Out-of-control inflation is a bad thing economically. Frankly, out-of-control inflation isn’t all that great in some other contexts, either. Consider the number of automotive air bags that are now under recall because of the risk that they may be faulty and do more harm than good on deployment. But when it comes to motorcycle safety, there are some who are suggesting that inflation has never been so good.

Connecticut readers of this blog know well that we are sensitive to the fact that riders of motorcycles face inherently higher risks of injury in accidents. In a number of recent posts we have talked about efforts being made to enhance safety.

Engineers are trying to develop better helmets and some manufacturers are banding together to try to adapt the many “smart” features already in widespread use in cars and trucks to the realm of two-wheeled vehicles. In this post, we thought we’d look at what’s happening in the area of air bag technology.

Most will likely appreciate that it took some 20 years for air bags to go from the drawing board into production models in cars. And it seems that the progression in motorcycle air bag technology is moving at least that slow, if not slower. But things do seem to be changing.

Honda has offered a tank-mounted air bag system on the Goldwing model since 2006. But it remains the only on-board technology in mass production today. Other alternatives do exist and they seem to be becoming more widely available.

There are vests that can be worn over any bike jacket. The rider simply clips a cord to the bike. In the event of an accident, the cord gets ripped and the vest inflates to protect the upper body. It’s reusable and transferrable.

Up the price ladder are the air bag jackets and whole-body suits. Reviewers say these inflate faster than the vests. But you pay for the privilege.

Overall, there seems to be growing consensus that the use of air bags on motorcycles is a good idea. Whether that will translate into faster adoption of the technology remains to be seen. In the meantime, practicing defensive driving techniques may be the best way to avoid accidents caused by others’ negligence.