Tag Archives: ABS

Is ABS the saviour safety experts suggest?

Despite its much-lauded safety benefits, ABS may not be your saviour in a motorcycle crash because many riders don’t have time to even use their brakes before crashing.

That is one of the startling findings of a real-world global report called The Dynamics Of Motorcycle Crashes : A Global Survey of 1578 Motorcyclists.

Written by motorcycle-riding road safety researchers, it collected feedback from 1578 riders in 30 countries, with 126 from Australia, who had all crashed in the past 10 years.

Click here to read more about their findings including that speed is not related to the severity of crashes.Crash speed ‘not linked to rider injury’ saviour

ABS a saviour?

The study found that more than a third of the riders surveyed did not use their brakes, “whether they just did not have time or were unable to because of the circumstances”.

“How this can be addressed is relevant to the fact that in this study a third of the motorcycles were equipped with Advanced Braking Systems while 12% had traction control,” the study found.

The study questions the value of such technology in a crash scenario, considering that the perception/reaction time of the rider/driver is between 0.75 and 1.5 seconds.

“The assumption that technology will save the day may miss the obvious fact that what matters in an emergency situation, is the rider him/herself and his/her ability to control the technology.”

The study does not dispute that ABS could be a saviour when used, only that brakes are not used in many situations.

“ABS can and does make a difference,” says one of the authors, UK Motorcycle Research Analyst Elaine Hardy. 

However, it seems training on the correct use of brakes, particularly with ABS, may be a contributing factor.

Interestingly, it found 37% of riders who crashed with ABS on their bikes went over the handlebars, probably because ABS stops the wheels locking and causing a low-side.

This research expands on a pilot 2016/17 study based on a survey of motorcyclists whose motorcycles were fitted with ABS.

Again, this research involved analysis of feedback from riders involved in crashes, rather than academia simply sifting through statistics.

abs mandatory regulationsABS being demonstrated

ABS criticism

Critics of ABS claim it gives riders a false sense of security that the technology will be their saviour in a crash.

Others say they can brake over shorter distances without ABS, especially slippery surfaces such as gravel and wet roads.

Many modern motorcycles with ABS have a feature to disable ABS.

In 2016, university safety researcher Ross Blackman criticised a VicRoads brochure that stated: “A motorcycle with ABS enhances your riding skills and techniques by preventing the wheels from locking, skidding and sliding under.”

However, no technology makes you a better rider. It only helps compensate for poor skills or in emergencies.

Even then it has no effect if you don’t use your brakes or know how to use it properly.

ABS mandatory

From November 2019, all new motorcycle models sold in Australia over 125cc must have ABS, while bikes with lower engine capacities must have either combined brakes systems (CBS) or ABS.

All previous generation motorcycles sold in Australia must have ABS by 2021. Enduro and trials bikes are exempt.

The Federal Government declared that ABS can reduce motorcycle-related road trauma by more than 30%.

However, that referred to very early estimates of ABS effectiveness in cars more than 10 years ago.

In 2009, an American National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) found that ABS in cars significantly reduced injury crashes but had “close to zero overall effect on fatal crashes”.

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com

Automatic brakes in cars; motorbikes next?

Automatic brakes that sense an imminent crash and activate an emergency stop have been endorsed in all new cars from 2020. Are motorcycles next?

The United Nations Economic Commission for Europe says 40 countries have agreed to require new cars and light commercial vehicles be equipped with automatic brakes.

Those countries include Australia, Japan and the European Union, but not the US, India or China.

The decision is based on a joint study by Euro NCAP and Australasian NCAP which concluded that automatic brakes would lead to a 38% reduction in real-world rear-end crashes at low speeds.

Automatic brakes concern riders

Riders have two major concerns about this mandate.

The first is that the systems work on sensors which may not sense a small motorcycle.

After all, they haven’t been too successful so far with several incidents where automated cars have crashed into motorcycles.

Surely these sensors should be perfected before they are mandated.

ABS alcohol locks autonomous combined mileage automatic brakes

Another major concern for riders is that these automated braking systems could be coming to motorcycles soon.

Bosch is already developing similar systems with companies such as BMW, Ducati and KTM.

Once developed, it won’t be long before UN authorities decide they should also be mandated.

Such systems have been advocated by internationally awarded Aussie academic Professor Raphael Grzebieta who also supports wire rope barriers, lower speed and hi-vis riders!

If you don’t think it can happen, ABS and linked brakes have already been mandated on bikes sold in Australia thanks to overseas agreements and academics’ whims and research.

ABS regulationsabs mandatory combined braking assist regulations automatic brakes

From November 2019, all new motorcycle models sold in Australia over 125cc must have ABS, while bikes with lower engine capacities must have either ABS or combined brakes systems (CBS).

