Are touchscreens really improving motorcycle safety?

You may have seen people interacting with their onboard vehicle computer screens while riding your motorcycle on the roads of Alabama, and questioned whether the activity was legal. In fact, federal and state laws address distracted driving behaviors in an attempt to reduce the number of motor vehicle accidents each year. However, you may not be aware of a new development: infotainment systems for motorcycles.

Riders have a higher risk of being in a fatal crash than motorists, but according to Bloomberg News, manufacturers believe that the infotainment systems will lower current motorcycle accident rates. Proponents of the technology claim that motorcycle riders have always been susceptible to the same distractions a car driver may have, such as music systems, maps and more recently, smartphones. They insist that integrated infotainment systems take the place of these and provide you with a better alternative by offering computer controls on handlebars, or making them voice activated.

In addition to replacing older methods of navigation and entertainment, motorcycle computer systems gather data and provide it to you in real time so you can avoid road hazards or bad weather. The condition of the motorcycle itself is also evaluated, and issues such as a low fuel gauge or an engine problem do not lead to a potentially dangerous situation.

Critics of the systems do not buy into the idea that the benefits outweigh the risks, though, and they point out that there are not currently studies indicating a link between the systems and greater safety. This information is not attended to address legal aspects of these infotainment systems, and it should not be interpreted as legal advice.

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