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Playing on fear to promote ABS - check out the latest brochure from IIHS in America.

Discussion in 'General Motorcycling Discussion' started by robsalvv, Nov 14, 2011.

  1. yeh yeh yeh, another Rob thread banging on about ABS... but this brochure and the press surrounding it blatantly push the line that fear of lock up braking is one of the key reasons why you should have ABS.

    It blatantly says ABS makes you safer.

    It also does a political swifty, linking ABS, safety and X numbers of fatalities, to suggest far fewer would have occured if they'd had ABS.

    Finally, it continues to propagate the fallacious claim that if all bikes had ABS, there's be 37percent fewer fatalities. This is outright and utter bullshit. The paper it's based on wouldn't be acceptable in a first year uni stats course and would get serverely criticised if it were allowed to be peer reviewed. They even promote their own insurance institute confounded stats in the brochure.

    Riders are going to buy into this hook line and sinker.

    You can read the cynical press release here: http://www.iihs.org/news/rss/pr111011.html

    And the woeful brochure: http://www.iihs.org/brochures/pdf/motorcycle_abs.pdf

    FFS, get ABS if it's going to suit your riding. Do not get it if it's going to make you a lazy braker. You still need to brake well to get the most out of the brakes... ABS doesn't change that or the training you need.
  2. when you look at the size of the brake pedal on a harley and the fact that the guy i live next to has replaced the rear pads many times and the fronts are still new, I can whole heartedly see the truth is the advertising statements for a lot of riders in that market.

    "I had to lay 'er down" came from this country after all.
  3. For most cruisers the rear brake gets a lot more use than the front brake so that isn't actually out of the ordinary.
  4. The interesting thing about this topic is that some quarters have argued that no one is appealing to fears about braking related falls to promote ABS... clearly that's a severely closed minded view to hold - particularly in light of the OP and similar referenced stories/links.

    Good to see you back Bonox.

    How well would a cruiser with ABS stop given the favouring of the rear brake? The rear brake is more effective than the equivalent on a sports bike but it'd still lock up fairly readily so I'd expect there to be a very long braking distance with just rear brake alone. Instead of a skid, a cruiser rider is likely to collide into an obstacle upright and on the bike... that's probably why those pro ABS folk trying to re-interpret HURT didn't find much joy trying to use it as a basis to justify ABS... braking errors where ABS might have helped weren't a significant root cause of fatals.
  5. even on a chopper, the front brake will still do most of the work if you make it. I think the comments in the OP are probably fairly close to the mark when they say many people have a fear of the front brake, and anecdotal evidence points towards people locking the rear and dropping the bike as well even if they don't use the front.

    One of the biggest outcomes of the HURT report was that a significant portion of riders don't use the brakes appropriately, most especially in panic situations - if fear of what happens when you lock them plays a big part of the accident history of motorcyclists, then ABS has a big role to play in overcoming that. Doesn't help at all though if people don't overcome the fear by practicing, thus leading to the top comment in your sig.

    It's all very well to say that brake related incidents were a small part of fatal accidents, but if you ignore the fact that they did everything right up to the point where they needed to brake for their lives, they didn't put it into action well enough. The same arguments apply to cars, but the comparison is probably better with stability control for cars to ABS on bikes, rather than ABS to each, since it's the stability under locked brakes most people have problems with. And the weekend warriors and returning riders play a big part in the accident spectrum, not just the small clique of guys who practice. advrider.com is loaded with brake discussions that mostly come down to a narrow focus group of people with particular experience, none of whom represent the larger group of road riders that seem to make up much of the trauma statistics.
  6. http://www.nhtsa.gov/people/injury/pedbimot/motorcycle/00-nht-212-motorcycle/motorcycle45-46.html

    there are studies that have been done by magazines about the place - doesn't seem like the science of a controlled study would be beyond a group the size of the US national highway and transportation safety authority!

    There's some studies linked in here you might be able to return to the iihs mob if you wish to form an argument Rob
  7. Thanks for those links Bonox.

    I've run into that bikesafer site a few times in my ABS travels. They like ABS but fortunately they haven't bought into the confounded studies. Some other good info there too.
  8. Did they do everything right - right up to where they needed braking to save their lives? I don't get that sense from the report. The wiki entry on the findings doesn't suggest that either. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_findings_in_the_Hurt_Report

    The finding that features braking says this: Motorcycle riders in these accidents showed significant collision avoidance problems. Most riders would overbrake and skid the rear wheel, and underbrake the front wheel greatly reducing collision avoidance deceleration. The ability to countersteer and swerve was essentially absent.

