We've been writing quite a bit about motorcycle helmets lately – the facts show that they save lives and reduce the risk of serious brain injuries if you're involved in a motorcycle crash. Still, the law in Florida says wearing one is the personal choice of the rider, unless you are under 21 years old, or do not carry at least $10,000 worth of medical insurance coverage. So, some wear a ‘brain bucket', and some do not.
Now, there are a few enterprising companies out there that are developing and marketing a new-age type of high tech motorcycle helmet. These innovative offerings are being touted as a way for riders to be more aware of the road and conditions around them, limiting the distractions of taking your eyes of the road.
But not everyone is convinced this next step in helmet technology is a good thing.
The technology is powered by a computerized helmet complete with a Heads Up Display (HUD) for viewing GPS data, just like you would see on a GPS unit mounted in a car. The basic idea is that by feeding a stream of GPS data onto a visual display viewed by the rider on the inside of his helmet windscreen, it will eliminate the need to look for upcoming road signs or directional markings. The riders sees a small screen inset to the lower right of the overall display, with simplified, graphic alerts and audio that shows upcoming intersections, traffic that has slowed or stopped ahead of the rider, turn-by-turn navigation and other information.
One manufacturer, Skully Helmets, is about to launch their P1 model this spring, and it will also feature a back-up camera mounted on the rear of the helmet. This allows the rider a 360-degree view of everything around them, which could serve well in illiminating or reducing the number of crashes involving a car rear-ending a motorcycle. The continual feed of the rear camera view eliminates the need to take your eyes off the road to check your mirrors.
There is another product under development from APX Labs and HOLOEYE Systems called NUVIS, which also shows GPS data retrieved by your smartphone via a separate app and a unit the rider straps to his existing helmet's chin strap. While there are helmets currently on the market that offer a rear-view “mirror” cam built in, the new model by Skully is the first that is expected to hit the market with a full array of GPS and visual technology visible on a HUD display.
There are other features found in these new helmets, like the ability to sync them with your smartphone via Bluetooth connectivity to allow the rider to make telephone calls, listen to music, and more. The questions about whether making or receiving a phone call while riding will actually add to driver distraction remain to be answered.
As motorcycle accident injury attorneys, we see the trauma involved in serious head and brain injuries almost daily. We encourage all motorcycle riders to wear a helmet, whether it's high tech or old school. We'll keep our eye on these new offerings as they are expected to be available to the consumer soon. Bottom line is that there are hard facts that prove wearing a helmet saves lives – and maybe some of these new technology-packed offerings will change a few rider's minds about whether they wear one or not.
Photo credit Skully Helmets