Improving motorcycle safety with antilock brakes

With all the safety technology that has become mandatory on new vehicles in the last decade, people in Alabama may be wondering what comparable features are included on motorcycles. Because of the vulnerability of motorcyclists, it may be reasonable to expect the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to act with a strong sense of urgency. Unfortunately, this is not the case. In fact, one safety feature that has been available on motorcycles for decades – antilock braking systems – is still not required on new models.

According to a study by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, operating the front and rear brakes requires some degree of rider proficiency to prevent a motorcycle crash. They are employed independently, so if a rider overbrakes with the front wheel, the motorcycle is likely to skid and fall. When the rear wheel locks, it affects the ability to steer, so braking too hard may make avoiding a crash more difficult. As a result, many riders try to compensate with less brake, which often leads to a collision.

The IIHS explains that ABS prevents a motorcycle accident by releasing the pressure that locks the brakes and preventing a skid. As the wheels regain traction, the brake is applied again. This may seem as if it would increase stopping distance, but the opposite is true. Not only that, it is also effective on hazardous surfaces that are debris-covered, rough or slick. Research data indicates that riders who have ABS have a 31 percent lower rate of fatal accidents, and safety experts encourage riders to consider these facts before purchasing their next motorcycle.

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