    I think the braking errors were the last in a chain of events - so not the root cause in a significant number of fatalities.
  9. perhaps - it's probably a complex issue since those afraid to use the brakes are probably also afraid to make significant control inputs. This leads you to the over/underbrake, instability, target fixation, no practice at avoidance, crash.

    Much of which could possibly be traced back to fear of locking a wheel, what happens when you hit the grass, gravel to the side etc.

    And much of which might be alleviated with ABS, starting with not worrying so much when you practice about dumping the bike and working out how hard you really can stop your bike.

    Just my thoughts - I think a lot of the pro-ABS crowd have the right ideas and many times probably the physchological and road-based research results to back it up, but they aren't presented well ot it comes with an agenda that gets a vocal group offside from the start.

    You can always say that when you have an incident, it all started before you started braking - but if it were all true, in the purest sense, no-one would ever need to practice emergency braking for there would be no need.
  10. Bonox mate, root cause is root cause. If a braking error wasn't the root cause of the collision then having ABS isn't going to change the outcome - well Ok, it might in a few cases such as this next case:

    I just had an exchange with an American rider of 30yrs who is riding a Harley roadglide with ABS. He reckons the ABS saved his life. He almost rear ended a car but was able to brake hard and change lanes and stopped a car length down the next lane. Well, it turns out that he stomped on the rear brake, the ABS activated, he felt that the ABS stopped him going down from a slide and also allowed him to change lanes and stop a car length further than the car. He won't comment on how close he was, why he didn't use both brakes, about his road position, about what he might do differently? The root cause of the incident wasn't related to ABS. The fact that he's still here is not attributable to ABS - If there was a car in the next lane there'd still have been a collision while the ABS was fully activated... this guy is still here due to a combination of reasons - mainly luck, but the root cause of the incident was something else. If he'd braked with both brakes, would he have needed the extra car length?? It's that kind of example that shows how better bike skills would have avoided the need for the ABS.

    ABS will stop the bike from capsizing but I suspect there will be more upright crashes if nongs without skills start relying on it.

    The last assumption in your post is a telling one - being that even when ideal roadcraft doesn't account for the surprise event, you'd be better off with a bike with ABS. That's fear at play. If the ABS activated in that panic brake would that help you get out of the situation? Can you steer and brake at the same time? What if the circumstances conspired such that there were no outs? It's all hypothetical - so not really trying to argue with you, just expanding the assumptions.

    Plenty of multilayered stuff in your post, ideal fodder for a decent convo over a beer. Thanks for the post.
  11. This I feel is a real issue, when technology gets better on the machines we ride or drive, then there'll be those who rely on it entirely.

    You often see it with car drivers, they come screaming out of a side street ready to pounce into a hole in the traffic and when they realise the hole isn't there,they're on the brakes big time expecting the braking and tyres to get them out of trouble.
    I'm no expert as I've only been riding for a short while but usually when applying brakes into a corner, it makes the bike want to sit up as you've disturbed the gyrometric balance so, I'm wondering if ABS on a bike will allow you to veer away in an emergency in full braking mode like it does with a car as there are different forces in action.
    I'm guessing if the bike's speed is low eough you just turn the bars in the direction you want to go around the obstacle but at higher speed, would counter-steering get you out of trouble in co-operation with ABS?

    Any braking is only as good as the tyres grip on the road surface and that goes for any vehicle. Weight Vs Traction?


  12. G'day everyone,...

    Did'nt accidents go up when ABS was introduced in cars,...?
    People started relying on this new gadget to get them out of trouble and ended up doing more reckless acts thinking it would be counter acted by the new toy!

    Same thing is going to happen here,...
    Training and skill will be whats important, not some gadget!

    Dr Who?
  13. I don't get this can't lean and brake stuff, I can brake pretty damn hard with both brakes (or either) while leaned over :/ I don't remember the last time I locked a wheel.

