Background Motorcycle fatalities have steadily increased from 1997 to 2002. Motorcycle brake systems, and the riders' misuse/underuse of the systems, are potential factors in many crashes. Two promising technologies are available in production motorcycles: antilock brake systems (ABS); and combined braking systems (CBS) that apply the brakes on both wheels when only one lever/pedal is applied. Currently, NHTSA is conducting a joint research project with Transport Canada to quantify the performance of a various motorcycle brake systems, including ABS and CBS, based on a series of stopping tests, on dry and adverse surfaces, with straight-line braking and braking in a curve.
Objectives: Estimate the crash-reducing effectiveness of ABS and CBS. Determine the relationship between motorcycle stopping distances/brake types and crash rates. Determine the proportion of new motorcycles in recent model years that are equipped with ABS or CBS, and classify the fleet by stopping-distance performance.
Approach: Building on the current NHTSA/Transport Canada study, develop a more comprehensive database by motorcycle make-model to determine the influence of stopping distance/brake type on motorcycle crashes. Work with the motorcycle manufacturers to (1) obtain statistics on motorcycle sales by brake type (ABS, CBS, percentage of motorcycles with front and rear hydraulic brakes, a combination of hydraulic and cable brakes, and all cable brakes, etc.); (2) identify the brake types of crash-involved motorcycles from their VINs. Based on FARS, State crash data and registration data, compare the crash rates/distributions of motorcycles with ABS, CBS and conventional brakes, and of make-models with different performance levels in stopping-distance tests. The evaluation is likely to take 3 years, since it combines extensive data collection and statistical analyses.