The Air Bag You Wear

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People ride motorcycles because they aren’t cars – and this goes much deeper than the obvious.

Motorcycles are free of almost all of the crap that has been forced into cars, most especially air bags. Most new cars have at least six of these things. Almost no bikes have even one. This is chiefly because most motorcyclists do not want an air bag – hence the motorcycle. And because – thankfully – it is technically more challenging to embed one of these things into the architecture of a bike.

But Safetyism never sleeps.

If it is too much – for the moment – to embed an air bag in a bike, then how about forcing its rider to wear one? At least one company – AlpineStar, which makes excellent leathers and other riding gear – makes an air bag vest for the rider that s ideally suited for the purpose.

It is called the Tech-Air 3 and it’s only $599 – not counting the cost of ruining everything that makes riding the antithesis of driving, which used to be something emotionally (as well as financially) attractive to a great extent because it was free of things like air bags.

Before air bags, there were inexpensive cars and not merely in term of what they cost to buy, which was lower because it cost less to design and build them without having to design and build them around air bags as well as with them.

One of the hidden-from-view costs of air bags (until you pay it) is the effect they have had on the cost of insuring cars – which everyone is forced to pay.

Insuring air bag-equipped cars is more expensive even if you do not crash yours. The fact that others will crash theirs means the insurance mafia will “total” a lot of them – as the cost of replacing even two deployed air bags after a crash is often high enough to make repairing the car not worth doing. The cost of cutting a check for someone else’s totaled car is passed on to you. And, of course, you will pay more directly if your own car is totaled after a relatively minor accident because the cost of replacing the air bags is too high relative to the value of the car, itself.

These are the objective costs. The intangible costs are immeasurably higher.

This is what steering wheels used to look like . . .

Air bags in cars have ruined interior design – in particular, the former focal point of interior design, the steering wheel. Before air bags, a car’s interior was often defined by the steering wheel, which designers were free to make car (and brand) specific. One of the best examples of this being the Formula steering wheel Pontiac used to make the 1970-81 Trans-Am’s interior very specifically Trans-Am (and Pontiac). It was a unique look that no other car – or brand of car – had. Others did similar – and if they did not, you could. By replacing the factory steering wheel with a custom one more to your liking.

That is impossible now, courtesy of the air bag.

And these costs were assured when people accepted the obnoxious claim that it is the legitimate role of government to “keep us safe.” It is worse than obnoxious.

It is evil.

Underneath the cloying for-your-own-good-ism lies we-know-best-ism. The “we” being they – as in the obnoxious people who hold government office, either bureaucratic or elected, who think of themselves as enlightened and you as an imbecile. An imbecile who must be controlled – for his own good. At least, that is what they say.

What they mean, of course, is for the sake of controlling you – using force, of course – which is the thing they got into the business of government to do. It is the business of people who cannot mind their own.

They have been remarkably effective at this business, chiefly because they have been able to posture as the benefactors of mankind.

They are keeping us safe.

Never mind the cost. Most especially to our self-respect, which is trampled by the idea that we’re imbeciles who need enlightened them to “keep us safe.” In order to justify and perpetuate their control over us.

Motorcycles are still a kind of end-run around that – and them. But Safetyism never sleeps. And it knows there is a loophole to be closed.

At this moment, the air bag vest is not something you are forced to buy if you wish to ride. But bear in mind that neither were the first automotive air bags, which were initially offered as equipment people were free to buy or not. Most did not. Just as most riders will choose not to spend $599 (plus tax) on a wearable air bag. Not because they’re imbeciles, either. Rather, because they prefer not to – which does not make them imbeciles. Except to those who believe they are divine-right-entitled to countermand the preferences of others, not by persuasion but by force.

Which makes them something far worse than imbeciles.

We were imbeciles to give them an inch.

Which they got when they succeeded in using force to require seat belts in cars. Which people were eventually – inevitably – forced to use, too.

Just as they are now forced to pay for air bags.

And everything else.

It will be the same with air bag vests.

At least, there is a very strong probability it will  – because of the prior acceptance of forcing riders to wear helmets, as is the (obnoxious) law in most states. If the state – that is, they – can force you to buy and wear a helmet, then why not an air bag vest? Rest assured the argument will be made by them – in terms of for-your-own-good. It may even be made by the makers of the air bag vest, too – as there is money to be made by making people buy what you have to sell.

There are, of course, those who think the cost is worth the price (leaving aside the making you pay it).

Perhaps they ought to give more thought to the costs of accepting this principle and the power of control it cedes to government (i.e., to them) which will relentlessly seek new avenues to express itself – until we are allowed no control over anything at all.

