GL1800Riders Forums banner

1 - 20 of 20 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
21 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
I just came back from a 3000+ mile solo motorcycle camping trip to Colorado. Driving across South Dakota and Minnesota, as I was being blasted by periods of strong cross winds and rain, my thoughts turned to safety. Do antilock brakes result in fewer crashes?

From what I could learn, the answer appears to be NO! People (note: the study was done on cars) tend to increase their speed to compensate for the benefits of antilock brakes.

We continue to ignore the greatest safety device out there, the brain.

My sources:

From Wikipedia

There are at least three studies which show that drivers' response to antilock brakes is to drive faster, follow closer and brake later, accounting for the failure of ABS to result in any measurable improvement in road safety. The following references describe studies in Canada, Denmark and Germany.

Grant and Smiley, "Driver response to antilock brakes: a demonstration on behavioural adaptation" from Proceedings, Canadian Multidisciplinary Road Safety Conference VIII, June 14-16, Saskatchewan 1993

Sagberg, Fosser, and Saetermo, "An investigation of behavioural adaptation to airbags and antilock brakes among taxi drivers" Accident Analysis and Prevention #29 pp 293-302 1997

Aschenbrenner and Biehl, "Improved safety through improved technical measures? empirical studies regarding risk compensation processes in relation to anti-lock braking systems." In Trimpop and Wilde, Challenges to Accident Prevention: The issue of risk compensation behaviour (Groningen, NL, Styx Publications, 1994)

From iihs.org

Do car antilocks reduce crashes? Although car antilocks perform well on the test track, there is no evidence they have made significant reductions in the number of on-the-road crashes. A 1994 Highway Loss Data Institute (HLDI) study1 and a subsequent 1995 study2 compared insurance claims for groups of otherwise identical cars with and without antilocks, finding no differences in the overall frequency or cost of crashes for which insurance claims for vehicle damage are filed. Because antilocks should make the most difference on wet and slippery roads, researchers also studied insurance claims experience in 29 northern states during winter months. Even here they found no difference in the frequency of insurance claims for vehicles with and without antilock brakes. A 1997 Institute study3 and a 2001 update4 reported no difference in the overall fatal crash involvement of cars with and without antilocks.

Federal studies of car antilocks are consistent with Institute and HLDI findings. According to one federal report, "the overall, net effect of antilock brakes" on both police-reported crashes and fatal crashes "was close to zero."5 The federal studies of the effects of antilocks on passenger vehicle crashes found positive effects on wet roads and negative effects for run-off-road crashes. These results cancel each other. Leonard Evans, a researcher with General Motors, reported that antilock-equipped cars were less likely to rear-end other vehicles but more likely to have other vehicles rear-end them.6 Again, the net result was little effect on overall crash risk. In a study conducted for auto manufacturers, Failure Analysis Associates reported a net beneficial effect of antilocks on nonfatal crashes but no effect on fatal crashes.7

[/img]
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,668 Posts
My understanding is on wet roads will they make a huge imporvement in stopping distance. On dry it works about the same.

Can't make an idiot proof motorcycle. They will always make a better idiot.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
78 Posts
I feel that it does make for a safer ride, in that it does exactly what it is designed to do: Allow maximum stopping without sliding the tires. I have had 2 instances of mine working for me in a panic stop. One was a deer ran out in front of me, while I was going WAY too fast. Stood on the brakes (front and rear) and the bike decelarated from triple digits to 10 mph and missed the deer by less than 10 feet. Smelled the brakes for the next 4 miles, but the bike broke in a straight line and never slid the tires.
The last instance was last week, coming home after work at 11:30PM when a drunk walked out in front of the bike. Man was wearing black clothing - I'm doing 55MPH, 2 lane road, and he decides to walk across the road. Saw him about 20 yards in front of me. Hit the foot brake, chutch, leaned away from him, blew the horn (hit the horn when I reached for the clutch) and my right mirror missed him by less than a foot. Bike was slowed without the rear swapping ends with the front.
This is the first bike I've ever had with ABS and I will ALWAYS pick this option if available on any future bike. SHOULD BE STANDARD EQUIPMENT - In my opinion.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,266 Posts
I've been driving my current car, a Sebring Convertible, for 7 years. I learned just two months ago that it has ABS brakes. Obviously the ABS was not a selling feature to me. It never occurred to me that I can now speed up and tail gate more often since it has ABS brakes.

When I bought my GL I had the choice of ABS or non-ABS. I looked at the reports online and learned that I could stop better on slick surfaces (rain, gravel, sand, oil) and that was enough for me. I'm not convinced it will make any difference on dry smooth pavement other than a few inches, but they seem like a definite safety feature to me.

