proven performance and testing to an official and validated standard. Comfort would be a second criteria, particularly for extremes of temperature. If I'm gonna roast in one just on a 10 min. trip to work then why would I bother when my Spidi DriMesh jacket, which is well padded and armored, should do the job and keep me relatively cool?

    At the end of the day, in the end and in the final analysis, these jackets should be made available for testing at the manufacturer's expense, should any laws governing their use ever be considered. Which, frankly I hope never happens.