Crashing with ABS – Survey Time!

abs-slider1smallPlease note the survey is finished – link to report – Effects of Advanced (Anti-lock) Braking Systems (ABS) On Motorcycle Crashes – A Survey of 61 motorcyclists who crashed between 2010 and 2015

ABS – Anti Lock Brakes – Advanced Braking Systems – whatever you wish to label them, are certainly marked out in the realms of ongoing motorcycling technical innovations as something that improves rider safety.

Any challenges about the ability of ABS not to stop in corners, on loose road surfaces while keeping the rider upright, has faded away as practical and “paper” research debunks any dissent, putting forward evidence that ABS saves riders lives.

As ABS moves technically forward, linked to more advanced electronics and other handling systems, some riders are still “fighting” about the technical cost aspects to riders, but the fact remains that ABS is here to stay.

At this present time any new type approved motorcycle that is over 125cc, to be sold in Europe, must have an ABS system fitted. This decision was taken by the European Union institutions, and eventually voted on and passed in 2012 for introduction this year (2016).

This introduction of the fitting of ABS on motorcycles is a foregone conclusion as the European Commission and Parliament in 2011 argued that ABS would reduce casualties by 20% over the next 10 years.

As yet mandatory ABS (in Europe) applies to those motorcycles or scooters over 125cc however the Commission has considered expanding their application to smaller PTWs (Powered Two Wheelers). At this point in time they have yet to make that decision.

While ABS is considered a panacea of technical ability to reduce motorcycle collisions and injuries and make a difference in ALL braking situations, rather than stop the motorcycle safely in specific scenarios, research to determine what happens when riders crash with ABS on their bikes is still very limited.

In other words, these braking systems on motorcycles are known to stop the brakes on a bike from locking.

But the information to tell us what the dynamics are in a crash scenario, remain hazy and limited.

For this reason, researchers in Europe (Italy, Greece, Austria and the UK) are looking to find answers by surveying motorcyclists who have experienced a crash with ABS between 2010 and 2015. The design of the survey – Dynamics of PTW crashes using ABS – has had the support and input of James Ouellet, a motorcycle accident analyst from Los Angeles.

This study aims to identify the dynamics of crashes between Powered Two Wheelers (PTWs: motorcycles or scooters) that have Advanced/Antilock Braking Systems (ABS) – and another vehicle, object or road/side.

To understand the specifics of the impact of the motorcycle with ABS and how this affects the rider in terms the trajectory of the rider post-impact and the type of possible injuries sustained by the rider. It doesn’t matter if there was only slight damage to the bike – any information from wherever you are that can help to understand what happens is very important.

The survey will be expanded into multiple languages, but for the time being the survey will be circulated in English only. The objective is to find out from riders, their experiences which will eventually be used to provide information to improve training and the technical development of future ABS.

All information is confidential and no personal identifying questions regarding the rider or the motorcycle/scooter will be asked.

If you require further details regarding the study, please contact Dr Elaine Hardy, the author of this survey – email

Survey at – Dynamics of PTW crashes using ABS

See Also –

Previous research by Dr Elaine Hardy –

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  1. Stephen Frew says

    I am generally a supporter of ABS. I know many riders who simply never learned or developed the proper skill of braking on a motorcycle. That said, I have taken my 2012 Ducati Multistrada 1200 to Europe in 2013 & 2015 for 22,000 kms & 28,000 kms respectively. In each of those trips I had one instance – both in France as I recall – where I entered an intersection across cobblestones and despite a firm pressure on the front brake, I simply continued forward into the intersection unable to give way to a car already in that intersection. Only through the good grace of the car drivers did I not get hit on each occasion.

    Presumably the wheel rotation sensors detected an irregularity in the wheel rotation against that of the rear wheel, thereby activating the ABS.

    It was a frightening situation both times. As I understand it though, the later models have a far faster sampling time than my 2012 model bike, which presumably overcomes this issue. Regardless, it highlighted that the technology is not perfect.

    I also know a few people who have crashed on non-ABS bikes due to their trained reliance on the ABS technology. Much new technology seems to be introduced as a substitute for skill training. That is never a good thing. Skills should be the first addressed issue. Once they are in place then technology might make a situation safer.

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