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Cypriot riders say no to compulsory airbag for professional motorcyclists

The Cypriot minister for transport wants all professional motorcyclists to wear compulsory protective clothing and an airbag jacket.

The Cyprus Motorcycle Rights Club (CMRC) – a member of FEMA -, in a recent letter to the Cyprus Minister of Transport, Communications and Works and to all other competent bodies, presented their objections to this new proposed law implementing compulsory airbag use for professional motorcyclists.

CMRC is very concerned with the obligatory use of airbags since they are sensor activated or must be connected via a special attachment to any motorcycle. This creates great difficulty for the rider getting on and off and if the rider forgets to disconnect the airbag, it can be activated. Also, drawstring airbags are activated regardless of the speed and the trajectory of the motorcycle. This means that even in the event of a standstill or abrupt movement of the torso (e.g. in turns) there is risk of activation.

The minister is trying to pass the following law:
A person who works, after hiring, employing, or assigning or undertaking work on his own initiative, for any form of remuneration or without remuneration, driving a motor vehicle of categories AM, A1, A2 and A, on any road or other public place, wears on his head, appropriately fastened, an approved type helmet and is worn with:

  1. Outside the upper half of the body of his garment, with a jacket or vest bearing phosphorescent stripes,
  2. Trousers and boots or shoes,
  3. Protective knee pads, gloves and back and hip pads; and
  4. An airbag, special for use in vehicles of categories AM, A1, A2 and A.

It means that all professional motorcyclists must wear motorcycle safety gear and an airbag. According to CMRC there is not a way to identify who is a professional motorcyclist and the police can stop any one for a ‘body search’.

In addition, drawstring airbags are activated ideally only in case the rider falls off. In the event that the rider encounters any obstacle (e.g. puddle) resulting in a momentary lift from the saddle, the airbag would activate and throw the rider to the ground. As for the algorithm airbags which work either with batteries or with a monthly subscription, if the owner forgets to charge the airbag or pay the subscription, the airbag will not be activated in case of emergency.

In general, although standard vest airbags have been used by police motorcyclists for almost a decade, their integration into jackets is a relatively recent technology and is used only in the most demanding motorcycle races (Moto GP). In addition, there is currently no European safety testing standard, resulting in reasonable questions about the safety level they can provide.

Another important detail is that there is no legislation that determines what constitutes a ‘professional’ motorcyclist, creating obvious problems in the implementation of the law. At present, a professional motorcyclist is considered to be a food distributor, a postman, an employee who measures electricity or water usage, an employee who carries documents or spare parts, thus creating a large gap for all who fall into intermediate categories of motorcycle use.

Furthermore, CMRC strongly disagrees with the fact that airbag inspection should be carried out by the police since that would be considered a body search and the legality of such an inspection is reasonably raised. Our view is that the employer must provide basic safety equipment (helmet) to employees and through training from approved driving schools ensure excellent knowledge of the road traffic rules and regulations.

Written by Stella Arkadi, CMRC press officer

Top photograph courtesy of

This article is subject to FEMA’s copyright