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Anti-Lock Brakes on Motorcycles - Jones Law Group

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Anti-Lock Brakes on Motorcycles

Everyone reads about the technological safety advances for automobiles. Car accidents become less likely every day. Four states, one of which is Florida, have passed laws allowing driverless cars on the roads. Cars are increasingly coming equipped with forward collision warning, blind spot detection, lane departure warning, lane departure prevention, autobraking, adaptive headlights, and adaptive cruise control. All the safety features in the world, but motorcycles do not even have to come equipped with anti-lock brakes. Why? One biking couple has posed the question to Harley-Davidson in the form of a lawsuit.

Jones v. Harley-Davidson

According to the complaint, Mark Jones was driving and his wife was the passenger on their 2012 Harley-Davidson Electra Glide Classic. The negligent driver of a car cut into the Jones’ lane forcing Mark to make an emergency stop. The wheels of the bike locked up causing a fishtail that flung Jones and his wife for a significant distance. Both Mark and his wife, Pamela, suffered skull fractures, brain injuries, and other broken bones.

The couple sued Harley-Davidson for failing to offer ABS brakes on the model which they had purchased. Harley offered anti-lock brakes on some of its other models, as ABS brakes on motorcycles is a technology that is roughly 40 years old. Other manufacturers of motorcycles such as BMW have the ABS brakes standard on all new motorcycles.

Should Anti-Lock Brakes be Required on All Motorcycles?

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety and Highway Data Institute strongly advocates for the use of the technology in all new motorcycles. The IIHS, has put out the following video on the benefits of ABS on motorcycles.

Obviously, in emergencies when a rider is completely locking up, anti-lock braking systems may save lives. Studies indicate that riders with ABS are 20% less likely to be involved in any crash and 31% less likely to be involved in a fatal crash. All motorcycles manufactured in Europe are required to have anti-lock brakes, so that is a sign of things to come here, as well.

Why Riders Are Resistant to ABS

It makes for lazy, less qualified riders. Riders with ABS should still learn how to properly brake a motorcycle with the correct amount of braking control in the front and rear wheels. The argument by the riders resistant to ABS being installed on motorcycles is that new riders will learn on bikes with the ABS technology and will not learn how to properly brake their motorcycle.

How ABS on Motorcycles Works

The ABS on a motorcycle works by constantly monitoring the speed of the wheels. This is accomplished by the use of a small grooved ring near the brake disc called a tone wheel. The wheel speed sensor sends the tone wheel readings to the ABS unit, which can determine whether the wheel is about to stop rotating or lock up. If it is, the wheel speed information is used to adjust the pressure from the brake cylinder on the brake caliper multiple times per second. These pressure adjustments allow the motorcycle to stop without locking the wheels and maintaining maximum traction.

Should All Motorcycles Come With ABS

I am not advocating for all motorcycles to come with anti-locking braking technology standard, but like the Jones, I believe that it should be an option on all models. Prospective buyers who wish to have ABS on their new motorcycles can purchase the option and those riders that do not want it are not forced to have it installed on their new bike. This would allow riders who are skilled and comfortable with motorcycles without ABS could continue to purchase such bikes and those riders that wanted the option could purchase it.

Contact an Experienced Motorcycle Lawyer at Jones Law Group

Have you or a loved one been injured in a motorcycle accident? Contact an experienced St. Petersburg motorcycle accident attorney at Jones Law Group today. When you contact our office we will immediately set an appointment where you will meet your attorney and be provided with his/her personal contact information. If you do not have transportation or you cannot drive, your attorney will travel to meet you and discuss your case with you.

If you or a loved one has been injured in a motorcycle accident caused by the negligence of another, you should immediately call an experienced personal injury attorney in St. Petersburg at Jones Law Group at (727) 571-1333 during regular business hours or (727) 753-8657 on weekends or after regular business hours. We will evaluate your case for free and you will never pay us a dime unless we recover compensation for your injuries.

Jones Law Group
5622 Central Avenue
St. Pete, FL 33707



About the Author

Heath Murphy is a partner at Jones Law Group and focuses on personal injury law. He has been working as a lawyer for 18 years and routinely writes about auto accidents, wrongful death, and personal injury laws.

Read more: Heath’s Bio