The new Australian ABS regulations only affect new models made after that date.

All other existing models won’t need to be upgraded to ABS until November 2021.

(The laws only affect new motorcycles made after these dates. It is not retrospective.)

There are exemptions for enduro, trials bikes and trail bikes under 250cc.

If the bike has switchable ABS, the default setting when the bike is turned off and turned back on again will be for ABS to be active. We do not know of a motorcycle that allows ABS to switched off on the fly.

Click here for the full regulations.

CBS is described as any braking system where one control pedal or lever activates some portion of the brakes on front and back wheels.

ABS regs worldwide

ABS alcohol lock road safety safe automatic brakes

While ABS is becoming mandatory around the world, the USA has no such requirement.

Europe: Mandatory ABS for all new models above 125cc from January 2016 and for all existing models above 125cc from January 2017. 50cc can have ABS or CBS.

Japan: ABS on new models above 125cc from October 2018 and all existing models above 125cc from October 2021. 50cc must have ABS or CBS.

India: ABS >125cc on new models from April 2018 and all models >125cc from April 2019. Under 125cc ABS or CBS.

China: New models >250cc from July 2019 and existing from July 2020 must have ABS on front and rear wheels. Under 250 ABS or CBS.

Brazil: ABS for 300cc and above ramping up from 2016-19. Below 300cc ABS or CBS, off-road excluded.

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com

Move to emergency motorcycle brake assist

German automotive technology company Continental AG plans to be the first with a motorcycle emergency brake-assist system that applies extra brake pressure when it senses a crash.

Their system would not be automatic like in some cars that take over braking duties from the driver.

Continental recognises that motorcycles are different to cars and say their system would only assist the rider.

It works by using accurate fifth-generation radar sensors to detect imminent crash dangers.

However, the system would have to be different to cars as motorcycles lane filter close to vehicles which could easily activate emergency braking systems and send riders tumbling into traffic.

When will drivers learn lane filtering is legal? assist
Click here to watch this driver try to hit this legally filtering rider!

Continental motorcycle spokesman Christian Pfeiffer says their system would first alert the rider via “haptic” vibrations in the handlebars.

“Low initial braking pressure then helps the rider with the active braking operation,” he says.

“If the rider does not react to the warning, emergency brake assist automatically builds up braking force if the rider has both hands on the handlebars. The deceleration is much less pronounced than in a passenger car emergency braking system.”

However, Continental may be beaten to the punch by Honda which has filed patents for an emergency braking that automatically stops a motorcycle if it detects an imminent crash.

Mandatory emergency brake assist?

A few years ago ABS was an optional safety system for those who wanted it. From the end of next year it will be mandatory in Australia. (See details at the end of this article)

How long before emergency brake assist also becomes mandatory on motorcycles?

The United Nations #STOPTHECRASH campaign has called for mandatory autonomous emergency braking that activates at slow speeds if an obstacle is sensed in front of the bike.

Of course, the makers of many of these electronic safety devices, Continental, Bosch and Denso, are supporters of the UN program.

A Melbourne university doctor has also called for bikes to be fitted with automatic emergency braking technology.

Continental safety

Emergency brake assist is not the only electronic safety technology Continental is developing.

They are also working on sensors that detect roadside speed signs and display them to the rider, adaptive cruise control, blind spot detection and automatic switching to high beam.

All these systems are based on Continental’s fifth-generation radar that go into production in 2019.

They use improved object detection algorithms that detect even smaller objects such as an exhaust that has fallen off a car.

The heights of objects can also be calculated by an elevation measurement device that detects the tail of a traffic jam under a bridge or road boundaries such as kerbs.

Continental claims their tech is now smaller and lighter.

It consists of a sensor cluster that measures acceleration and yaw rate, a radar system that analyses this data, plus brake and engine control units that activate on demand.

Continental say these can be fitted to motorcycles of all sizes from a single source, including the instrument cluster, that warns the rider of an imminent collision.

Mandatory ABSabs mandatory combined braking assist

From November 2019, all new motorcycle models sold in Australia will either have anti-lock braking systems (ABS) or combined braking systems (CBS).

ABS will be mandatory on motorcycles, trikes and scooters over 125cc, while either ABS or CBS will be mandatory on those under 125cc.  Trail bikes under 250cc and all enduro and trials bikes are exempt.

If the bike has switchable ABS, the default setting when the bike is turned off and turned back on again will be for ABS to be active.

Countries with mandatory ABS on designated motorcycles in all European nations, Japan, India, Brazil and Taiwan.

Even the USA – the land of freedom of choice – is now considering making ABS mandatory.

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com