Honda’s reputation for standard-setting engineering and pioneering design is legendary, built upon such revolutionary products ranging from the first Super Cub to the CB750 and GL1500 Gold Wing.

Developing our powersports products with an eye toward both maximum performance and bulletproof reliability is paramount, but there’s a third credo to which Honda is dedicated just as seriously as the first two: delivering the safest ride possible.

The Proof Is On the Product

And this is where that legendary innovation and engineering comes full circle, in not only providing the foundation for industry-leading powersports products but for industry-defining safety features as well.

Exhibit A, the Gold Wing’s Airbag System, arguably the biggest breakthrough in motorcycle safety in decades, if not ever. The first of its kind on a production motorcycle, the Honda Airbag deploys from atop the fuel tank and helps protect the rider from frontal (or head-on) impacts—the most serious type of collision for a motorcyclist.

Another recent safety milestone is the eABS System found on the all-new 2009 CBR1000RR and CBR600RR, the first-ever such braking system on a supersport machine. Essentially a blending of Honda’s Combined Braking (one of the Silver Wing scooter’s key features) and Anti-Lock Braking Systems (found on the Gold Wing, ST1300 and select scooters), eABS—short for Electronically Controlled Combined ABS—delivers the benefits of both systems, electronically optimizing braking pressure while enhancing rider control by applying varying amounts of front braking force whenever the rear brake is engaged.

Innovative safety-minded features such as these can be found throughout the Honda Powersports line-up. From the Silver Wing’s Combined Braking System (CBS), to Big Red’s three-point ELR seatbelts, cross-circuit braking (where the operator will still get front and rear braking even if one brake line fails) and side safety doors, as well as the AquaTrax’s Limit Mode (which controls the top speed setting) and off-throttle steering, we build our products with an eye to keeping you safe while you play.
(For full details on these and other unique Honda feature, go to www.hondanews.com.)

Honing Your Skill Set
There’s more to riding safely and having fun than simply how we engineer our machines. And while starting off with the best-built and safest motorcycles, ATVs, scooters or PWC in the industry obviously already puts you a step or two ahead, the concept of learning to ride safely and responsibly is equally imperative.

Honda has been at the forefront of rider training and safety for decades, committing ourselves to helping riders develop safe and smart riding skills through the establishment of the Honda Rider Training Centers. Each site offers four specifically designed training courses, including the Motorcycle Safety Foundation's Basic RiderCourse, Experienced RiderCourse and DirtBike School, and ATV Safety Institute ATV RiderCourse. With our flagship HREC based in Colton, CA, along with locations throughout the U.S., proper and safe riding technique is just a phone call or email away. (For more information on how to register for a Rider Training Course, go to Rider Education.)

Honda is also affiliated with numerous industry organizations across the country dedicated to teaching motorcycle, ATV and PWC riders of all ages the art of riding safely. And in our desire to start every new Honda motorcycle or scooter owner off on the right foot, we have partnered with the Motorcycle Safety Foundation to offer free MSF training through membership in the Honda Rider’s Club of America (also complimentary for one year with your purchase).

Rider training is a win-win for everyone involved: it’s fun, educational and, in the long run, will help you establish good riding habits from the first time you twist or thumb the throttle.

What You Can Do
It may seem obvious, but we can never say it enough: safety starts with the rider, and only you can decide if you’re going to ride smart or, well, stupid. Riding a motorcycle, scooter, ATV or PWC is an exercise in responsibility, and not just to yourself, but to others, to the environment and to the sport as well.

There are several simple things you can do to ensure a fun, safe ride, like not forgetting to read your owner’s manual and safety materials. Also, get in the habit of inspecting your machine before you ride, and always wear the proper safety gear (helmet, eye protection and protective clothing and footwear). And never ride under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

Again, it really all comes down to exercising responsibility, obeying your local laws, using common sense and respecting the rights of others.

In other words, always making sure you ride safe and smart. Because as we all know, stupid hurts.