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Airbag suit a lifesaver in head-on crash

Airbag Lifesaver

A 35-year-old British rider who survived a horrifying head-on collision has credited his airbag-equipped full leather suit as a lifesaver.

This confronting video showing in-car footage, a rear angle and a following car’s video has been released overnight by Yorkshire Police to highlight the value of riders wearing the full gear — or as we call “ATGATT” (All The Gear, All The Time).

The 41-year-old Subaru driver, Florian Pratt, who was travelling at 70mph (112km/h), was banned from driving for three years and jailed for 16 months yesterday (10 January 2020) at Sheffield Crown Court.

Judge David Dixon said: “Anyone in control of a high-powered sports type car needs to be aware of the vehicle’s capability and their own capability.

“You failed to take any account of the bend that led to this incident. The message must go out loud and clear. If you drive any vehicle you must drive with care.”

Airbag lifesaverAirbag Lifesaver

While the Suzuki rider chose to remain anonymous, he has credited the protective gear he was wearing at the time, including a full-leather air bag suit which activated and inflated on impact, as a lifesaver. 

He suffered a broken back, broken sternum and broken wrist in the devastating smash last April near Sheffield.

Apart from the suit, the other lifesaver was the fact that the experienced rider braked so hard, he did a high front-wheel stoppie that would have flung him largely clear of the car.Airbag Lifesaver

Roads policing constable, PC Phil Carson, says that without the airbag suit, “he would most likely have died”.

We often see motorcycle riders wearing shorts and trainers, and they think it’s OK because they have a helmet on – it’s not,” he says.

“You might be travelling in a safe manner, but that doesn’t mean everyone else is.

“Please make sure that you’re wearing the right kit, it might be expensive but without it, your life could be at risk.”

A host of airbag leather race suits is now available, airbags are mandatory in most motorcycle racing and some companies such as Dainese, Alpinestars and Furygan, are now releasing aftermarket airbag vests that go over or under a normal jacket.

And Brooklyn start-up Airbag for Bike even has a patent pending for a motorcycle seat that ejects a rider in a crash and then cocoons them in a full-length airbag suit to protect them from injury.


  1. “Florian Pratt” ……….. that sounds about right.
    I say he had enough time to get back onto the right side of the road, on the phone …?

  2. Every riders nightmare!
    A victim of target fixation.
    I had the reverse situation not that long ago with new, very fast bike – overcooked it on a very tight left hander. Luckily my advanced rider training kicked in & I went around a car (on it’s kerbside) coming tight into the corner in the opposite direction – all split second stuff. There is no substitute for it & the reason why I’m here telling this tale.
    Maybe the airbag suit wouldn’t have been needed for the rider in the video…?
    Undoubtedly they’re the way to go though.
    BTW – apologies to the driver in my scenario who must have had the bejesus scared out of them!

  3. Horrific for the rider, a huge physical & emotional mending process in front of him.
    His aggressive braking, combined with the Airbag suit & luck did indeed prevent a funeral.
    The Airbag units are obviously worth utilising, however in Australian summers there would be serious challenges with excessive heat build up & the requirement of three jackets in my case for a range of elements over the year.
    I wish the rider well with an excellent recovery.

  4. Not nice.
    Credit to the airbag suit is possibly not due.
    The poor guy came down mostly on his head and shoulders with no apparent sign of any contact with the airbag unless it was the bulky bit at the back of his neck that looked like the aero peak they stitch into jackets to cut down drag at the back of the helmet.
    His chin went into his chest which broke his sternum and his shoulders hitting the deck is what possibly broke his spine.
    I don’t know where the airbag is in his gear but if it is in the chest and back area it is probably lucky it wasn’t needed as a chest hit from the car at that speed would kill airbag or not and he didn’t land flat enough to protect his back.
    I’ve personally seen riders in shorts and T-shirt and flip flops survive similar crashes with hardly any thing but road rash. Leathers and airbags are low speed protection the only high speed protection is luck.

  5. Pratt understates it, maybe that should be another court remedy, change his name to Florian ****wit.

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