Anti-lock braking systems (ABS) are now standard on cars and are becoming an increasingly available option for motorcycles. In fact, more and more police departments are trading in their old bikes in favor of those equipped with ABS. Unfortunately, the general public may not be as aware of the significant benefits of ABS when it comes to emergency braking on motorcycles.
Emergency braking, one of the most important survival skills for bikers, is in and of itself dangerous. The problem with emergency braking without ABS is that just a little additional pressure over the maximum on either side of the brake controls will cause the corresponding wheel to lock, causing both the bike and the driver to go down, which can result in injury or death. On the other hand, when a motorcycle has ABS, emergency stopping becomes simple. ABS senses wheel rotation multiple times per second, and if the wheel reduces excessively under braking, indicating that locking is imminent, it pulses the brake pressure to prevent the wheels from locking up. This allows the driver to keep the bike upright and straight in an emergency braking situation.
Interestingly, some models of motorcycles are being sold in America without ABS as an option, while they are sold in other countries with ABS. Our firm was recently very successful in handling one such case. In that case a driver applied his brakes after an oncoming vehicle swerved into his lane. The motorcycle wheels locked and both the driver and his passenger were thrown off of the motorcycle, into oncoming traffic, and were killed. The motorcycle involved is not sold in America with ABS. Had the motorcycle been equipped with ABS, the wheels would not have locked and the motorcycle would have remained upright without throwing the driver and passenger into harm’s way. There is no doubt that these two lives and many more could be saved if manufacturers began equipping motorcycles with ABS and helped to educate the public on the benefits of ABS. If you would like more information or have questions concerning this topic, contact Rick Morrison, a lawyer in our Personal Injury/Products Liability Section, by e-mail at Rick.Morrison@beasleyallen.com or by phone at 1-800-898-2034.
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