March 17, 2006 Motorcyclists have long been the most vulnerable road users because they do not have an effective barrier between themselves and other objects in an accident. A flurry of activity in motorcycle protective gear could change things. Honda recently showed its first air-bag on a motorcycle and manufacturers are developing a cross between the airbag and a protective jacket designed to protect the motorcycle rider's neck and spine in the event of an accident. One of the first to market with the new design is Hit-Air which sells a range of jackets and vests featuring airbag technology designed to keep riders safe and comfortable in a wide range of driving and climatic conditions. The jackets are already in use by police departments in Brazil, Italy, Japan and Spain and appear to offer significantly greater protection than a normal jacket. The inflatable vests are finding application in many other potentially dangerous activities such as horseriding and power sports.
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