. . .

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  1. Here in the People’s Republic of California, it’s tempting to try the “illegal alien” option, since illegals aren’t burdened by insurance premiums. I wish I knew more about how they skirt The System.

    It sure appears that even when caught without insurance, somehow it works out fine, as they continue to drive unimpeded.

    Do Soros-funded NGOs aid and abet them in their free ride?
    Perhaps traffic court prosecutors drop cases for fear of appearing racist (under NGO pressure).
    Or perhaps they get NGO-provided representation in court.
    Or NGO-funded “help” paying fines.
    Anyone know?

  2. I always knew that eventually, some dildo would invent an airbag suit. Not just for bikers, but soon, for EVERYONE. After all, someone MIGHT bump into a lamppost and crush their ribs!

    My God, how on EARTH did humanity ever manage to survive for the past 10,000+ years without “saaaaaaaafety”?!

  3. Save spending serious bucks on air-sac safety….Bubble wrap is a great low cost substitute system(say out loud 3 times fast).

  4. I’ve seen this vest advertised for several years. The vest is connected to the bike via a cable. If it’s pulled, such as when you are thrown off the bike, the vest inflates, padding the neck and back. I picture a cartoon like scenario where the vest inflates in a big, puffy bubble and the guy goes floating away like in that Harry Potter movie when he “blew up” his aunt. But from a practical standpoint, what if you jump off the bike and forget to disconnect the cable? Or your dumb-ass buddy rides up and yanks your cable because it’s funny? And we are relying on iffy technology. If it malfunctions, say when you brake hard or hit a big bump, it could actually cause an accident. The rider could have saved the bike, but not when he’s immobilized in inches of airbag blasting open on his neck and torso.
    Ironically, car airbags were supposed to save insurance money. When they “sold” them to us, they said it would prevent injuries and thus, insurance claims. Instead of face planting in the steering wheel or windshield, you’d hit a soft, marshmallow-like poufy dream and be just fine. We now know they are not soft or safe. It’s like hitting a concrete wall and results in broken facial bones and knocked out teeth. And that’s not even counting the defective ones that shoot metal shards. You’d be better off just wearing the seat belt. Ditto for a bike: ride safety and defensively, dress for the slide, wear a helmet or get this vest if you want. These are all choices we weigh when we ride based on personal feelings about risk. I make different choices based on where we are going, when and with whom.
    Unfortunately, we are treated like children who can’t weigh our own risks and benefits.
    Their great-idea safety measures usually backfire in some way, either with unanticipated costs or by causing a whole new set of injuries to people.

  5. Eric, I seem to recall that the Fed DOT tried to make motorcycles safer in the 70s by trying to develop a rear wheel steering cycle. It was unridable. The article was in Autoweek.

    Do you or anyone else remember this fiasco or an I just losing it?

  6. What is particularly grating about it all, is the intense arrogancy of the “know it better than you crowd”.

    How they often double down when called out and even more so when shown to be wrong.

    • Hi Rich,

      “What is particularly grating about it all, is the intense arrogancy of the “know it better than you crowd””

      That – and their hypocrisy. Examples of which include the obese person so concerned about his health that he can’t stop buying case after case of HFC-sweetened soda – but freaks out if you’re not wearing a Face Diaper…

  7. With this push to eventually have EVERYONE ride bicycles, if our would be overlords succeed with that, what are the odds that Nanny State bureaucrats will push to have airbags mandatory in bicycles under guise of “Saaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaafety”?

  8. Before air bags, a car’s interior was often defined by the steering wheel…

    One reason why I stopped watching Jay Leno’s Garage is because he always points out how much he likes the old steering columns, but in a way that is a little bit smarmy and left-handed. Like those wonderful old steering wheels, all thin chrome steel and clear plastic, were somehow a hazard themselves. Usually followed up with “They called it the boulevard ride” and a comment about overboosted power steering. As if its a bad thing that the little woman could parallel park an Electra 225 just as easily as her husband.

  9. I believe I mentioned this before; in neighboring “Freaks-burg” (aka Bleaksburg, home of VA TECH) Safety Nazis reign supreme. Therefor it should come as no surprise that there are student engineers currently developing External Bumper Airbags for passenger vehicles. This is to presumably protect morons who walk out into traffic because their attention is constantly focused on the electronic babysitter in their hand. Some the same people claim it is to protect pedestrians from the silent, noiseless EV, another of their “save the planet” cons, ironically enough.
    I have already met motorcycle riders who wear “airbag jackets” and, of course, they are from the same lefty-brainwashed village above. They all share an insidious fear of everything, and also an indignation towards anyone else who doesn’t. The town is a festering boil on the ass of an ever-increasingly paranoid society of control freaks and narcissists.

