US firm launches airbag-equipped vests and jackets

September 3, 2011

A United States firm has launched a line of horse-riding vests and jackets with built-in airbag technology.


A inflated SaferRider vest.
SaferRider.com says the vests are lightweight and look like standard riding safety apparel, but contain a built-in airbag system.

It says they provide flexibility and manoeuvering capabilities that don't interfere with riding.

SaferRider.com is a division of SaferMoto.com, a firm that distributes airbag-equipped safety apparel for motorcyclists.

"The addition of an airbag safety vest can greatly improve chances of minimising injuries in a fall," says chief executive Alan Cunningham.

"The most important aspect, in my opinion, is the neck stabilisation provided by the airbag system, minimising any violent neck movement," he says.

Using a key system that connects to the saddle, the vests are designed to deploy milliseconds after the rider loses contact with the horse.

Upon falling, airbags within the vest will activate before the rider hits the ground.

The vest is designed to create a protective bubble around vital organs and, Cunningham says, increase the chances of walking away from a potentially devastating fall.

They can be reset and re-used within minutes of being deployed, he says.

A 2010 survey conducted by Saddle Up Safely, a rider safety awareness coalition of 40 organisations, 78,000 people were seen in 2007 in US emergency rooms due to horse-related injuries.

Of that number, 9000 were admitted to hospitals for further treatment.