When I bought my GL it cost me just $1K more for the ABS over the non-ABS model. There was no Comfort Features, Sound Features, Nav Features, and Air Bags. You either got ABS or you didn't, that was the only difference. Would I spend $3,500 today to go from a base model to one with ABS? HELL NO! That's ludicrous. When I'm ready to replace my current steed, if Honda still has that pricing strategy in place I'll be moving to BMW.

I used to work on ABS on military aircraft. I know how it works, why it works, and where the benefit lays. No internet article or independent study on cars is ever going to convince me that ABS is not an added safety feature on motorcycles (or cars, or planes).

And we don't ignore the most important safety device out there, the brain. Boards like this, motorcycle safety courses, and even magazines exist to help up upgrade that safety feature. Unfortunately, unlike Goldwing ABS, the brain seems too often to quit functioning properly precisely when it is needed the most.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,789 Posts
Both my rides have ABS and in deer country, have been activated more than once. Thing I like is that you can focus more on steering without worrying about brake modulation, wet or dry roads.

+1 for ABS.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,053 Posts
The ABS is a plus for some of the reasons already stated. Here in the SE we ride in rain a lot, and if you have to stop quick and hard on a wet road, the ABS is a huge plus.

On wet roads you only have about 70% of the traction of a dry road. If you have to stop in an interestion with sand, the ABS will stop the bike straight.

An expert can most likely stop the bike quicker on a dry road without ABS, but once traction is compromised, the ABS does what it is supposed to do. It allows you to haul on the brakes without either the back end or front slipping out.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
403 Posts
As former driving instructors who taught advanced pursuit and antiterrorism driving for many US Government security agencies, Becky and I can tell you that yes, an expert can stop faster with regular brakes than with anti-lock brakes on DRY, clean roads. Its a technique called threshold braking. However, you have to be familiar with the technique, PRACTICE it and the road conditions have to be right. For the vast majority of situations and drivers/riders, ABS is incredibly valuable. Not only does it allow you to stop quicker in wet conditions, the lock-release action of the ABS braking in four wheelers allows you to steer the vehicle while maintaining full pressure on the brakes. (Of course, this is mitigated if the driver gets visually fixated on an obstacle in the first place...) The threshold braking technique is not a viable tool for a bike on the public streets. There are too many variables once you exceed the threshold and lock the brakes. In a car, if you lock the brakes during threshold braking, you can always back out of it and regain wheel roll, then reapply pressure to the braking threshold. On a bike, once the wheels lock, you can't predict the variables and the outcome of a lot of those are really bad.

Even as an expert driving instructor, the ABS on Becky's Wing saved her on one occasion for sure. Just today we ordered two new bikes and made sure they were both the ABS version. In our opinions, the only legitimate reason not to have/use ABS on any bike that has it available would be if you were going to use it as a track bike, where you would want to be able to drive the bike and its brakes to the point of threshold lock on purpose, or in some machines such as the BMW GS series, where the ABS can be disabled to allow deliberate lock-up when desired in off-road riding (a whole different set of riding requirements).
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
922 Posts
It seem smost people miss what ABS is designed to do...Stop the wheels from locking. This is extremly important to motorcycles, either front or rear wheel skid can be very dangerous to a motorcycle. ABS eliminates this possibility. Therefore wheels not skidding tend to stop quicker than wheels that are skidding.

This being said I wish I had ABS on my bike. I have to be very concious of how much brake to apply before my wheels lock. In the scenerio of a deer jumping in front of me, I may act on instinct and grab all the brake I can which no doubt would put me on the ground. Would I drive more reckless with ABS? No way, it would make me feel better though.

In closing, parking lot braking practice with or without ABS is very important, better to find out what you and your bike will do in an emergency situation under a semi controlled enviroment. I have locked both front and rear in the ERC course and kept it upright, pretty scary though.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,694 Posts
Count me in on voting for ABS. I have had a couple of incidents with my ABS equipped 05 where I believe that it helped keep the bike upright in rapid stops. Two antelope and I are probably minus injuries due to its effects. Also, ended up on an exit ramp that had a huge gravel spill, and did okay. As for the information about people with ABS compensating by speeding up, breaking harder and pushing in to more dangerous situations, I was told that several police agencys found exactly that after going to ABS Hondas and BMWs. Myself, I don't believe that I do ride much differently due to the ABS. It is comforting to know I have it, having laid a bike or two down over the years. I know flamers - not a good choice, but poor technique.

Im for ABS, I think the GLs works well and I'm am not a peg dragging, wheel sliding, full time rider like some of the others on this board. I can see a place that if I rode full time like some of our southern and far western member I may start pushing harder and braking later due to the sense of security with ABS. Just my .02 - I like it. Ride safe. :)
 

·
Are we there yet?
Joined
·
2,344 Posts
Sure ABS is a great safety feature when it is used for it's intended purpose. Just like seat belts, roll cages or any other safety device. However they all have one inherent flaw that cannot be designed out. They all tend to reduce operator skill. The more use any safety device gets the more the operator tends to rely on it, eventually that reliance begins to replace skill.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
19,994 Posts
Anti-Lock brakes: Do they improve safety?
If you never need to use them, No!