  10. I certainly agree with comments that insurance has a large hand on the scales in government controlling auto makers and the products they offer.
    I just had the misfortune of running over a piece of a blown truck tire that I couldn’t safely avoid during a rainstorm. It caused about $950 in damages to the front spoiler and undercarriage according to the local repair and body shops. This is my first claim in 30 years and my car is 24 years old.
    I just received the renewal notice of my 6 month insurance policy on the car.
    The insurance cost was increased by over 200% from $775/year to $2500/year.
    I guess I was extremely naive to think that I pay for car insurance to cover the cost of such expenses that are not the fault of the insured. Over the past 30 years I have paid in over $20,000 in premiums (partially forced upon me by government edict.)
    Yet the insurer has no problem with casting blame for this claim to me (instead of the truck driver and the weather) and punishing me with an increased cost of insurance that pays for the single claim in about 1/3 of the years’ insurance bill.
    If that worthless scumbag looter Warren Buffet gets anywhere near my car, I doubt I will be able to control it.
    Obviously I will take my business elsewhere.

    • I forgot to mention that the company wanted to total the car, but the local adjuster wouldn’t allow it because he realized that the car’s current market value (in spite of it’s age) was about 15 times the repair cost.

    • Hi John,

      Terrible. I have experienced similar – and it is part of the reason why I despise insurance-at-gunpoint. They could never get away with this sort of thing if we had the legal right to say – this is outrageous; cancel the policy. But we can’t. So they use the force of law to mulct us. For the “premiums” and then the “adjustments.”

      Health insurance is even worse – and I maintain it is among the chief reasons why so many people are broke or nearly so. How does one accumulate capital when one is paying $500 (or more) each month to be “covered”? Plus the car insurance?

      Many people are probably paying the equivalent of a monthly mortgage payment (or a large portion of what could have gone toward it) on “coverage” – and they get nothing in return for it.

      I have saved literally $100k-plus by not buying health insurance since I first began working for a living in the late ’80s. It’s why I was able to buy my first house. It’s why I feel nothing but hate for these insurance mobsters. They kids coming up blame capitalism for their poverty. But it’s the mafia – among others – who are actually responsible for it.

    • John,
      Such has been my experience as well. It appears that if you make a claim, the “insurance” expects you to cover the cost in a few years, or less.
      Not sure why this collision was not covered under your comprehensive insurance, which should not affect your rate. Hitting a dear does. even if it’s lying on the road dead, which I once did. But it does seem insurance can make up the rules as it goes along.

  11. If there are wearable air bags, airbags can be eliminated from all vehicles.

    If balloons can be used to land craft on Mars so landings can prevent damage to the lander, then you can wear an airbag that inflates into a balloon shape instantly with you surrounded by the several airbags.

    Hope it doesn’t inflate by accident, could be a problem.

    What idiot thought of such a crackpot idea as a wearable airbag?

    They need to quit while they are behind.

    Car buying customers will have to go to auto auctions on Saturdays to find an affordable automobile.

    It’s Saturday, so all of the chief regulators are sleeping or just waking up, everybody can relax today. They’ll be at a restaurant having Eggs Benedict for breakfast a little later.

    Hot Club of Cowtown has some good tunes, western swing type music.

    • RE: Airbag landing on interplanetary probes. It’s all about trade-offs with power, weight and sturdiness. In order for the Mars rovers to survive the impact(s) from the airbags they had to be massively overbuilt. People forget the mission was only slated for three months. But because the rovers had to be built to survive the “landing” they actually lasted far longer. This was played up by the science press to show how great JPL’s engineering capabilities. In reality if they could have had a precision rocket controlled landing they could have skimped on construction, added in more experiments or added performance.

      Humans aren’t so flexible. Even if your airbag prevents exterrior damage, there’s still a high likelihood of internal damage. Look at what’s going on in the NFL and concussions. Players are still having them despite better helmets and research, because their brains are banging against their skulls. Not much can be done about that other than retraining players to sweep takle instead of head butting.

      • RK,
        Kills a lot of race car drivers too. Inertia kills. Your heart and or brain doesn’t stop moving just because you did. If you hit the wall at 180 mph, a large fraction of that speed is how fast your brain hits your skull, or your heart hits your ribs. Doesn’t matter how well you are strapped in.

  12. I think that ultimately, safetyism is a cosmic force that hates free will. It is the antithesis of freedom in general because it can apparently be extended to every moment and circumstance to control, limit, and prevent any behavior.

