Tech Alert: Series 4 Apple Watch Can Save Your Life in a Motorcycle Crash

Are you a fan of Apple Products if you are you, should know that the Series 4 Apple Watch could just save your life in a motorcycle crash with its fall detection feature. Some of us in the AMERiders family have the Apple Watch in various Series, and we love them and are glad for this feature since we ride.

Just because some of us may be young and fit and not prone to falling down, doesn’t mean we shouldn’t enable the fall detection feature. Rethinking this choice could actually save your life as a motorcycle rider. I and my husband both have an Apple Watch and even though we ride on the bike at the same time we both wear our watches we haven’t used it for this particular feature but used it for other medical issues that deal with falling.

Consider this, we do not plan to crash when any of us throws a leg over our motorcycle. We do not say to ourselves, “this is the day I’m going to go hit another vehicle!” Not at all, every last one of us figures we’re going to get to our destination and get on with our day. We do know that plans go awry sometimes. That’s why many of us wear all our protective motorcycle gear on every ride.

The smart devices we wear or have on our persons, these days often have accelerometers in them, they can tell when we’ve had an “unplanned get-off,” if you will. The way our bodies move (and “stop moving”) in a fall is apparently unique to anything else we do. These watches have been programmed to detect that movement and go into an alert mode. The phone will ask you if you’ve had a fall, and if so, if you’d like it to alert the authorities. You can decline the assistance, tell the watch it’s mistaken and that you didn’t have a fall, or say “yes, OK, call an ambulance for me.” If the watch detects a severe impact and you do not reply to its prompts, it will assume you are unconscious and call for medical help.

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That is exactly what happened when Bob Burdett took a hard fall at the bottom of a hill, going over 20mph on his mountain bike. He was wearing a helmet, and it’s lucky that he was, because he hit his head so hard that he said it could’ve killed him if he hadn’t been wearing it. The hit knocked him completely unconscious, according to the Seattle Times.

When he woke up, he was in an ambulance on his way to Providence Sacred Heart Medical Center. Prior to his ride, he’d thankfully turned on the Apple Watch fall detection feature in his watch. It alerted emergency services and sent them his coordinates while he was incapacitated. 

As a result, EMTs were able to find him and administer the necessary emergency medical care and get him to safety. For those unfamiliar, the fall detection service displays alerts and vibrates to get your attention so that you don’t accidentally call 911 after you, say, slam your car trunk harder than you meant to do. If you don’t respond within 30 seconds, it then assumes you’re incapacitated and dials emergency services.

It’s one thing to read about a feature like this in a user manual, and think that it sounds like a great idea. However, it’s completely another to see it out in the wild and potentially changing lives for the better. Burdett might have been out on his mountain bike, but he could just as easily have been doing some off-road motorbike investigation of local trails, out on his own. Plenty of solo riders do exactly that.  

A get-off where you can walk your bike out of the mud, hop on, and go on your way is fine—but a serious head wound or other bad fall injury isn’t something any of us want to try to handle on our own. Reading a story like this makes it all the more clear how tech like this can have a positive impact on real riding experiences. This could potentially be one more added piece of gearing up for the slide, not the ride. 

I personally own a few Apple products and am happy to see that this feature actually does work we haven’t used it yet riding but do plan on it. Props to Apple for coming up with this life saving feature, though—it’s a pretty important one that could have many applications, even apart from those on two wheels. Seeing more devices from competitors with a feature like this would certainly not be a bad thing, either.

Just a note though: the alert in these watches is based on impact. If you are into things like martial arts, you may want to take the watch off for those activities so it’s not calling the ambulance to your dojo every week. Otherwise, all the riders out there with Apple watches might want to turn this particular function on, at least for the duration of your riding season, and especially if you ride alone. It could get help to you quickly in the event of a crash.

Android watches have several accelerometer-based fall detection apps available as well, in case you’re an Android fan. I hope this has been an informative article for you.

~And as always…

~Live Free Ride Hard~

~AMERiders

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