This High-Tech, Wearable Motorcycle Airbag Could Save Your Life

It inflates in less than one-tenth of a second.

Tech-Air street airbag system

Let’s not kid ourselves. You don’t have to be racing—or even going fast—to be involved in a messy motorcycle crash. But when it happens and you have less than a second before impact, you should be less worried about what mechanical failure happened or who was at fault and more about whether you’ll survive it.

If you’re wearing Alpinestars’ Tech-Air ($1,000) upper body protection system, you’ve got a much better chance. MotoGP riders have been wearing it for years. This version—designed for use with any scooter or motorcycle, on- or off-road, in any weather conditions—is designed to comprehensively protect street riders’ shoulders, chest, kidneys and back. It’s able to detect impact, activate and inflate all in less than a tenth of a second.

An LED panel on the sleeve indicates the battery pack’s level. On a full charge, they say you should be able to get 25 continuous hours of protection—that includes if you’re at a standstill and some idiot crashes into you. 

Best of all, the system’s designed to be comfortable enough to not only ride with before but after it’s deployed.

As flexible as the system is, the one catch is that you need to pair it with one of their compatible jackets, the Viper or Valparaiso. But they certainly look stylish enough to take for a ride.