Bike airbag or lifejacket? Don’t get caught out by misleading web listings for cheap safety gear

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Motorbike airbag vests have been moving into the mainstream in recent years thanks to a wider range of manufacturers launching their own versions at more accessible prices. But not all of the items you see for sale online are what they seem.

If you stick ‘motorbike airbag’ into Google, several of the top shopping results from online sellers offer similar looking systems for incredibly low prices. Although they are available under several different brand names, the images used are similar, if not identical and often feature an item branded ‘Huanqiu’.

Online seller Wish offered the vest for £81.76, which is certainly eye-catching compared to the £569.99 Alpinestars Tech Air 5 system next to it. The item from Wish used a lanyard trigger system rather than an electronic brain, but comparable systems from mainstream manufacturers still cost up to £650.

Huanqiu branded airbag listing

The listing on Wish stated that the vest had EU CE certification and with a little more digging and research, we managed to find a declaration of conformity certificate indicating that the product meets the testing standard for EN ISO 12402-4.2006. So far, so good right?

Well, the problem is that EN ISO 12402-4.2006 is a testing standard that applies to personal floatation devices (PFDs) – or lifejackets to you and me.

This is a problem as the compliance tests for this standard focus around in-water performance, strength, inflation and overpressure tests rather than impact protection.

But the story doesn’t end there as CE Marking Association Managing Director Tim Harrison explains: “Straight away, and without investigating the product, there are two things that jump out at me from the Declaration; firstly, the legislation is out of date. 89/686/EEC was repealed on April 21, 2018 and replaced with (EU) 2016/425.

Legitimate airbag products have their own CE markings like this:

Alpinestars correct CE marking

“Secondly, the Declaration has been generated by the testing organisation whereas legally it should be generated by either the Manufacturer or their Authorised Representative.”

The good news is that MCN contacted Wish to explain the situation and they immediately removed the listing. They told us: “All of the merchants on our platform are required to adhere to local laws and safety standards wherever their goods are sold.

“In the rare instance where a product falls foul of those standards, is it promptly removed and, where appropriate, the merchant in question faces a potential fine or suspension from the platform.”

This is great news but similar listings have already taken its place, and there are other selling sites supplying them, so you could still get caught out.

Remember, if the price seems too good to be true, it probably is.