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Directions in Highway Safety, Winter 2009 Cover Page Download Newsletter pdf
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Winter 2009 | Vol. 12 | No. 1

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Antilock Brakes on Motorcycles Found to Save Lives

Two new studies show that motorcycles equipped with antilock brakes can reduce both crashes and fatalities. As the number of motorcyclists on American roads increases (nearly 5,000 last year alone), and with it the number of crashes and deaths, equipping bikes with antilock brakes is also becoming more important.

The first study, conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), compared the rates of fatal crashes for motorcycles with and without antilock brakes. The results showed there were 6.6 fatal crashes per 10,000 registered motorcycles without antilocks during 2005-06. The same bike models, when equipped with antilocks, had a 38 percent lower rate of fatal crashes (4.1 per 10,000 registered bikes). IIHS statisticians note that the findings are statistically significant at the 90 percent confidence level.

The Highway Loss Data Institute (HLDA), an IIHS sister organization that examines insurance loss data, also conducted a study comparing insurance losses under collision coverage for 12 motorcycle models with optional antilock brakes, versus the same models without that option. Motorcyclists with antilocks were found to have 21 percent lower insurance losses than those without. Their claim frequency was also 19 percent lower than for bikes without antilocks.

Antilock breaks have been found to be more beneficial on motorcycles than on cars, because two wheeled vehicles are much less stable. Antilock breaks reduce wheel lockup during braking and can keep a motorcycle from overturning.

For more information, visit Select Status Reports, Volume 43, Number 9.