This, ahem, ridiculous video comes to us courtesy of England’s Motorcycle News, which featured Rejean Neron’s “Safety Sphere.” We imagine that nearly every motorcyclist has had a friend propose an inflatable protective sphere. The idea is simple—basically, an airbag enbubbles your entire body. In practice, it would take an awfully powerful explosion to inflate such a large bag, and an accidental enbubblement would throw a rider clean off his bike.
Though the Safety Sphere is possibly tongue-in-cheek, the idea of both rider-mounted and bike-mounted airbags does have merit. In 2005, Honda rolled out the first motorcycle airbag system on the luxurious Goldwing. In a front-end collision, the airbag comes out from between the handlebars and helps slow the rider down gradually.
In the rider-mounted, partial enbubblement corner is Dainese with their relatively new D-Air suits for racers and street riders. It combines a bike-mounted accelerometer on the forks, which detects collisions, and a rider-mounted pneumatic system with an inflatable airbag. The systems are in radio contact, and in the event of a crash, the airbag deploys and helps minimize rider injury.
We love seeing these developments. Yes, they might increase the complexity and cost of motorcycling, but if a full or partial enbubbling device would mean the difference between being laid-up with injuries and being back on the bike, the extra cost could be well worth it.