Do Motorcycles Have Airbags? (+ Other Common FAQs)

We all know that motorcycles can be fun, but we also know they can be dangerous. The truth is that helmets help out a lot, but what about an airbag system for added protection?

So, do motorcycles have airbags? If you’d like to find out, keep reading to see what I learned!

Do Motorcycles Have Airbags?

The only motorcycles that come with airbags to date are Honda Gold Wings. They started placing airbags in their motorcycles in 2006 and have been doing so ever since, but there are many airbag vest options that motorcycle riders can wear that have proven to minimize injury and save lives.

If you’d like to learn more about which motorcycles have airbags, how the Honda motorcycle airbag system works and more, keep reading for more useful facts and tips!

What Motorcycles Have Airbags?

Most motorcycles don’t come with airbags, as the only airbag system that is factory built-in comes on a Honda Gold Wing. Honda has claimed to have seen much success with this process, but it’s likely that other models won’t follow this trend.

The reason why the Gold Wing can get away with a built-in airbag system is because of its size. Most motorcycles are too compact and/or small to implicate an airbag system.

How Does The Honda Motorcycle Airbag System Work?

How Does The Honda Motorcycle Airbag System Work?

Honda Gold Wing airbags only deploy during frontal crash accidents, since reports show that the majority of the vehicle-to-motorcycle accidents happen as front-end collisions.

The Honda airbag has four different support tethers and four different airbag sensors. The tethers keep the airbag in place when it deploys and the sensors work just like a vehicle airbag sensor works.

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When the sensors notice an impact of around 5-10 MPH+, the device deploys and protects the rider’s neck from whiplash and possible back and spinal cord injuries.

Do Motorcycle Airbags Save Lives?

According to the National Observatory of Road Safety of the DGT, motorcycle airbags not only save lives, but they also have statistics that show a major drop in spinal cord and neck injuries due to riders who were wearing motorcycle airbag vests.

Do You Need a Motorcycle Airbag?

Motorcycle airbag jackets have been shown not only to protect your neck and spinal cord, but they have also been known to save riders from major rib cage and collarbone injuries.

However, there is no law stating that you have to wear an airbag vest, so it makes it up to the rider to decide what he or she wants to do.

Are Motorcycle Airbags Effective?

The effectiveness of a motorcycle airbag is due to its deployment of just milliseconds as the accident occurs.

However, just like with airbags in four-wheel vehicles, they are not 100-percent effective. Depending on the kind of accident you are in, airbags may increase your chances for just minor injuries over major or even fatal injuries.

How Does a Motorcycle Airbag Work?

How Does a Motorcycle Airbag Work?

A tether is attached to the motorcycle that is also attached to your motorcycle airbag jacket. When the tether separates from the motorcycle, the airbag will deploy.

Depending on what kind of accident you were in, the airbag deflates again. So, if there was minimal damage to the bike and yourself, you will be able to get back on the bike and keep on riding to your destination.

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At What Speed Do Airbags Go Off?

Motorcycle airbag vests are operated by tethers, so unlike four-wheel vehicles equipped with airbags (which go off around 10-12 MPH), you don’t have to be riding at any speed for them to go off.

This is important to know, because if you get off your motorcycle and your tether is still attached, the airbag could go off. However, it does take 60 pounds of pressure, so this is quite hard to do.

Do Motorcycle Racers Have Airbags?

Motorcycle racers used to have the option of wearing airbag vests, but due to the notoriety of the effectiveness, just like the HANS device in car racing, motorcycle airbag vests became mandatory in 2018.

What are the Two Types of Motorcycle Airbag Designs?

The two different types of motorcycle airbags have a huge difference in price and complication, and the more basic of the two are the airbags that go over the vest.

The more complicated motorcycle airbag systems go under the vest or are integrated into the motorcycle jacket. These types of motorcycle airbags are usually for the die-hard serious riders, especially ones that reach extreme speeds.

How do Electronic Motorcycle Airbags Work?

Electronic airbags use GPS, body velocity monitoring against the bike’s velocity, and other physics to monitor the rider’s movements while in motion to decide when to deploy a motorcycle airbag.

Are Motorcycle Airbags Uncomfortable?

Are Motorcycle Airbags Uncomfortable?

The only uncomfortable thing about the motorcycle airbag vest is said to be that a vest that goes under the motorcycle jacket can be very unventilated. This might be a good thing on cooler days, but on hot days, it might feel a little unbearable.

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Is it Safe to Ride a Motorcycle Without an Airbag?

Because accidents can happen while riding a motorcycle, safety equipment is available and, in some cases, mandatory.

If you want to know more about airbags, you can also see our posts on the pros & cons of airbags, how to disable airbags, and what are airbags filled with.


Motorcycles are fun to drive but can be very dangerous as well. Helmets, boots, and gloves are great protection devices for a rider, but an airbag vest just might be as important a safety precaution as having a helmet on.

Airbag vests are designed to minimize the impact a motorcycle accident can have on your body. It can help protect your neck, spine, and your rib cage from serious injury.

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