    The only bike I've had a problem with was my blackbird because it had this stupid linked brake system that would cause the bike to stand up under hard braking. Jeeze it worked well for stopping hard in a straight line though which backs up robs argument about people needing to combine brakes properly.
  14. Some bikes seem to respond more benignly to braking whilst leaning than others. For instance my telelever equipped R1100 could be hauled down hard at pretty much any lean angle without upsetting it. Old air-cooled monster UJMs, however, will put you in the opposite hedge if you try anything so stupid.
  15. If you're already emergency braking and need to swerve, what do you think is going to happen udlose? (By the way I agree with you and PatB, that once in a curve, there generally is traction reserve for some hard braking... especially at highway speed... wouldn't say that about track speeds... )
  16. No ABS has saved me twice, both times while I was leaning over in a corner.

    1) 4x4 pulled out of a side street after looking right at me. The side street was in the middle-ish of a right hand corner, down a hill on a very smooth road. This was the closest I've been to actually hitting something.

    In slow motion
    * I hit the brakes hard
    * Bike stands upright ( I have used the brakes while leaning over before, but only lightly and while using the engine compression ).
    * Big 4x4 sees me, wife in the passanger seat screams
    * 4x4 then stops ... covering the right hand wheel track and centre of the road ... blocking my path.
    * Hit the rear brake harder and the rear starts to slide out and to the right.
    * The bike is then facing the left gutter
    * I think to myself "Hang about ... I want to go in this general direction, away from the rear of the 4x4"
    * I then released both brakes and the bike shoots off to the left just missing the rear of the 4x4
    * Still manged to complete the right hand corner, and continued my way home.

    2) Second situation was similar to the above, where I was able to control skid the rear to get me out of the poo ( see what i did there ) while trying to go around a corner.

    The funny thing about riding a crusier for a while is I got used to locking the rear up, and learned how to control it i.e. lock up, release slightly and so forth.

    Need a skidpan for motorbikes !

    I think the only way ABS would save me, is if I was headed towards something and there was no other option than to hit the brakes. I think there is a lot to be said for always looking for a way out, regarless of where you are.
  17. Rob, I am genuinely interested in your obsession with all things ABS. I get your main thrust, that you don't want more regulation and nannying from our overbearing state. I also think I get the bit about having to pay for something that you feel should be optional at best.

    Where you lose me is your arguments as to its effectiveness. I've never ridden a bike with a modern, state of the art ABS system. But I drive a car with ABS, ASC and AWD and I think I'd take their benefits over my skill any day. I can practice emergency braking all I like, but my experience, both car and bike is that in a true, bona fide emergency, you react in ways you never thought. I'd only need ABS to save me from a situation once to sing its praises all day and all night.

    I think your main points are valid and believe you'd be better off following that line of attack. Just my opinion.
  18. Given how great ABS is, imagine how safe it would be if it came in flouro colours and with loud pipes.
  19. Sorry mate, are you saying it did save you or it wouldn't have saved you?

    I don't think I been taking that line here. It's pretty clear that falsehoods are being used to scare riders into technology that they might not need.

    Well that's the ultimate "what if" argument isn't it. Two indepth studies found many different reasons that riders cream in, and ABS barely scratched the causal tree of those studies. If you already practice proactive roadcraft and ride to the conditions, even if you had ABS, you may never activate it in anger. But it's an insurance so if you can afford it, buy it. Just don't buy into the hyperbole. And be aware the kind of ABS you're getting. Does your riding work with or against it?

    Cheeky bugger. Well played.
  20. You've been playing that line though for some time, something that you alluded to in your OP.

    I'd say that the only time that ABS would come in handy would be an emergency brake in the wet. I have had a near low speed prang where someone pulled into my lane on a dry road and I grabbed the brake harder than I thought possible. I was lucky that I didn't drop the bike. As an example, I run cable ties around my fork legs. Old habit. On the road and even at the track, the bike is set up well enough that I never get less than 10mm of free left. On this one day, in the dry, at low speed I compressed the forks to the bump stop. I'd consider myself an experienced rider, who rides to the conditions and within their capacity. Yet I grabbed the brakes harder than I intended and beyond anything I'd done either during fast road riding or fast track riding. For all of that, ABS would have made no difference to my outcome as the available grip was there.

    What I'm trying to say, in a very obtuse way is that whilst practice and skill reduce the chances of ever needing ABS, we behave in ways that we don't expect and have even tried to train ourselves out of. I see ABS as another tool, in the same way that good brakes, good tyres, good suspension are mechanical tools that help make riding more fun and safer. I do recognise that none of these mechanical tools are legislated (beyond their ADR) and I'd argue passionately that they should never be (likewise with gear). From that standpoint I am agreement with you.