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Do Motorcycles Have Airbags? Facts & FAQ

man on a motorcycle ride

All cars are mandated to have basic airbags. Airbags are for the protection of the driver in the case of a crash, and they have been shown to greatly improve the survival rate in serious accidents. While all cars have airbags, do motorcycles have airbags? Not really. Motorcycles are known to be far riskier to ride than cars, and part of that reason is that motorcycles do not have standard airbags. There is only one type of motorcycle that ships with a standard airbag, and it isn’t a common or popular make and model.

car and road divider

Why Don’t Motorcycles Have Airbags?

motorcycle and car accident
Image By: Ground Picture, Shutterstock

Unlike cars, motorcycle rides are much freer. In a motorcycle accident, the risk of injury is not derived from the blow as much as it is from being thrown off or tipped over. An airbag will not prevent a rider from being thrown from the motorcycle. In fact, an airbag could actually make it easier for a rider to be thrown from a bike. Being tipped over and having the rider be crushed under the motorcycle and dragged along the ground is another source of serious injury in a motorcycle wreck, and, again, an airbag would not prevent this situation from unfolding.

For these reasons, an airbag’s effectiveness is severely reduced in motorcycles and could actually exacerbate certain bad situations on the road.

The World’s First Motorcycle Airbag System

Honda is the first company to try and create a feasible motorcycle airbag system. They have developed a front airbag that will deploy and protect a rider in the event of a head-on collision. Currently, the airbag is only sold as a part of the Honda Goldwing motorcycle. That makes the Honda Goldwing the only motorcycle on the market with a standard airbag installed at the time of purchase.

Honda has been developing this system for over a decade, and despite first introducing it in 2006, it has not really caught on in any other motorcycles.

The Best Airbag Alternative

The best alternative to an airbag for motorcycles is an airbag vest. These special vests have airbags installed in them. When a rider is thrown from a bike, the vest will deploy and create a cushion that will help prevent injuries when the rider strikes the ground. Airbag vests are very effective, and they are designed to combat the most common sources of serious injury for motorcycle riders. An airbag vest, in combination with a helmet, is one of the best ways to protect yourself while riding.

The problem with airbag vests is that they have to be purchased aftermarket. They are not required by law. And they can be very expensive. For these reasons, they are not as common as they could be.

Image By: Daniel, Pexels

Wear PPE

Experts say the best way to protect yourself while riding a motorcycle is to wear a full complement of personal protective equipment (PPE). PPE includes eye protection, a helmet, gloves, an airbag vest, chaps, and long sleeves. Together, these items create an effective protective layer that will work to reduce the largest risks to motorcycle riders in the event of a crash. Wearing PPE is the best way to protect yourself in lieu of airbags and seatbelts, which are what typically protect regular drivers.

car and road divider


There is only one motorcycle that has standard airbags. That motorcycle is the Honda Goldwing. The rest of the motorcycles on the market do not have airbags. Instead, experts urge riders to wear effective PPE to help better protect themselves in the event of an accident on the road. If you want to buy a motorcycle with an airbag, you will need to find and purchase a Honda Goldwing.

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Featured Image Credit: Guduru Ajay bhargav, Pexels


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