Tuesday, 17 November 2015

Seeing the Road Both Ways

Riding a motorcycle or a scooter demands attention. When I took a training course, the instructors told us to check our mirrors every five seconds. For me, I found it valuable training for driving a car too; when I'm on the highway I'm always trying to update the pictures of the cars around me: which car is moving too fast in the far lane and could cut across from me, whether the car behind me is too close and likely to plough into me if I have to stop quickly, which car seems likely to make a sudden lane change.

On a bike, these rapid updates become crucial so I was excited to read about a new helmet, one that makes me want to get back on my scooter. It's a solid helmet but one with a new ability.

The Skully Smart Helmet is on pre-order now and at a hefty price: $1,499 U.S. That's a lot more than the few hundred dollars for an approved, good-quality helmet that keep most riders safe. The helmet has been in the works for a while and made it to manufacturing through crowd sourcing.The Skully AR-1 uses cameras built in to the back to get a 180 degree view of the road projected on a display in front of the driver.

"We can't wait to ride with one," said Road and Track when it reviewed the prototype in 2014.

Popular Science called it a "helmet for the digital age." With internet and GPS, the helmet adds to the rider's ability to know what's coming on the road.

If I keep riding, I'll need a new helmet next year. But, although the Skully sounds like a blast, I won't be buying one. If I were a racer, however, or someone who traveled across North America on a bike, I'd definitely consider one. A helmet that could save your life in more ways than one seems like gold.

Other helmet companies are working hard to catch up so smart helmets could become more competitively priced. But the Skully remains ahead of the crowd. I tried to open links to one company that was working on a smart element but their sites no longer exist. Road-tested competitors may be awhile. If you're a seriously rider and a fan of technology and Iron Man I don't see how you can't be tempted now.

Photos from Skully Helmet website

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