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Anti-lock braking systems (ABS) have become an essential technological advancement in cars and motorcycles both, providing riders with increased control and improved braking rates on the road. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, ABS in motorcycles surged from 0.2% in 2002 to 16.1% in 2021.

If you’re considering purchasing a motorcycle, choosing a model with ABS can help you stay safe on the road, whether you’re a new or experienced rider. Furthermore, understanding how anti-lock brakes give you more stability and stopping power in an emergency can help you choose the right motorcycle and prevent an accident.

What are Anti-Lock Brakes on a Motorcycle?

Anti-lock brakes on motorcycles are advanced safety systems designed to prevent wheel lock-up during braking. They work by continuously monitoring the rotational speed of the wheels. If the system detects that a wheel is about to lock up, it modulates the brake pressure to that wheel, allowing it to rotate and maintain traction.

This process occurs multiple times per second, ensuring the rider retains stability and control while avoiding potential accidents caused by wheel skidding or sliding.

How Can Anti-Lock Brakes Help in an Emergency?

Driving a motorcycle with ABS can help you in an emergency, such as stopping suddenly and having more steering control when braking. ABS offers the following benefits when operating a motorcycle, helping you avoid accidents:

Improved Stability

ABS allows riders to maintain motorcycle stability by preventing wheel lock-up while braking. By controlling the wheels from skidding, ABS reduces the risk of losing traction and helps the rider maintain balance.

This is especially crucial in emergencies where sudden braking is required. Research has shown that motorcycles equipped with ABS have a 31% lower risk of fatal crashes than those without ABS.

Shorter Stopping Distance

ABS can reduce the stopping distance for a motorcycle in emergency braking situations. When a rider applies the brakes forcefully, the ABS modulates the braking pressure, allowing maximum braking efficiency.

Tests have consistently proven that motorcycles equipped with ABS have shorter stopping distances than those without ABS, giving riders a higher chance of avoiding collisions and minimizing the impact of accidents.

Steering Control

ABS also plays a critical role in maintaining steering control by preventing the front wheel from locking up. By allowing the rider to steer while braking, ABS improves maneuverability, enabling swift and precise defensive actions to avoid collisions.

This added control is essential in emergency scenarios where split-second decisions can prevent accidents. A 2019 study found that motorcyclists who had an additional 0.5 seconds of hazard warning were eight times more likely to be able to successfully swerve and maneuver their bike out of harm’s way.

Increased Traction

Motorcycles are most vulnerable when slowing down or rapidly changing direction, such as when cornering. Standard ABS detects when tire speeds are different and can reduce the braking intensity on the slower wheel to even out the tire’s grip on the road. Advanced cornering ABS can automatically calculate how much traction each tire can sustain and then redistribute the brake force to each wheel, depending on the riding situation.  

ABS also helps improve traction on slippery road surfaces, such as those affected by rain, gravel, sand, and other hazardous conditions. By preventing wheel lock-up, ABS ensures that the wheels maintain contact with the road, reducing the risk of slipping or sliding.

Improved Collision Avoidance

ABS can also help with collision avoidance by allowing riders to effectively navigate around obstacles and execute evasive maneuvers with increased confidence. Allowing riders to maintain control while applying maximum braking force increases their ability to avoid collisions.

Research conducted by the Highway Loss Data Institute has shown that ABS is associated with a 22% reduction of motorcycle operators involved in fatal crashes annually (per 10,000 registered vehicles).

Panic Braking Mitigation

In emergencies, riders may instinctively apply the brakes abruptly and excessively, which can cause a loss of control. ABS mitigates panic braking by modulating brake pressure and allowing riders to apply maximum braking force without compromising control.

This substantially reduces the risk of accidents caused by over-braking, providing riders with a safety net during critical moments. A 2022 study found that experienced riders were able to improve their stopping distance during emergency braking scenarios by up to 26.8% using the bike’s ABS.

If the worst happens and you’re involved in a motorcycle accident, speak with our Louisiana motorcycle accident lawyers at Dudley DeBosier Injury Lawyers. Our team is dedicated to representing the rights and interests of Louisiana motorcycle riders.

We are the official injury lawyers of the Louisiana Motorcycle Awareness Campaign and will use our experience and legal resources to help you navigate your injury claim after a crash.

Contact our attorneys today for a free consultation to discuss your legal options. Your safety is our priority, and we are committed to providing you with the guidance and support you need.

This content has been reviewed by Chad Lederman, Director of Legal Operations at our New Orleans office.

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