Back protectors – are you 60% safer? | FEATURE
Back protectors, do you wear one or not? If the answer is no, then remember that you are three times more likely to suffer a serious injury in an accident without one.
As you can see by video above an airbag vest can make a huge difference if you’re involved in a frenzied baseball bat attack (or accident).
A STEP in the right direction
According to the STEP project – Study Effectiveness Back Protector, which was held in Italy. Between 2011 to 2013 just over 63% of severe injuries can be attributed to the lack of using a back protector and yet only about 30% of motorcyclists wear one.
The study looked at over 3000 accidents involving motorcyclists and scooterists and focused on anyone who did not wear some form of back protection. The results showed clearly that if every two-wheel rider wore some form of back protection then serious injury could be reduced by as much as 60%.
Back protectors, when fitted correctly, according to the ‘Think!’ government bike safety campaign “Absorb energy from an impact, which helps to prevent damage to the spine and ribs as well as to internal organs such as the kidneys, liver and spleen, which can all be harmed by a heavy external blow”.
However in Italy they are proposing to do something positive about the lack of back protector uptake. Confindustria Ancma (the Confederation of powered two-wheelers) have unveiled an incentive plan, which is being supported by the Vice President of the Transport Commission, Mrs Vincenzo Garofalo. The proposal is to amend the Budget Law and introduce a tax relief system, which could be up to 50%, for motorcyclists and scooter riders who either buy a back protector or motorcycle airbags.
A press conference was held on 14th October in Milan, which was attended by not only Garofalo but also Luigi Casero, Deputy Minister of the Economy and Finance. The costs, which were outlined came in around 2.5 million Euros from issuing the tax relief – offering a saving on social costs of 21 million euros per year. The full social costs from serious injuries from motorcycle accidents which include health care costs, lost productivity and moral damages are estimated, in Italy, to be around 3.5 billion Euros a year.
In essence it makes not only physical safety sense but also economic sense for this sort of tax relief to be implemented but there is still a way to go before it will become law, however it is interesting that it is even being considered and a good sign of things to come. Maybe one day a similar approach will be looked at in this country.