Antilock brakes said to prevent motorcycle deaths
The Insurance Institute for Highway safety reports that antilock brakes have proven effective in reducing crashes by motorcycle riders, raising hopes for curbing an alarming increase in the rate of fatalities on two wheels in recent years.
According to the IIHS, a new study shows that antilock-equipped motorcycles are 37 percent less likely to be involved in fatal crashes than non-equipped bikes. The safety group also cited a report by the Highway Loss Data Institute showing that motorcycles with antilocks have 22 percent fewer damage claims per insured vehicle-year than bikes with conventional brakes.
The reports come at a time when motorcycle deaths are increasing, largely because of more registrations, and other vehicle deaths have been fallling.
Antilock brakes are an option on most motorcycle models, but the safety institute says they are growing in popularity, with more than half of riders surveyed saying they would get them on their next bikes.
In another report that might not be as well received by motorcycle riders, the highway loss institute found that motorcyclists in states that require helmets for all riders -- such as Maryland -- are less likely to file insurance claims than those in states with no laws or weaker laws. Its conclusion: helmets are effective in reducing head injuries -- which it called the leading cause of motorcycle deaths.
The same group surveyed rider and found that 73 percent say they always ride a helmet, 9 percent says they often wear one while 5 said they never do. The survey found that 57 percent who say they don't always wear helmets said they would if state law required it.
According to the survey, about half of motorcyclists oppose universal helmet laws but 76 percent agree that helmets make riding safer.
Another sobering finding: 43 percent of riders said they had been in at least one crash. But in spite of a tendency among some riders to emphasize the role of other vehicles in those crashes, two-thirds of those reported involved the motorcycle alone.