    I always wondered, “how in hell did the government get in the business of safety”?! Because there never was an outcry from the days prior to the vaunted “enlightenment” for fucken safety (of all things)!

    “If only someone could help us be safe finally” has never ever been a demand or wish of any group of people prior to Western governments teaching it to weak minded fools.

    Did the serfs and slaves dream of safety? Were sieges and wars conducted because one side wanted more/less safety than the other?!

    Did the ancient Greeks that dreamed up the ideas of democracy do so because they weren’t safe enough?! I somehow missed Plato, Aristotle, etc, dreaming of a safer world.

    Pick any great name from science, philosophy, mathematics, or even art — “surely” their end goal was a safer world, right?! I seemed to have missed it, if so.

    Rather, I’m fairly confident (and correct me if I’m wrong) that, outside of modern statism, not even religion has ever centered around the theme of safety.

    It can’t be overstated that the cult of safetyism is outright evil.

    • XM,
      Leaving behind that “safety” is an illusion, or delusion. We are bags of jello with some bones inside. We fall down wrong, we die. The only real safety is the grave. Historical philosophers and theologians understood this, and so did not make any pronouncements on it. One of the most disgusting, and widely used phrases in the current language is “be safe”. Can’t be done. We either suffer violent or accidental death, or we get sick and die. There is no alternative. No one gets out alive.

      • Yeah John, I can’t say enough how it bugs the ever-living shit out of me that every idiot inserts or appends “be safe” into every situation humanly possible.

        Wasn’t it George Carlin that talked about, “what if I don’t want to have a nice day!”?

        Same thing but even more obnoxious.

  13. They would only be happy if we all lived in bubbles, staring at a screen, meals delivered and distanced from all forms of potential hazard.

    Even then a new safety measure would be concocted.

    • Dan,
      Indeed, the very thing they seek for us, “we all lived in bubbles, staring at a screen, meals delivered and distanced from all forms of potential hazard” is more hazardous than ordinary behavior. We get sick and die, or blow our brains out.

  14. you might be right Eric Re: vest airbags.
    However, I don’t see how they would enforce it? A helmet, or not, is a visible thing, easy.
    And airbag vest, or not, would be next to impossible to enforce. Yellow sticker saying it is? replicate it, etc….
    They are currently applied to motorcycle roadracing, and can add some limited protection.
    Keep in mind that most injuries are a result off mass vs sudden stop. An air cushion slows the kinetic energy, even a little means a lot. Walk in to a tree at 2-3 mph as an example.

    I personally hit the pocono tunnel turn wall at approx. 100mph after my bike hit the oil of a blown engine directly in front of me. Luckily for me, it was the tunnel turn 2 in which I hit the wall at a glancing blow of approx. 30 degrees. If it were turn 1 or 3 I would have hit at a much more severe angle and not be here most likely. I have witnessed people die hitting those walls.
    My femur was crushed into 20 pieces hitting the wall, then another bike hit me and destroyed my upper body, broken ribs, neck, collar bone, and my humorous came out and I lost my radial nerve forever when my arm caught in the other bike and it drug me and tried to separate my 3 arm nerves from my brain.. 9 month recovery to walk again. 2 nerves came back in my arm giving me 3/4 use of my arm/hand. (7 bike pileup, one dead, one lost both legs, and I was 3rd worse, medivac’d to lehigh valley hospital where they saved my life, and the future lives’ of my kids.)

    Would a vest airbag have helped? I don’t know, but my theory is it certainly would not have saved my femur, but it might have helped a lot with my upper body injuries.
    And they put fence airbags on a lot of these immovable walls sections now at high speed sections. Would one of these airfences have helped, absolutely. Me certainly, as the first guy in, but they deflate quickly and most likely would not have helped the other 6 bikes crashing after me.

    • Hi Chris,

      I put nothing past them – absolutely nothing. I could see them enforce this via “safety” checkpoints. One could evade/avoid – but most would comply. They might also make them integrated (electronically) with the bike; i.e., the bike won’t start until it confirms you’re wearing your bag (and yes, of course, one could probably just stuff the thing under the seat or whatever – but you see my point).

      Your crash was hideous. I am glad you survived it. I deliberately avoided debating the potential benefits of air bags – or any other “safety” device as I did not want to present a utilitarian argument. Just as I have no issue with eating responsibly and exercising regularly, I have no issue with a person choosing to buy or wear any safety device they deem it worth paying for and wearing, etc. The argument I tried t make – and I know you realize this – is the moral one, about the evil of forcing anyone to do what someone else thinks is good for them.