I have said it before. Anyone can have an instance once in a great while where they may have to rely on ABS. But if you find yourself needing it on a regular basis, you may want to re-evaluate your riding style.


......it does exactly what it is designed to do: Allow maximum stopping without sliding the tires.
I don't know about you, but I prefer "minimum" stopping distance. :lol:

I have had 2 instances of mine working for me in a panic stop. One was a deer ran out in front of me, while I was going WAY too fast. Stood on the brakes (front and rear) and the bike decelarated from triple digits to 10 mph and missed the deer by less than 10 feet
.

Triple digits? This is a perfect example of what the studies are saying. If you had been doing the speed limit instead of triple digits, you would have barely had to slow down, let alone lock up your brakes. ABS was only needed in this case because of insane riding!

You guys are all missing what the original post asked. He didn't ask if ABS had a shorter stopping distance. He asked if it improves safety. The reports all say that it doesn't because drivers are compensating by driviing more aggressive. Ride more conservatively and you lessen the need for the feature. If we all drove and rode the same with or without ABS, it probably would increase safety.

Great post JimKo. Thanks.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,070 Posts
On Sept 10, 2001 I was returning home from Canada after riding the SCMA Border-to-border, towing a Bushtech trailer. This was one instance on my 89 GL-1500 without anti-lock brakes that I had the front wheel singing to me as I executed maximum braking to avoid two deer in the middle of the road in front of me. I started braking at about 55mph and hit the deer at about 15mph. I was instructing MSF courses at that time so I practiced emergency braking all the time so my skills were at my personal peak. It was also a clear bright sunny day on dry pavement in nearly a straight line so I could maximize my braking potential. I avoided the doe but hit its fawn and unfortunately killed it. I did not go down or damage the bike except for some deer hair and a little blood around the front lower fairing (I hit it with the left engine guard). I seriously doubt that ABS would have been able to stop me any sooner than I did in that particular instance and might have even added some distance.

My point is that I now have ABS and still I would not want to try to duplicate that level of braking since I now do not practice it as often as I should. I also feel ABS gives me a much better chance of stopping in a much shorter distance in poor conditions; rain, sand, snow, leaves etc, than I ever could without ABS and being highly skilled at braking. You can tell me about people using the ABS as an excuse to be stupid until the cows come home and I will still buy ABS whenever it is available. You never know when stopping ten feet shorter with ABS than without means you are out of the way of that semi-tractor trailer rig barrelling through that intersection...or not. You can say I am trading a level of attention, skill, or practice because I know I have ABS, but I don't really care. I doubt that any engineer will be able to design an idiot proof vehicle in the near future. In the mean time, we will have to keep using our brain and take advantage of whatever improvements are available to us to avoid possible pain and death.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
19,321 Posts
BS- ABS SAVES LIFES
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,266 Posts
Sometimes I'm amazed that the effectiveness of ABS is ever in doubt as a safety enhancement. But then I remember, there are still folks that will argue that the planet is flat and all evidence to the contrary is a hoax. I think BMW summed it up the best when they said that the biggest problem ABS will encounter is the rider that refuses to be convinced that anything can perform better than he can.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,675 Posts
Galute,

"Just like seat belts, roll cages or any other safety device. However they all have one inherent flaw that cannot be designed out. They all tend to reduce operator skill"

very few cars have roll cages, so from your statement you must be including race cars and their drivers. So you are saying if we removed seatbelts, roll cages, air bags, disc brakes etc. we would have better drivers on the streets???????????
 

·
Are we there yet?
Joined
·
2,344 Posts
thekid said:
Galute,

"Just like seat belts, roll cages or any other safety device. However they all have one inherent flaw that cannot be designed out. They all tend to reduce operator skill"

very few cars have roll cages, so from your statement you must be including race cars and their drivers. So you are saying if we removed seatbelts, roll cages, air bags, disc brakes etc. we would have better drivers on the streets???????????
Yes, drivers would actually have to learn to operate their vehicle rather than depend on some safety feature to cover their lack of skill. Their skill level would increase or they would not survive. I did not say that removing all the safety features is a good idea. I do think that a higher skill level requirement for a lincense would be the best safety feature.

BTW. I did not mention race cars or their drivers. They are professionals, comparing their skill to the publics is rediculous.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
19,994 Posts
So you are saying if we removed seatbelts, roll cages, air bags, disc brakes etc. we would have better drivers on the streets???????????
In a way you could say that this is exactly what the studies are saying, that we were better drivers before all these safety features. Heck, just look at the way SUV drivers drive, like they are invincible. Would they drive like that if they were in a Miata?

The fact is that accidents are happening at the same rate as they did before ABS.
 
1 - 20 of 20 Posts
Top