Responsibility beyond the vehicle: The BMW Motorrad principle Safety 360


“Safety 360°” – an integrated approach to motorcycling safety. Motorcycling and safety – these two words are inseparably linked as far as BMW Motorrad is concerned. For decades now, BMW Motorrad has established a pioneering role for itself when it comes to issues of safety in connection with motorcycling. Thanks to its powerful innovative strength,…

“Safety 360°” – an integrated approach to motorcycling safety.

BMW Motorcycles Safety

Motorcycling and safety – these two words are inseparably linked as far as BMW Motorrad is concerned. For decades now, BMW Motorrad has established a pioneering role for itself when it comes to issues of safety in connection with motorcycling. Thanks to its powerful innovative strength, which continues unabated to this day, an integrated approach to safety has been developed which is firmly anchored within corporate strategy and covers all areas of motorcycling. The “Safety 360°” principle adopts a universal perspective, breaking down the topic into three facets:

  • Safety technology in the vehicle itself
  • Safety derived from rider equipment
  • Safety derived from rider training.

BMW Motorrad ABS available as standard in all models from now on.

Increasing importance is attached to the issue of safety in public and political debate. As a leading motorcycle manufacturer, BMW Motorrad has always been aware of its social responsibility in this connection. In 1988 the company presented the world’s first serial production motorcycles with the antilock brake system ABS – the most effective technical safety bonus to this day.

The next logical step follows now: from model year 2013, BMW Motorrad will be offering ABS as a standard feature in all models. The company is being proactive here, significantly pre-empting the requirement for ABS likely to be introduced in 2016 for all newly registered motorcycles in Europe. The first new models in which this measure is to be applied are the 2-cylinder models BMW F 700 GS and BMW F 800 GS.

“Safety 360°” principle, facet 1: Safety based on innovative vehicle technology.

Research into safety aspects extends far back into the almost 90-year history of BMW Motorrad, starting in the area of suspension technology. It was as long ago as 1937 that BMW Motorrad introduced the telescopic fork as an outstanding technical innovation. Further milestones followed in the 1980s and 1990s with the rear suspension system BMW Motorrad Paralever and the front suspension system BMW Motorrad Telelever. And in 2004, BMW introduced a type of front wheel suspension which enabled a previously unheard of degree of sensitivity in suspension and damping response while ensuring maximum ride stability: the BMW Motorrad Duolever.

With the Electronic Suspension Adjustment ESA, likewise introduced in 2004, electronic systems became a part of serial production motorcycle chassis design for the first time. The latter allowed adjustment of suspension and damping at the press of a button. It was followed in 2010 by the Enduro ESA in the R 1200 GS and Adventure. ESA II is the latest refinement of this system, also allowing adjustment of the spring rate.

A further milestone was presented by BMW Motorrad in 2009: Dynamic Traction Control DTC, an extension of BMW Motorrad Automatic Stability Control ASC (from 2006). For the first time in serial production motorcycle construction, the DTC system used the banking angle of the vehicle as an additional parameter.

Seeing and being seen are crucial for safe motorcycling. In the field of electrical engineering/electronics, innovative lighting systems are continuously being developed, most recently for example the world’s first Adaptive Headlight in motorcycle manufacture (K 1600 GT, K 1600 GTL, from 2011) or the first highly effective daytime running light (C 600 Sport, C 650 GT, from 2012).

Comfort and freedom from distraction are likewise essential so as to eliminate fatigue for safe motorcycling. For this reason, the aspects of ergonomics and usability are incorporated in all BMW Motorrad development work at an early stage. Specifications include a cleverly devised, relaxed seating position as well as maximum functionality and simplicity of vehicle control.

In order to minimise vehicle damage if the worst comes to the worst, BMW Motorrad also offers an extensive program of protective special accessories (e.g. crash bars and folding brake/clutch levers).

BMW Motorrad intends to further improve motorcycling safety in future. For example, refinement of the electronic suspension adjustment system ESA II is planned so as to create a semi active suspension technology (Dynamic Damping Control DDC) and the use of intelligent rider assistance systems (under the generic concept “Project ConnectedRide”).

“Safety 360°” principle, facet 2: Innovative rider equipment as a safety bonus.

The use of rider equipment to ensure maximum comfort for the rider and minimise the potential consequences of accidents is also a factor which has enjoyed high-priority status with BMW Motorrad for decades. BMW Motorrad developed the first helmet based on modern safety considerations as long ago as 1976. In 1978 BMW Motorrad was the first motorcycle manufacturer to present an entire rider equipment collection. In addition to the NP protectors for motorcycle suits subsequently developed by BMW Motorrad and the safety-optimised boots and gloves, the Neck Brace System introduced in 2007 is another innovation contributing to rider safety.

“Safety 360°” principle, facet 3: Individually tailored rider training courses to meet all needs.

The third facet of the “Safety 360°” principle is concerned with initial and further training of motorcyclists – after all, riders with a higher skill level ride more safely. BMW Motorrad therefore offers rider training courses in the areas off-road, safety and race track under the guidance of certified instructors. The programs allow both for skill level – from beginners through to highly experienced motorcyclists – and all types of motorcycling, whether off-road enduro riding, motorcycling on public roads or performance-oriented riding on the race track.

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