#133: Mobile crash barrier

They have tried to fit airbags to motorcycles and even motorcyclists, I understand, but the triggering conditions are extremely hard to get right (so that they don’t fire when travelling over rough ground or when braking hard).

In addition, bikes have the disadvantages that the driver is only centimeters away from any impact and tends to be ejected from the machine, often sideways, during a crash. Airbags might save life if they can be interposed between rider and stationary object, but one of the main causes of injury is abrasion. Airbags will not deal well with high speed tarmac, since it’s difficult to coat them in a thick layer of handstitched goatskin.


Today’s invention attempts to deal with some of these problems. The Hoberman sphere is a brilliant invention with multiple applications. It’s basically a large collection of scissors, joined together so that when they are closed they transform from a small clump to an almost spherical buckminster-like geometry.

I’d suggest that motorcycles could be fitted with several of these, each of which would be made of spring steel and compressed into a small ‘bubble’ enclosure. On impact, with either the road surface or a telegraph pole, the enclosure would shatter, releasing what would almost instantly become a spherical spring, capable of absorbing an enormous amount of energy: a mobile crash barrier.

These devices might even be used on the flanks of a machine in order to stop the bike falling on its side -thus avoiding the usual leg injuries and keeping the rider in the driving seat.

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