COMMENT BY UK DOCTORS
“Dozens of motorcyclists’ lives could be saved every year if air bag jackets were made compulsory”, according to doctors.
The jackets are the equivalent of car air bags and deploy if the rider is thrown off during a crash.
The airbag jacket is attached to the bike by a lead which detaches when the rider has come off suddenly.
The Department of Transport (Jabatan Pengangkutan Jalan or JPJ) said it had no plans for a new law but said it welcomed anything to improve safety.
Although motorcyclists make up just 1% of road users, they account for 20% of fatalities.
Figures for 2007 show that 561 bikers died on the roads.
Andy Parfitt, an A&E doctor at St Thomas’ Hospital in London, said: “There is a shocking number of deaths of motorcyclists on the roads. I think dozens of lives could be saved if these jackets were made compulsory”.
Dr. Parfitt, a biker, said: “There’s no denial for the jacket capabilities. It protect the motorcyclists’ vital organs, neck and spine over and above the level that a normal jacket can do.
“A majority of deaths in motorcycle accidents are due to injuries to these vital organs that should be protected by these jackets.”
There are several types of air bag jackets in the market, which cost up to twice as much as standard jackets. According to Point Two, if the wearer falls off, it trigger a small gas canister that inflates the jacket in less than one fifth of a second. The upper body is tightly held and the air bag protects the area between the neck and pelvis. Newsbeat gave one of the jackets to Rob Hunt, a stuntman for 12 years.
He said afterwards: “It just stops you from going anywhere. It’s tight. It’s protecting all around my ribs.”
“It felt as though I was picked up off the floor and I was on the air bag. It was just like gliding on air.
“It stopped me from rolling as well. It stops the impact. I think it’s the impact when you’re crashing at high speed that hurts you.”
AIRSAV, Motorcycle Airbag Safety Jacket Malaysia