      Even if it may sometimes be!

      • You’re right, the e-thing could be a future problem, and I certainly agree almost nothing should be forced. I say almost because in the racing world, one could argue that some safety things are pretty important.
        We fought belly pans on the bottom of roadracing bikes that would have absorbed/captured the oil that caused the severe 7 bike pileup. They are currently mandatory on the newer popular ‘bagger class’ of roadracing because they blow up a lot.
        I will add that there are always a lot of aftermarket ‘fixes’ for e-things. For some reason they are called ‘dongles’, which I have used to ‘fix’ forcing things on my bikes.
        Examples are fixing very lean efi programming and a kick stand ‘safety’ check thing comes to mind.

        • Hi Chris,

          In re racing: It’s not forced! It’s the rules of the sanctioning body, right? It’s not the government, in other words. I have no issue with a private road-racing entity saying: These are the rules if you want to run our race, which is held on a privately owned track that no one is forced to race on (or, hopefully, subsidize). My objection is to any “safety” stuff being required on the manufacturing or use outside of that context.

      • War correspondents have on numerous occasions stated that they never felt more alive than when they were in the middle of combat, with their lives at risk. Perhaps I want to risk my life. It’s none of the state’s business.

        • “I’m the one that’s gonna have to die
          When it’s time for me to die
          So let me live my life
          The way I want to” -Jimi Hendrix, if 6 were 9

          Even the old-school hippie liberals didn’t want to be told how to live!

  15. ‘Safetyism never sleeps.’ — eric

    One ad hoc response [jpg image]:

    And another more premeditated one, to keep oneself saaaaaaaafe from predators [jpg image]:

    An ode to ‘Santa Seguridad’ Joan Claybrook:

    Quien te ve no pensará ………………………… One who sees you won’t think
    Que se disfraza una serpiente peligrosa …….. That you disguise a dangerous serpent
    Tus caprichos y vanidad ………………………… Your caprices and vanity
    Me han llevado a la ruina y la pobreza ………. Have led me to ruin and poverty

    Mi madre dijo: ……………………………………. My momma said
    Peligro, hijo mío, te vas a lamentar …………… Danger, my son, you’ll be sorry
    Todos decían lo mismo ………………………….. Everyone said the same
    Que contigo me iba a ir muy mal ……………… That with you I’d go bad wrong

    Eres el Demonio vestido ‘e mujer ……………… You’re the devil in women’s clothes
    Tu nuevo apodo será Lucifer …………………….. Your new nickname will be Lucifer

    Peligro (peligro), Peligro (peligro) ……………… Danger (danger), Danger (danger)
    Que se libren los hombres de tu camino ……… Men had better get out of your way
    Danger (danger), Danger (danger) ……………. Danger (danger), Danger (danger)
    Fellas, be aware, this woman is dangerous ….. Fellas, be aware, this woman is dangerous
    Peligro (peligro),Peligro (peligro) ………………. Danger (danger), Danger (danger)
    Pobrecito el que termine contigo ………………. Poor guy who ends up with you

    – Aventura, Peligro

  16. Insuring air bag-equipped cars is more expensive even if you do not crash yours.

    EV’s…..even very minor accidents cause them to be a write off….watch the rates get way worse….

    you buy an EV…pay cash….. drive it for a week….then somebody puts a minor dent in it….the insurance company writes it off…..but….a car depreciates 10% below the wholesale price as soon as you drive it onto the street…..if there was a 4% markup a $60,000 EV depreciates to about $51,600 the first day…that is probably what the insurance company will try to give you…if you don’t have a full value clause….so that is what your loss is…around $8400……plus all the taxes you paid….another $3000 to $5000? loss…

    that is why you lease….the lessor is the owner…they take the loss…you just made one $600 lease payment…that is your loss….

  17. “not by persuasion but by force”
    As in the assumption of authority to kill you if you disobey.
    I don’t like having an explosive device in my steering wheel, certainly don’t want to wrap one around me.
    “They are keeping us safe.”
    Meanwhile, “they”, aka governments, are the most dangerous entities on the planet. They kill people by the millions, up to and including hundreds of millions. Perhaps with the vaxx and the threat of nuclear war, billions. We shall see.
    Seems “keeping us safe” is way down on their list of priorities.

    • they are eugenicists….it is part of the depopulation agenda…

      their favorite tools are war, pandemics and famine….they are taking control of the food supply…so famines are coming….buy lots of spam…lol….

      culling the useless eaters that are destroying the environment… invasive species….so it is a just cull….they say….


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