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Motorcycle touchscreens: Safety device or biker distraction

While Maryland residents may enjoy driving vehicles that are equipped with navigational devices, voice-activated technology and systems that interact with their Bluetooth devices, motorcyclists have been unable to use these types of systems while riding their bikes. Motorcycles have been somewhat behind the times when it comes to having advanced safety technology and luxury stereo systems. This is about to change, however, as several motorcycle manufacturers have designed bikes that are outfitted with these state-of-the-art mechanisms.

According to Bloomberg Pursuits, one such system may help people avoid becoming involved in a catastrophic motorcycle accident. The technology allows motorcyclists to improve their riding technique by mapping out certain mechanical data, such as braking, lean angles and acceleration. In addition to this information, the technology tells bikers when they have an impending flat tire, provides safety alerts in bad weather conditions and notifies them when they are approaching heavy traffic.

Some people are opposed to the idea of merging touchscreen technology with motorcycles, arguing that these devices will distract bikers’ from focusing on the road. This visual, manual and cognitive distraction could actually cause an increase in serious motorcycle accidents and put peoples’ lives in danger. Manufacturers of the devices reassure opponents that motorcycle touchscreens will ultimately improve motorcycle safety by allowing bikers to use better technology rather than rigging up their own stereo systems, or attempting to navigate to their destination by using their cellphones while riding.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration brings to light the fact that motorcyclists have an increased risk of being injured or killed in a traffic accident. In 2014, 4,694 people were killed in motorcycle accidents across the country, accounting for 10.5 percent of all traffic accident fatalities. 

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