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Major motorcycle makers to put their heads together on safety

We dedicate a lot of attention to motorcyclists on our blog. Over the course of this past summer we've focused a good number of our posts on the efforts that some in the industry have been making to try to reduce the risks of serious or fatal injuries that riders and passengers face, very often from negligent drivers.

Innovation in helmets captured the spotlight in one post, though experts acknowledge that the holy grail of one helmet that provides protection for all in any kind of accident is still out of reach. Other safety tech that caught our eye included anti-lock braking systems, which tend to be optional rather than standard; air bag technology now being incorporated into body suits and jackets at hefty expense; and brake lights that engage after sensing when a motorcycle slows without the brakes being applied.

But this week, word comes that a broader effort is underway. BMW, Yamaha and Honda, three major motorcycle makers, say they have created a cooperating consortium to jointly advance the cause of smart safety technology for the vehicles they make.

They say the consortium will provide an environment in which the companies can share information and integrate safety devices and features across brands and from product to product.

The companies say they already cooperate in this way to try to develop such technologies in cars and trucks. But they say those systems can't just be transplanted. They need to be downsized and made water, dust and vibration resistant. And, they note, onboard software has to be developed to take the unique driving characteristics of motorcycles into account.

Exactly what all this could lead to is not clear, but the consortium members say they hope to have something to crow about as soon as 2020.

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