Opti­mi­zed pro­tec­tive clo­thing for motor­cy­clists

Motorcyclists still have a significantly higher risk than car occupants of being injured or even killed in an ac­cident. That means, in re­lation to the covered distance, motorcyclists have a consi­derably higher risk of being killed in a road accident than car occupants.

In 2017 the risk was higher by a factor of 20. Moreover, the level of risk is constantly increasing. The accidents of motorcyclists are often serious colli­sions, since they do not have the benefit of the protective crumple zones or highly developed safety systems that have become standard in virtually all cars. Depending on the circumstances of the impact, the motorcyclist’s body may have to absorb most of the energy involved, which often results in severe and fatal injuries.

Accordingly, there is significant scope for optimizing the protective clothing of motorcyclists. In particular, new developments such as airbags in protective clothing are highly promising. However, a detailed analysis of the injury patterns and protective mechanisms is essential so that solutions can be developed and their effectiven­ess assessed.

The aim of this study is to analyse the accidents that occur in order to identify typical accident situations and impact scenarios. In addition, a list ranking the regi­ons of the body most badly affected will be produced. Based on these findings, selected “optimized protective clothing” will be thoroughly assessed in terms of its po­tential to prevent injuries and mitigate the severity of any injuries.

Taking the results of the analyses together, it is clear that today’s commercially available thorax airbags can mitigate injuries at lower speeds of impact. The higher the speed of the impact and the smaller the radius of the object involved in the impact, the smaller is the protec­tive effect that can be expected. As of a speed of impact of at most 50 km/h, no appreciable mitigation of injury severity can be expected. Even a significantly optimized airbag, which can still have a protective effect in this speed range, is no longer effective as of a speed of im­pact of at most 70 km/h.

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