Highway to the crumple zone.

Sometimes, the simplest, most straightforward solutions can make the biggest difference. Will that be the case for a new safety device BMW recently patented with the World Intellectual Property Organization, or WIPO. Simply titled “collision protection device on a motorized bicycle,” the unit offers yet another potential way to protect motorcyclists in the event of a head-on collision. 

When you park your bike and put the side stand down, many of us also tilt the handlebars over for greater stability on our parked bikes. When we mount up, one of the first things we do is straighten the bars before we ride off to our next destination. BMW’s simple device also straightens out that front wheel when we, as riders, may not be able to—and in so doing, gives riders a much-needed crumple zone to mitigate the force of that front-end impact on our soft, squishy human bodies. 

Gallery: BMW Motorrad Crumple Zone Patent

As the patent drawings show, it’s a metal V-shaped piece that mounts to the frame. Under normal riding circumstances, your front wheel has no contact with it, and you may not even know it’s there. However, if the front end of your bike gets bashed in through a head-on crash, the wheel is guided into the center of the V, which makes it stay straight instead of turning toward either side. It’s a small change that can make a big difference, because if left to its own devices, your front wheel will naturally want to deflect from the impact, making it more likely that the rider will also crash directly into the object, in addition to the bike.

By giving riders a little extra space, there’s less likelihood of serious injury. Of course, like other safety improvements that motorcycle manufacturers have introduced, there are no guarantees. Still, something this simple seems like riders could potentially gain a pretty large amount of peace of mind for a seemingly negligible cost. There are no complicated electronic systems to figure out and find development money for, and the materials cost is probably pretty negligible, as well. 

Source: Free Patents Online