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New technology in automobiles could keep motorcyclists safer

Any motorcyclist knows that operating a bike safely is of utmost importance. Unlike cars and trucks, motorcyclists don't have the benefit of extensive safety features and structures that can protect them in a crash. However, riding safely can only go so far in keeping motorcyclists safe; riders must also rely on the other drivers on the road to have the same appreciation for safety.

Unfortunately, many motorcycle accidents are caused by reckless or negligent drivers. Drivers don't always give riders enough space on the road or they can completely fail to even see motorcycles and end up causing a serious collision that can threaten the rider's life. But hopefully, a new technology will improve safety on the road and prevent motorcycle accidents across the U.S.

The new technology is called vehicle-to-vehicle communication. Essentially, the technology allows cars, trucks and SUVs to "talk" to each other by constantly and rapidly exchanging information about a vehicle's movements.

The V2V system has been tested and has shown to be effective at preventing three types of accidents in particular: rear-end collisions, lane-changing accidents and crashes at intersections. By tracking the speed, movement and braking of other vehicles, the technology can warn drivers and help them avoid a crash. Unlike other safety systems, this V2V technology does not actually engage or disengage any automobile functions; it simply lets drivers know that a crash could be imminent. 

The reason this communication could be so beneficial for motorcyclists is that it can allow drivers to have a better understanding of where and how fast a motorcycle is traveling, even if they fail to see the biker themselves.

Currently, the technology is not available for motorcycles, but if the effectiveness of the system continues to impress the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, use of V2V communication could be greatly expanded in coming months and years.

Until this technology has a larger presence in vehicles across California, unfortunately, riders must continue to be on alert and rely on the safe driving skills of other motorists to avoid a crash.

Source: Ultimate Motorcycling, "Vehicle-to-Vehicle Communications for Motorcycles?" Gary Ilminen, Jan. 6, 2015

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