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IIHS: ABS On Motorcycles Reduces Fatalities

Posted in Motorcycle, Newsworthy, Safety by Kurt Ernst | April 6th, 2010 | 8 Responses |

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) just published a study showing that bikes equipped with ABS are 37% less likely to be involved in fatal crashes, and have 22% fewer claims for damage than non-ABS equipped motorcycles. Why? Because new or returning riders generally aren’t proficient at accident avoidance, and ABS helps to compensate for this. The most common new rider mistake in a panic stop is locking the rear brakes while avoiding the front brakes altogether. This is a bad move for several reasons: first, under braking or deceleration, a motorcycle shifts weight from the rear wheel to the front, reducing the traction available at the rear tire. Second, when the rear tire starts to slide, retaining directional control for novice riders is nearly impossible. By preventing wheel lockup, motorcycle ABS generally allows riders to retain control, especially in sudden, panic-inducing situations.

ABS on bikes isn’t infallible, and stomping the binders while at an extreme lean angle in a corner will still result in a low side crash. I’ve had two ABS equipped bikes, and I’ve got to say that I’m personally not a fan. ABS makes the braking systems harder to maintain and bleed, and gets costly when parts do fail. It’s not a substitute for proper rider training, as it won’t save your bacon in every case. If it were up to me, I’d suggest you spend the money saved on ABS brakes on a few track days; you’ll learn riding skills that will help in every situation, not just a few.

Source: IIHS

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8 Responses

  1. DaveMofo says:

    I concur. Completely. While low side and, god forbid…high side crashes can occur from improper use of the binders, taking away an option for ALL riders because some go out lacking proper skills is stupid. We don’t need nanny cars and we def. don’t need nanny motorcycles. They’re suppose to be a little dangerous!

  2. Kurt says:

    I think we’re getting ever closer to a nanny state. The IIHS has already published a study that effectively says “training doesn’t reduce fatalities”, so expect them to push for horsepower caps and mandatory ABS. We have to be protected from ourselves, after all.

    Want to save lives on motorcycles? Introduce stepped licensing, mandate helmet use and mandate advanced rider training. Discourage drinking and riding events, popular with the cruiser crowd. Educate drivers to watch for motorcycles, and introduce a fifty state ban on handheld cell phone use while driving.

    The IIHS won’t push for any of this, because it’s not in their best interest to promote motorcycle safety. Instead, they’ll push tactics to reduce the cost to insurance companies, whether or not they’re best for the motorcycle riding public.

  3. a says:

    i’d totally go for a motorcycle with training wheels on the side

  4. Kurt says:

    a, they’re called “trikes”.

  5. DaveMofo says:

    Even trikes are unsafe in untrained hands. Scary to turn at speed.

    I’d gladly go through more licensing procedures, taking training courses yearly keeps my head in the game. The cruiser crowd will blow their lid at a horsepower limit, helmet law, etc…Pardon the pun.

  6. JW says:

    Sorry I have to disagree with you guys. ABS has saved my hide a couple of times. Well worth it to me. I do agree though that I hate the nanny state. NO ONE hates it more than me, I mean no one! But people’s skills are terrible so that is the only way they can force people to be safer, in turn save money for everyone. I don’t want the government to tell me to wear a helmet (I do it on my own accord though every time). But again, people won’t be responsible and carry insurance when they split their idiot skull open, then who pays for it. Us responsible people, through higher hospital bills charged to insurance. Then we pay higher insurance bills. I better stop now before my blood pressure raises even more. In the end it’s because of idiot unresponsible people causing the nanny state.

  7. DaveMofo says:

    I agree, JW. It’s the other side of the coin to nanny state. If retards didn’t need looking after, the gov. wouldn’t be so keen to save taxpayers from themselves.

  8. Kurt says:

    JW, absolutely agreed on irresponsible riders. Many states have set noise caps on exhausts thanks to the “loud pipes save lives” crowd; soon, it will probably be illegal to even run an aftermarket exhaust. The “stunter” crowd has drawn too much attention to sportbikes; I can guarantee the IIHS will push for a 100 horsepower limit in the near future (they’ve already published a study that shows higher horsepower bikes have more fatal accidents).

    If we as riders can’t police ourselves, the nanny state will be more than happy to do it for us.