Smart cars saving bikers?

It seems an increasingly prominent thought in the Tru-Tension offices that technology is both a friend and an enemy of a motorcyclist.

On one side of the coin, we love technology for helping us to go faster, travel more efficiently, and safely thanks to advances in technology. Event our own Chain Monkey tool is a new development that contributed to riding safer, faster and more efficiently.

On the other side, it’s providing cheaper equipment to the world fighting speed limits and contributing to the ease of regulation and monitoring of all vehicles on the road. Not to mention the implications for manufacturers constantly battling new rules.

However, we rarely talk about how external technological improvements that are helping bikers and cars become friends.

While filtering through traffic recently, I noticed that more cars than usual were taking notice of my approach and moving to the left or right to open a nice and safe bike-sized lane.

Of course, this is common practice in Germany and many other countries. It appears that motorcyces are much more ‘unexpected’ in the UK and when traffic builds up, cars only move over after they have seen the motorcycle, rather than in case they do.

A bug bear of mine that the media generally are quicker to report the hilarity and joys of a motorway or highway football match in the height of a serious traffic jam, rather than address the fact that around 2% of traffic (bikers) are still moving through this crossfire of adults, children, dogs, car doors and sports equipment just waiting to cause a major problem.

Anyway, I began to look at this phenomenon a little more and noticed that the cars moving out of the way tended to be newer models. Of course, upon closer inspection, I noticed orange triangles appearing on the wing mirrors as I approached. This allowed plenty of time for the car to move to the side allowing me to pass without slowing down, changing down and preparing to put a foot down at short notice. If you’ve ever experienced a heavy jam, you’ll know exactly what I mean.


What an excellent little invention these sensors are. Not only will they prevent many accidents and possibly fatalities, they also help contribute to keeping the peace on the road. Granted we’re all jealous of bikers zipping through the car traffic at rush hour, but what usually upsets and angers drivers is how close they get and seemingly ‘demand’ to get by (a blip of the throttle usually works!). This alleviates all of those problems.

Take a look at Mercedes version of the technology here, called Blind-spot assist:

We’re surprised none of the manufacturers have used the blind spot assist/motorcycle combination in an advert or marketing campaign yet, or one we have seen anyway. What’s an extra £300 or $600 on top of a new Merc, with the peace of mind that you won’t be opening a door on a cyclist or merging into another car any time soon?

Mercedes haven’t paid us to write this by the way… we just think it’s cool.

This kind of technology is already proving to be incredibly valuable in driverless cars. Next month we’ll be talking about the implications for driverless cars on motorcycles. Like us on Facebook to make sure you don’t miss out.

What kinds of technology are you looking forward to for mainstream motorcycling? Heads up displays? Electric bikes? We can’t wait to try one.

Read more:

> How to set a motorcycle chain

> Tips for emergency braking on a motorcycle