ABS for greater motocycle safety

08 Nov 2020 Vehicle Technology

Ever since 2017, no new registrations for any motorcycle that does not have an anti-lock braking system (ABS) have been permitted. Based on the analysis of German and Indian accident databases (German In-Depth Accident Study [GIDAS], conducted from 2001 to 2004, and Road Accident Sampling System [RASSI], conducted from 2009 to 2013), Bosch Accident Research has predicted that this system could prevent around one quarter of all relevant motorcycle accidents that result in deaths or injuries.

This is because such systems stop the wheels of the vehicle from locking. Especially in cases involving emergency braking or heavy de-celeration on slippery surfaces, this helps to ensure that two-wheeled vehicles in particular come to a safe stop and remain easier to control within the limits set by the driving dynamics. They also prevent the front wheel from locking, which is dangerous and generally leads to a fall. As a result, they enable motorcyclists to brake at full power
Incidentally, pedelecs with ABS have also been available since 2018. One example of this is the Bosch eBike ABS, which received the DEKRA Award 2019 for “Safety on the Road”. This model combines the front-wheel ABS with rear wheel lift control for increased safety. During difficult braking maneuvers, this system regulates the braking pressure, thus optimizing the riding stability and steering of the e-bike. This reduces the chance of the front wheel locking and slipping, or the rear wheel lifting off the ground, which in turn means there is less risk of rollover and the rider falling off.
There is now technical further development of ABS technology for motorcycles toward electronic stability control, which is already commonly used in larger vehicles under the name ESP, or electronic stability program. This type of motorcycle stability control, which was first launched by Bosch under the name MSC, also comes with an additional safety benefit. The system, which uses ABS data and is also assisted by an angle sensor, intervenes during the exact maneuver that is most dangerous for a two-wheeled vehicle: cornering. Even today, almost one in two motorcycle accidents occurs during cornering.
Bosch claims that MSC offers the best protection possible when accelerating and braking, even when cornering at high speeds. The braking system’s interventions are precisely calibrated to the angle of the motorcycle, and the braking pressure builds up smoothly while still increasing rapidly when the bike is cornering. The system also detects when the front or rear wheel lifts of the ground during heavy acceleration or braking. If this occurs, the MSC performs extremely fast and targeted intervention into the braking controls or the engine management in order to counteract the wheel lift by flexibly channeling the forces to the front or rear wheel as required. Based on evaluation of the figures in the German accident database GIDAS (German In-Depth Accident Study, a joint project by the German Federal Highway Research Institute [BASt] and the Research Association for Automotive Technology [FAT]), the stability system could help to prevent two thirds of all cornering accidents that are caused by the motorcyclist themselves.